most Axon’s AI ethics committee resigned yesterday in protest after announcement Last week, the company planned to equip drones with Tasers and cameras as a way to end school mass shootings.
The company abandoned its proposal Sunday, but the damage has already been done. Axon first asked advisors board Consider a pilot program to equip a selected number of police departments with Taser drones again last year and last month. The majority of the Ethics Advisory Committee, which includes AI ethics experts, law professors, police reform and civil liberties advocates, opposed it twice. Advisory committee chair Barry Friedman told WIRED that Axon never asked the organization to review any situation involving schools, and that launching the pilot program without addressing previously raised concerns was a disservice to the board and its established processes. dismissive.
in a joint resignation letter Nine members of the AI Ethics Committee said publicly today that the company appears to be “taking advantage of the tragedies of the recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uwald, Texas” to trade.Despite mentioning two mass shootings in an article Press release In announcing the pilot, Axon CEO Rick Smith denied allegations that the company’s proposal was opportunistic. Reddit AMATasers may be a few years away, Smith said, but he envisions a school with 50 to 100 Tasers run by trained staff. Before Axon suspended the pilot project, Freidman called it “an ill-conceived idea” and said that if the idea was unlikely to materialize, then Axon’s hype “would distract the world from real solutions to serious problems.”
Another signatory of the resignation letter, University of Washington law professor Ryan Calo, called the idea of Axon testing Taser drones at schools “a very, very bad idea.” Meaningful change to curb gun violence in the United States requires confronting issues such as alienation, racism, and widespread access to guns. There have been no child deaths in Uwald, Texas, because the school does not have Tasers, Callow said.
“If we’re going to address the prospect of violence in schools, we all know there are better ways to do it,” he said.
Board expresses concern over weaponized drones may cause Increase the rate of police use of force, especially against communities of color. A report detailing the advisory committee’s evaluation of the pilot program will be released this fall.
The real disappointment, Callow said, wasn’t that the company didn’t do exactly what the board recommended. It was Axon that announced its Taser drone program before the board fully detailed its objections. “All of a sudden, the company decided to drop the process,” he said. “That’s why it’s so frustrating.”
He found it hard to imagine that police or trained staff in schools would have the situational awareness to use Taser drones wisely. Even if drone operators are successful in saving the lives of suspects or people in marginalized or vulnerable communities, the technology won’t stay there.