NYPD Criticised for Viral Video of Officers Using Robot Dog

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

14 Apr 2021

The NYPD’s robot dog has set off social media commentators after the machine K9 was spotted inside of a Manhattan public housing complex this week.

In a now viral video the four-legged bot can be seen trotting out of a building remotely controlled by NYPD officers, then descending a flight of stairs whilst on lookers stare in amazement.

The scarily advanced robot is made by the people at Boston Dynamics, an American robotics company not to unfamiliar with viral videos themselves. In the past they’ve had viral videos of machines dancing and running with human-like dexterity.

Sold at a starting price of $74,000, the mobile dog which comes equipped with automated sensors, lights, and cameras capable of collecting “limitless data” has been used by New York’s finest since October of last year in a handful of crime scenes and hostage situations.

A spokesperson for the NYPD said the robot dog was on standby, but not used, after police responded to a domestic disturbance with a man allegedly barricaded himself inside a room with a mother and her baby.

The video has questions about increasing police militarization, use of public funds and the possibility that it could pave the way for even more concerning technology, such as weaponized drones, in the future.

“Right now it seems to be a fancy toy in search of an actual use case. It’s really alarming to see them roll out these props from a bad Black Mirror episode without any real public safety justification” said Albert Fox Cahn, the founder of the advocacy group Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP).

Hopefully Priti Patel doesn’t follow suit, and bring this to the streets of London anytime soon.