The New York Police Department is canceling its use of a robot dog made by Boston Dynamics, following immense backlash to a video on social media showing it patrol the city.
"Shout out to everyone who fought against community advocates who demanded these resources go to investments like school counseling instead," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex wrote on Twitter, after the dog went viral. "Now robotic surveillance ground drones are being deployed for testing on low-income communities of color with under-resourced schools."
New York City Council Member Ben Kallos described the robot as an example of the "militarization" of the police force and said that the NYPD "should be having more beat cops on the street, building relationships with residents, they’re actually headed in another direction in trying to replace them with robots.”
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NYPD deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism John Miller spoke about the decision, saying people "somehow" found a way to "make this evil."
“People had figured out the catchphrases and the language to somehow make this evil,” Miller told the New York Times. “But for now, this is a casualty of politics, bad information and cheap sound bytes. We should have named it ‘Lassie.’”
Boston Dynamics said in a statement, “We support local communities reviewing the allocation of public funds, and believe Spot is a cost-effective tool comparable to historical robotic devices used by public safety to inspect hazardous environments.”