A bill has been introduced in Massachusetts that aims to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and operation of robotic devices or drones with mounted weapons. The legislation, titled “an act to ensure the responsible use of advanced robotic technologies,” is supported by leaders in the robotics industry and civil rights organizations, including the ACLU of Massachusetts.
The concern for the potential misuse of advanced mobile robotics, which are increasingly more accessible and affordable, has prompted Boston Dynamics and other companies to express their concern and pledge not to weaponize their creations. The public has been made aware of the ease with which these advanced technologies can be weaponized through videos shared on social media platforms, such as a robot dog with an attached machine gun.
The bill contains three primary provisions: banning the sale and use of robotic devices with weapons, banning the use of robotic devices to threaten or harass, and banning the usage of robotic devices to physically restrain an individual. Violators of these provisions could face fines ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, in addition to other penalties imposed through existing laws.
State Representative Lindsay Sabadosa, one of the bill’s sponsors, emphasizes the need to protect the public and maintain public confidence in the use of these technologies. The bill also codifies requirements for law enforcement’s use of robots, ensuring that warrants are required when a robot enters private property, except in exigent circumstances. It also mandates that information on the usage of advanced robotic technology by law enforcement agencies must be available to the public under Massachusetts public records law.
This legislation serves as an important step in regulating the use of advanced robotic technologies while ensuring public safety. The bill will now be reviewed and evaluated by legislative committees.
– Athol Daily News
– Boston Dynamics
– ACLU of Massachusetts