A group of robotics companies, including Boston Dynamics, have vowed not to weaponize their robot creations, aiming to quell fears of robot dogs with guns.
This pledge that they have taken, however, may not put an end to the broader weaponization of robots as a whole. These companies stated, in a letter written to all the robotics industries, they "believe that adding weapons to robots that are remotely or autonomously operated... raises new risks of harm and serious ethical issues."
"We pledge that we will not weaponize our advanced-mobility general-purpose robots or the software we develop that enables advanced robotics and we will not support others to do so," said Boston Dynamics among many other robotics companies.
Boston Dynamics has also revealed on its website that police and fire departments are making use of its infamous robot Spot, which simulates a dog in many ways, since it surveys risky situations. But Boston Dynamics has also said that Spot is not supposed to equate to surveillance or take the place of police officers.
"We believe that adding weapons to robots that are remotely or autonomously operated, widely available to the public, and capable of navigating to previously inaccessible locations where people live and work, raises new risks of harm and serious ethical issues," the robotics companies also stated in their letter.
It still remains a growing concern in terms of how exactly military and police forces will come to terms with the ways in which robots will be utilized, however. Many sources like CEO Jiren Parikh are fully aware that there is only so much that they can do in terms of limitations or restrictions on weapons that are sold.
"Because we're selling to the military, we don't know what they do with them," Parikh told TechCrunch. "We're not going to dictate to our government customers how they use the robots. We do draw the line on where they're sold. We only sell to U.S. and allied governments."
Thus, while only some robotics companies, like Boston Dynamics, are choosing to place limitations in terms of where their weapons are specifically sold, this will have no bearing in terms of other types of restrictions from other robotics companies (in terms of whether they will choose to utilize their robots for purposes of weaponization).