The top bod studying artificial intelligence and robotics believes that we could have robot security guards, autonomous police cars, and humanoid traffic wardens patrolling Britain’s streets within the next 75 years.
Professor Noel Sharkey of the University of Sheffield has been studying the evolution of robots and how they’ll be increasingly used in modern society.
Robots will have access to integrated databases of information on Brits’ bank accounts, tax, vehicles, shopping history, criminal records, and even what they’re doing. This would then allow them to identify who people are (accurately, hopefully).
Fortunately, autonomous police cars won’t chase after speeding motorists, but they will automatically identify and fine them, and add points to their licence. They’ll also be able to conduct drink and drug tests, though whether they’ll employ the same sarcastic wit as human police officers remains to be seen.
Robots could also be used for crowd control, able to spray a shower of RIFD darts to track people after it has dispersed.
In eighty years time, Professor Sharkey believes we’ll have “squidgy” humanoid and android police robots made from inorganic materials, with the required force to arrest dangerous people without human intervention.
We could also see camera-fitted polymer robots sprayed into dense populated areas, and even houses, in order to monitor movements.
Not surprisingly, the report suggests that these new robots could pose a threat to personal privacy. Then again, some of it does sound a bit “Tomorrow’s World”, and if I haven’t been arrested by a squidgy policeman in my lifetime, I won’t be surprised.