Don't want to be a war demonstrator for fear of getting hauled off by
the police? Well, La Fabricadecosasbonitas (The Factory of Pretty
given a grant to make 20 Robot war demonstrators for the upcoming G8
summit, to be held in the summer of 2007 in Germany. The robot
satirizes the terrible consequences of dehumanizing armed conflict. The
ANA (Autonomous Non-violent Agent)
Project recently won funding from
Vida 8.0 to build the 20 robotic protestors. The prototype looks
like a cheesy
mannequin holding a war protestor sign. The bot will have a Segway type
locomotion with sensors and a camera to help it navigate. The robot is
more of a remote control avatar where the real protestor can
hold a sign from over a mile away. Perhaps that will protect the real
protestors from being hauled away by the police.
That's a pretty cool idea. I wonder what the legal implications are. Can
the cops arrest a teleoperated robot? Or do they have to find and arrest
the human operator? Hmmm... I noticed the site says the robots can
operate autonomously too. Who do you arrest then? The programmer?
Are there any laws that would allow the cops to round up and remove the
robots? I think some city ordinances in the US define private property
(such as bicycles) left on public land as "abandoned" after a set amount
of time, like 48 or 72 hours. I wonder if the protesters have checked
out the laws in Germany? Heh, the way things have been going, we may soon
need to build some protest bots here in the US.
We really need more established laws for how authorities treat our
avatars -- meatspace robots and cyberspace scripts alike.
Robots are property. Cops can't smash property wantonly. Can a cop smash
a robot assembly without a permit?