In South Korea’s Pohang prison, three of the guards are not like the others. They are… robots! The so-called “Robo-Guard” technology is currently being live-tested in the hopes that automation can reduce costs and help to make the prison environment safer.
The five-foot tall, Korean-designed robot, which patrols the hallways between cells on thick rubber wheels, is equipped with a number of cameras, including 3D, a microphone and speaker, and software designed to evaluate inmate behavior.
If the robot determines the behavior of an inmate is out of the ordinary, it will alert a human guard. It can also be manually directed by means of an iPad.
According to Phys.Org, the robotos also function as “wireless two-way communications devices.” They allow inmates and guards to communicate with each other immediately and directly.
Arguably, this would also speed up response times during emergencies.
The one-month trial will cost better than $750,000. If it proves viable, the Asian Forum of Corrrections hopes to employ them permanently. It also hopes to fine tune them so they can carry out random weapon and contraband searches.
It does not require an excess of imagination to picture how wrong that might go.