Robocop lives

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Researchers in Thailand evidently need to do some remedial viewing of the movie “Robocop. ” Heedless of that cultural milestone’s warning about the danger of using robots to do the job of law enforcement, Bangkok technicians have developed an automated security guard — complete with a handgun, NEW SCIENTIST reports.

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The uninventively named “Roboguard” is designed to be a cheap alternative to human guards, who, unlike “Roboguard,” typically come equipped with brains and a conscience. It can be ordered to fire at will or at the command of a human via the Internet. (Which could give new meaning to the computer term “fatal error.”)

“I find this quite horrific,” said one researcher. “You could end up shooting anything.”

The current Roboguard model is a prototype and has not yet been used by any private businesses. While its inventors would like to market it for commercial use, they say the military is likely to show the most interest.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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