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US state could soon be the first to ban robots being fitted with a weapon

Stewart Perrie

| Last updated 

US state could soon be the first to ban robots being fitted with a weapon

Featured Image Credit: Alexander Atamanov. Warner Bros.

Massachusetts could soon become the first in the United States to outlaw weaponizing robots.

Robotic technology is advancing fast and they can already do some pretty impressive things.

Set against the backdrop of cute music, there are plenty of videos showing robots dancing, climbing, flipping and carrying.


However, the moment you see one with a gun fashioned to its hand then that's when that smile turns upside down.

Massachusetts is taking steps to ensure that doesn't happen.

A bill has been filed by representative Lindsay Sabadosa and Senator Michael Moore to ban robots from being armed.



The piece of proposed legislation would specifically outlaw 'the manufacture, sale, and operation of robotic devices or drones that are mounted with a weapon'.

Not only that, but the bill would prevent companies and authorities from allowing their robots to 'threaten' or 'harass' people.

Police would also have to get a warrant before deploying a robot to someone's house, according to Gizmodo.

The fine for breaching that rule could be as high as $25,000.


Senator Moore said in a statement: “This bill puts reasonable guardrails around the use of robots to harass members of the public and bans the weaponization of this technology by those without strict oversight, while also introducing rules for law enforcement to bolster public trust.

"I am hopeful that, if passed, this legislation can serve as a model for responsible robotics regulation in other states and beyond.”

Several videos have landed on the internet showing robots fitted with impressive weaponry and it's enough to spark fear in the hearts of many.

Loads of people will immediately shout Black Mirror or Terminator when you pair robots and weapons and no one wants that future.


Boston Dynamics is supporting the bill and backs the idea of regulatory oversight.

Vice President of Policy & Government Relations Brendan Schulman said: “Advanced mobile robots are incredible tools that can enrich our lives and keep people safe, but makeshift efforts to weaponize general purpose robots threaten public trust and acceptance of this emerging technology."

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is also a big supporter of the initiative.

“Hollywood often paints a vivid picture of a dystopian future filled with robotic violence, but we have the power to ensure those images stay in the realm of fiction,” ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Program Director Kade Crockford said.


“Weaponized robots pose an unacceptable threat to our safety and basic rights.”

Topics: Technology, Robotics

Stewart Perrie
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