Robots on the beat by 2084

Robocop a reality?
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

Robocop a reality?

Robocop will become a reality within the next 75 years according to a top UK robotics expert.

Abusive drunks or knife-wielding thugs can expect to feel a metallic hand of the law on their shoulder in 2084, according to robotics expert, professor Noel Sharkey of the University of Sheffield.

Sharkey said he expects robots with "human-like features and expressions" to patrol the streets of the UK to cut crime, detect weapons, carry out drink and drugs tests and free-up police officers' time.

Chips in the brains of these tin guardians would give them instant access to bank accounts, tax, motoring, shopping and criminal records, allowing them to instantly identify and determine who people were, according to Sharkey.

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But he warned they would have to be constrained to prevent them from inadvertently using excessive force due to their "super strength" and "inability to feel pain".

His research also predicts that autonomous police cars will appear by 2070, able to recognise speeding cars, identify number plates and automatically deduct fines from bank accounts, at the same time as adding points on driving licences.

Sharkey said in a statement: "These robot developments could be extremely beneficial in the protection of citizens and police in the hands of benevolent governments.

The study was commissioned by Warner Home Video to mark the release of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

"But in the wrong hands, as warned in the movie, robot law enforcement could be a major blow to individual privacy and basic human rights," he added.

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