Russian Police Make First Official Arrest Of A Robot And Skynet Is Not Pleased

Is it possible to arrest a robot? Do robot’s even have the ability to make unlawful decisions? Philosophy aside, Russian police just made the first robot arrest in Moscow at a political rally.

The “Promobot” was arrested at a rally for Russian parliament candidate Valery Kalachev, but it is currently unclear why the robot was detained. The Moscow police have not released an official reason for the arrest, however, local Russian media sources claim that the robot was “recording voters" opinions on [a] variety of topics for further processing and analysis by the candidate's team”. A Promobot representative hypothesized that the robot was detained because “perhaps this action wasn't authorized”.

promo bot

A Promobot representative stated, “Police asked to remove the robot away from the crowded area, and even tried to handcuff him.” The representative noted that the Promobot did not “put up any resistance”.

What is a Promobot? As its name implies, it is intended for product promotion. It is supposed to help people with navigation, answer questions, translate anything related to promotional materials, and remember everyone with whom it communicated with.

promobot escape

Another “Promobot” supposedly escaped its facility this past June. A Promobot was being tested in a small town in Eastern Russia and a security guard forgot to lock the gate. The robot escaped through the offices and onto the street, where its battery died. The robot was found forty five minutes -- and several YouTube video uploads -- later. Some claim that the “escape” was nothing more than a PR stunt, however, nothing has been confirmed.

Although this “arrest” is possibly another publicity stunt, it does raise a few Talos Principle-like questions about the rights of robots. A draft motion from the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs called on the European Commission to consider civil laws for robotics. It stated, “The most sophisticated autonomous robots could be established as having the status of electronic persons with specific rights and obligations.”