South Korea is one of the leading nations in the development of robotic technology, so it makes sense that robotic prison guards are about to become a very real possibility in that country. A project to create robotic prison guards, headed up by Professor Lee Baik-chul of Kyonggi University, has reportedly produced a very real alternative to organic corrections officers. The robot cost 1 billion South Korean won to develop, and they should be ready for a trial run next spring.
A jail in Pohang should play host to the trials in a test that is sponsored by the Ministry of Justice. The machines are apparently superior to conventional surveillance technology since they carry programming that analyzes the behavior of prisoners and identifies anything that seems to be up. They can even open a communications channel if a prisoner wishes to communicate to live guards in an emergency.
They were designed to look humane in some respects, and they can apparently help prisoners who are in danger or who have become extremely ill. This certainly seems like a humane task to give such inhuman creations. Then again, the compassionate appearance these robots have might be concerning to some individuals. Some people might feel that the robots look rather gentle.
Nevertheless, the robots were not designed to crack down on violent prisoners according to Lee Baik-chul’s comments. He has also assured those who were concerned that they were in some way dangerous that the robots were designed to be helpers. On the other hand, the whole idea does seem like it might be fulfilling promises set by authors of science fiction.