In the new RoboCop trailer, Samuel L. Jackson claims that the American public refuses to have robots patrolling the streets. But when this happens in real life we shouldn't reject it, because it could be a great thing.
This is not just an hypothetical question anymore. It's already happening. Drones are right now flying around the United States. And the robots will come soon enough.
Nobody is comfortable with this and it will get worst. I know I don't like drones secretly floating above or the idea of robots marching down 14th street, but I believe this has to do more with other issues rather than the convenience of such a force.
First of all is the danger of human masters misusing these forces. The FBI is already using drones without warrants. Other abuses will come, and that shouldn't be tolerated.
Then there's the atavistic fear to the unknown beasts common to all humans. We all can be fearful of the idea of some robotic hunting us down.
And of course, software can always go wrong. Not only like in dystopian movies such as The Matrix or Terminator—in which machines rise against their masters—but in a more mundane way, with logic failures that may trigger fatal episodes.
But given good software, good logic—like following Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics—and good practices—with judicial control, transparency and public monitoring—I really think we will be more safe with robots and flying drones than with a police force that has demonstrated to have plenty of mentally unstable—hey, we are human after all—and trigger-happy people.