We were promised flying cars, but we got this instead…
Currently, Singapore police are trialing, in public areas, what has been dubbed, robot cops, to help fight small crimes.
The team behind the move is Singapore’s Home Team Science And Technology (HTX). And according to the HTX, the machines are called Xavier. Interestingly, they boast a 360-degree view camera, with an incorporated AI System, and the ability to capture images and videos in low light.
What is striking is that they are being used by police to monitor undesirable behaviour and rule breaking. For example, this includes impeding COVID-19 rules, illegal hawking, smoking or drinking in prohibited areas, motorcycling on footpaths, to name a few.
Once Xavier detects illegal activity, it sends an alert to the control centre. There, police make decision on how to proceed forward. Likewise, Xavier can play prerecorded messages from the police to let citizens know they have been caught and warned.
Although, this sounds like a fantastic breakthrough for science, Singaporeans are fearful that this change from human policing to machine policing is another effort to control and use surveillance systems on citizens.
Already, Singapore has one of the strictest surveillance systems in the world. With over 90,000 police surveillance cameras in the city, and authorities plan to install 200,000 more.
However, HTX have reassured the public that Xavier have no enforcement authority. Instead, they will aid duties of police, using their camera and alert system, in order to enhance public health and safety.
In any case, if you want to see the robot police in Singapore, head down to Toa Payoh Central. Equally, we are curious, what are your thoughts on this new phenomenon? Do you feel it is great for public safety or do you feel alarmed? We’ll bring you the latest updates on Xavier here.