We got some interesting news coming out of Massachusetts, my friends. State Representative Lindsay Sabadosa and State Senator Michael Moore have filed an Act that’s gonna make sure that these fancy robotic devices and drones are used responsibly. I’m talking about legislation that straight up bans the manufacture, sale, and operation of any robotic device or drone that’s got a weapon mounted on it!
Now, if this thing passes, which would be a first in the whole damn nation, it’s gonna bring some much-needed regulations to the table. We’re talking about rules that are gonna protect the general public and at the same time, give some stability and predictability to this emerging market and the entrepreneurs behind it.
So, what’s in this bill exactly? Well, it’s got three main provisions that deal with robots, drones, and other uncrewed robotic devices. First off, it’s gonna ban the sale and use of these weapon-mounted robotic devices. Makes sense, right? We don’t want these things falling into the wrong hands! Second, it’s gonna ban the use of these robots to threaten or harass people, which is just common decency if you ask me. And third, it’s gonna ban the usage of these devices to physically restrain someone. We can’t have robots going all RoboCop on people!
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. If you break any of these rules, you’re gonna face fines. And we ain’t talking about pennies here, my friends. Oh no, we’re talking about fines ranging from $5,000 to $25,000! That’s gonna make you think twice before you start strapping weapons onto your gadgets.
But hey, let’s hear what some of the key players have to say about this legislation. State Rep Lindsay Sabadosa, she’s saying, and I quote, “Our offices have worked with key stakeholders in developing this legislation, that’s why our bill is supported by leaders in the robotics industry and civil rights organizations. Entrepreneurs need the stability of our legislature’s foresight, communities need safety from this fast-moving technology, and above all we have to act to ensure public confidence and safety.”
And Senator Michael Moore, he’s got something to say too. He’s saying, “Very often, the pace of innovation moves faster than critical regulation that protects the public. I’m pleased to have worked with Representative Sabadosa, the ACLU of Massachusetts, Boston Dynamics, and so many others to get ahead of what can be a very dangerous technology if in the wrong hands.”
Now, you might be wondering who’s exempt from all these penalties and fines. Well, the US Military and its contractors, law enforcement officials disposing of explosives, and private companies testing anti-weaponization technologies with waivers from the Massachusetts Attorney General, they’re off the hook. They still gotta follow the rules, but they won’t get slapped with those big fines.
And to make sure we got confidence in our law enforcement using these robotic devices, the bill makes it clear that a warrant is needed when a robot enters private property, except in cases of emergency. We gotta protect our privacy, my friends!
Now, there’s some other folks supporting this legislation too. Kade Crockford from the ACLU of Massachusetts is all about it. She’s saying, and I quote, “Weaponized robots pose an unacceptable threat to our safety and basic rights. We commend Senator Moore and Representative Sabadosa for identifying these potential perils, bringing tech industry leaders and advocates together, and filing this legislation to ensure our laws keep pace with advancing technologies.”
We also got Brendan Schulman from Boston Dynamics, and he’s saying, “We are proud to have worked in collaboration with Representative Sabadosa, Senator Moore, civil rights advocates, and robotics industry leaders, to help develop the nation’s first comprehensive legislation on this topic, in our home state of Massachusetts.” Can’t argue with that, my friends!
And Tom Ryden from MassRobotics, he’s all in too. He’s saying, “Massachusetts is a global leader in robotics innovation and it only makes sense that we continue to lead by being the first state to adopt this important legislation.” You gotta give props to the pioneers, my friends!
Now, this Act has been introduced to the Massachusetts House and Senate, so it’s gonna go through some evaluation and they’re gonna hear some testimony. We’ll see what happens, but I gotta say, it’s about damn time we start putting some common-sense regulations on these robots and drones. We can’t be having weaponized gadgets flying around causing havoc and threatening people, that ain’t right!