WA Police has welcomed its newest and one of its most expensive recruits this week and looks like I’m never entering the state again. Australia now has its first Boston Dynamics robot police dog — the one that inspired that horrifying Black Mirror episode and the robots in the War of the Worlds 2019 TV series. Nope.
WA Police introduced journos to the terrifying dog named fkn Spot on Tuesday as new technology for its Tactical Response Group which is responsible for investigating and disarming potential explosives.
“The most valuable asset the TRG has when dealing a bomb or any explosive devise are the people,” WA minister for police Paul Papalia said.
“Anything we can do to protect them and get them further away from danger is a good thing.”
Ok sure, but just to be clear this is not a robot that disarms bombs. This is just a dog that fetches. It has four legs and a a big grabby arm instead of a mouth. Surely there are other tools or technologies that could play fetch and don’t cost $350,000.
“Having four legs allows it to move over the terrains that are just off-limits to our tracked or wheeled robots,” Senior Constable Blair Moulton said.
“This allows us to almost get everywhere that they won’t get and we’ll use this robot primarily as a bit of a reconnaissance robot. So we’re gonna have a look at [a suspicious package], figure out if it’s worth worrying about and if it is we can use this to drag or move or bring the item to somewhere where we can examine it or hand it off to a bigger robot that’s more capable of dealing with it.”
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WA police commissioner Col Blanch said these situations were “rare in WA” but if one ever comes up it’ll be nice to know they have the “latest technology”.
So long white-sand beaches, you ain’t worth the dystopian dread.
It’s not the first police force to adopt one, but it has not gone well in the past.
New York Police Department picked up their robot doggo in 2021 but got rid of it after huge public outcry. Basically NYPD concluded that it probably wasn’t a good time to unveil such creepy technology amid, ya know, the growing ACAB and #defundthepolice movements.
The WA announcement came just days after seriously fucked up footage emerged of a robot dog in Russia strapped with a machine gun shooting test targets successfully.
All the people who laughed off the “worrywarts” years ago for freaking out about the Funny Dancing Robot Dogs ™ should be forced to watch this video once a day for the remainder of the year. pic.twitter.com/WBIrlGah3w
— Sean Chiplock (@sonicmega) July 20, 2022
We’ll see what the public response in Aus is but can’t the cops parting with Spot anytime soon.