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For a Second There, Someone Thought Using Taser Drones to Stop School Shootings Was a Good Idea


Armed police couldn't stop the shooters in Buffalo and in Uvalde. But perhaps a very small drone equipped with a Taser could. Specifically, Axon CEO Rick Smith said in a Thursday announcement, "non-lethal drones capable of incapacitating an active shooter in less than 60 seconds" (or so the press release goes), which would be stationed inside of schools. At the push of a panic button, a trained human pilot at a control center elsewhere in the country would launch a drone. With the help of a network of security cameras, they would try to target the drone's onboard Taser probes into the shooter's flesh, in the hope of keeping them down until police could arrive on the scene.

Axon's AI Ethics Board resigns over plan to surveil schools with armed drones – TechCrunch


Nine of 12 members of an ethics board appointed by Axon to advise its technology decisions have resigned, citing the company's plan to install Taser-equipped drones and pervasive surveillance at schools. "After several years of work, the company has fundamentally failed to embrace the values that we have tried to instill," the departing members write. "We have lost faith in Axon's ability to be a responsible partner." Axon (formerly Taser) has grown into a juggernaut of law enforcement software and hardware in recent years, providing not just the familiar and formerly eponymous electric weapons but body cameras and entire digital platforms for evidence management. Setting aside for now the inherent risks of privatizing such things, Axon has been rather surprisingly thoughtful with its tech, soliciting the advice of the communities these tools will be used in as well as the cops who will wear or wield them.

Taser maker proposed shock drones for schools. What could go wrong?

Washington Post - Technology News

Axon, which manufactures a variety of Tasers under the general rubric "energy weapons," declined to make any executives available for an interview. Rick Smith, its founder and chief, said in a statement Sunday that the project's response had "provided us with a deeper appreciation of the complex and important considerations" relating to shock drones in schools and added, "I acknowledge that our passion for finding new solutions to stop mass shootings led us to move quickly to share our ideas."

Axon halts its plans for a Taser drone as 9 on ethics board resign over the project

NPR Technology

This photo provided by Axon Enterprise depicts a conceptual design through a computer-generated rendering of a taser drone. Axon Enterprise, Inc. via AP hide caption This photo provided by Axon Enterprise depicts a conceptual design through a computer-generated rendering of a taser drone. WASHINGTON -- Axon, the company best known for developing the Taser, said Monday it was halting plans to develop a Taser-equipped drone after a majority of its ethics board resigned over the controversial project. Axon's founder and CEO Rick Smith said the company's announcement last week -- which drew a rebuke from its artificial intelligence ethics board -- was intended to "initiate a conversation on this as a potential solution." Smith said the ensuing discussion "provided us with a deeper appreciation of the complex and important considerations" around the issue.

This company thinks taser drones will stop school shootings


From the company that brought you Taser stun guns, comes an AI weapon so dangerous it was rejected by the company's own Artificial Intelligence ethics advisory board. But that didn't stop the CEO from announcing the weapon as a response to the May 24 Uvalde, Texas elementary school shooting, like some misguided white horse hoping to tase our nation to safety. According to the BBC, Axon (formerly known, terrifyingly, as Taser International), has announced plans to produce a lightweight taser that can be deployed on a drone or robot and operated remotely via "targeting algorithms." The operator, a human (for now), will have "agreed to take on legal and moral responsibility for any action that takes place." This is how they hope to help stop school shootings.

A firm proposes Taser-armed drones to stop school shootings

NPR Technology

This photo provided by Axon Enterprise depicts a conceptual design through a computer-generated rendering of a taser drone. Axon Enterprise, Inc. via AP hide caption This photo provided by Axon Enterprise depicts a conceptual design through a computer-generated rendering of a taser drone. Taser developer Axon said this week it is working to build drones armed with the electric stunning weapons that could fly in schools and "help prevent the next Uvalde, Sandy Hook, or Columbine." But its own technology advisers quickly panned the idea as a dangerous fantasy. The publicly traded company, which sells Tasers and police body cameras, floated the idea of a new police drone product last year to its artificial intelligence ethics board, a group of well-respected experts in technology, policing and privacy. Some of them expressed reservations about weaponizing drones in over-policed communities of color.

Marco Rubio calls for improved 'threat assessment process' to stop school shooters before they act

FOX News

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., joined the'Brian Kilmeade Show' to discuss his effort to prevent school shootings nationwide and the latest on Putin's war on Ukraine. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are debating classroom security measures to ensure student safety across the country, one week after the Uvalde elementary school massacre left more than 20 people dead, including 19 children. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., joined the "Brian Kilmeade Show" to discuss his approach in preventing potential school shooters from committing mass atrocities, stressing the importance of flagging concerning behavior beforehand. "It's so important that all this information be fed into a threat assessment process," Rubio told host Brian Kilmeade. "That has to be applied, obviously, at the local level, and that involves multiple people feeding into the threat assessment because a bunch of people are going to see those threats."

There Is Something Extremely Wrong With The Texas Shooting Massacre Narrative - The Washington County Auditor


We aren't saying that the massacre didn't happen in Texas and in no way would ever be able to write words that would ease the pain of those parents and family members of the slain children in the Texas Massacre. What is wrong with the narrative is something you probably hadn't heard yet despite the relentless media coverage of the massacre. What would you think If you learned that the school district that the shooting occurred in had Artificial Intelligence Software, that is sold commercially, that is meant to monitor social media for threats of violence against schools and the students. That is exactly what was in place in Uvalde, Texas when the shooting occurred. Worse yet, the software company lists threats of school shootings as one of the features the artificial intelligence is designed to catch before a mass shooting has occurred. In theory, the software catches these threats and reports them to law enforcement so they can respond in time to prevent the tragedy or at least help save as many lives as possible.

The Download: Google's AI cuteness overload, and America's fight for gun control

MIT Technology Review

Another month, another flood of weird, wonderful and cute images generated by an artificial intelligence. In April, OpenAI showed off its new picture-making neural network, DALL-E 2, which could produce remarkable high-res images of almost anything it was asked to. Now, just a few weeks later, Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. And it performs even better than DALL-E 2: it scores higher on a standard measure for rating the quality of computer-generated images and the pictures it produced were preferred by a group of human judges. But like OpenAI did with DALL-E, Google is going all in on cuteness.

Families of Oxford High School shooting victims react after board again rejects independent investigation

FOX News

The parents of several Oxford High School students, including deceased Tate Myre, have filed a lawsuit against shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, his parents and school staff. The parents of two victims of the Nov. 30, 2021, shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan are demanding more transparency from the Oxford Community School District after the board voted against moving forward with an independent investigation into the tragedy last fall. The Oxford Board of Education on Tuesday announced that the district has, for the second time, declined an offer from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel to conduct a third-party investigation into the school shooting with the goal of determining how shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, 15, managed to kill four students and injure seven others last fall. "To me, this is an admission of guilt," Buck Myre, father of deceased 16-year-old Tate Myre, said during a Thursday press conference. "They know that things didn't go right that day, and they don't want to stand up and fix it. They're going to hide behind governmental immunity and they're going to hide behind insurance and the lawyers. What's this teach the kids? "We just want accountability," he added later when asked why an independent investigation is important to parents. Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald revealed in December 2021 that school officials met with Crumbley and his parents to discuss violent drawings he created just hours before the deadly rampage. The 15-year-old suspect was able to convince them during the meeting that the concerning drawings were for a "video game." His parents "flatly refused" to take their son home. The shooting has also resulted in several lawsuits, including two that seek $100 million in damages each, against the school district and school employees on behalf of the family of two sisters who attend the school. Ethan Robert Crumbley, 15, charged with first-degree murder in a high school shooting, poses in a jail booking photograph taken at the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac, Michigan. Myre and Meghan Gregory, the mother of 15-year-old Keegan Gregory, who survived the shooting but witnessed and was traumatized by Crumbley's rampage, are suing the shooting suspect's parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, as well as school staff for negligence. JENNIFER CRUMBLEY, ETHAN CRUMBLEY'S MOTHER, SENT OMINOUS TEXTS ON DAY OF SHOOTING: 'HE CAN'T BE LEFT ALONE' "They're the ones that know what happened that day.