Going Cyberpunk: Conceptualizing The Smart(Er) Artificially Intelligent Firearm For Policing’s Utopian Future

Mehzeb Chowdhury*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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As policing develops into a more professional, evidence-driven and technical endeavour, heightened public concern regarding organizational competence and police culture-related fallacies have become augmented, especially in the case of officer-involved shootings. Introduction of body-worn cameras, increased CCTV coverage, vehicle dashcams and the advent of social media, have provided avenues for investigation into misconduct, but institutional and individual failings such as racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination remain a concern. Technical innovations like smart guns, smart targeting and programmable projectiles have instigated conversations about traditional firearms and whether alternatives using cutting-edge technology could address some of these shortcomings. This article examines existing policing technologies, providing an overview of advanced computational and sensor systems, the risks and dangers of these mechanisms, as well as their potential benefits and drawbacks. It conceptualizes whether existing technologies can be transformed into a smarter, more efficient firearm, powered by artificial intelligence (AI). The premise of the AI-assisted firearm being the promise of a future in which unwanted outcomes in officer/citizen encounters can be counteracted through AI assisting in better decision-making. The article considers hardware and software, policy issues, associated risks and potential advantages of the firearms system, providing a wider perspective on the increasing use of computational technologies in policing practice, and highlighting areas for further research and discussion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-337
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Police Science and Management
Issue number3
Early online date25 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

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