Mass. lawmakers looking to set limits on robotic weapons technology – NBC Boston


Lawmakers on Beacon Hill are setting their sights on robotic weapons technology. Bills in both the Massachusetts House and Senate would restrict robotic devices or uncrewed aircraft from being manufactured or modified with mounted weapons.

The legislation would also make it illegal for those devices to physically restrain, harass or threaten a human being, with provisions also forbidding the surveillance of a person on private property without a traditional warrant process.

“Let’s put some laws in place now to prevent what may be awaiting us down the pipe,” state Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa said.

“With the advancement of technology, with AI and robotics, it’s here. We have to start looking at putting some guardrails in place,” state Sen. Michael Moore added.

This issue is particularly pressing in Massachusetts, with both Boston Dynamics and MassRobotics calling the Bay State home. Each company is pushing for further advancement.

“We want people to understand what it really means to be working with and alongside robots,” said Micaelah Morrill of MassRobotics.

“We’ve seen robots helping people in a variety of industries — everything from energy and manufacturing to public safety,” said Brendan Schulman with Boston Dynamics.

That said, both companies are behind this bill, with the goal of curbing bad actors inside the industry and in society as a whole.

“What we’ve seen over the past couple of years is there’s people out there taking these off the shelf, very capable types of robots, weaponizing them and issuing videos showing that. That’s something that really erodes public trust,” Schulman said.

“We could use robots in these situations. Here’s what humans have to meet — the robots would have to meet those same requirements,” Morrill said, “That’s really helpful when you’re designing your product.”

As for next steps, the bill still has a few more hurdles, but Sabadosa is hoping for progress in 2024.

“The bill just had its hearing and we are hoping that it will get a favorable report in the coming weeks,” she said.

There are exceptions to the proposed rules, including an allowance for companies working with the Department of Defense. Those situations would require a waiver from the attorney general.


Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top