Smart guns, anyone? — Update

KidssWith the Newtown killings in the background, “What do you do to prevent even more massacres like the one that occurred in the Sandy Hook school?”– asked  the intro to my recent post on the disaster.


Simple, said the story.

“Teach the teachers how to shoot.”

But, guns don’t kill people. People kill people, say pro-gun supporters over and over again.

What, though, if  guns literally wouldn’t allow people to kill people?

What if these and other projectile-delivering weapons had AI — artificial intelligence, of a sort?

What if these  smart AI weapons were programmed to ignore commands to kill people?

Pulling the trigger  is a command.

How could this be achieved?

Smart phones are everywhere. Why not smart guns with sights fitted with infrared detection and recognition software of the kind used by the police and military to identify  faces and’ live’ bodies and see through walls?

Just a thought 🙂

Just after I posted this,  I said to my wife Liz,“  it’s so obvious, I’ll bet someone has already  come up with  it,” and Lo,  “check this out,” says Baz in an email with a link  to a CNN  Op/Ed by Jeremy Shane, who,  “served in the Justice Department during the George H.W. Bush administration, has led ventures in online media, energy and education.”

Shane writes:

Voices across the political spectrum are debating how to prevent mass shootings such as the one in Newtown, Connecticut. Familiar ideological lines are being redrawn. Some want to renew the ban on assault weapons and expand waiting periods to buy a gun. Others want to place armed guards in schools. And then there is the challenge of preventing guns from falling into the hands of the mentally ill.

“While the debate rages on, it’s worth thinking out of the box for a moment. What if we could design guns to be smarter and safer — with hardware and software? The right technology could neutralize the killing capability of an assault weapon, even in a madman’s hands.

“The root of the problem is that guns are ‘dumb.’ Pull the trigger and they discharge bullets mindlessly, regardless of who is doing the aiming or where they are aimed. Guns should ‘know’ not to fire in schools, churches, hospitals or malls. They should sense when they are being aimed at a child, or at a person when no other guns are nearby.

“Hardware fixes alone — such as a ban on extended clips — may mitigate carnage in an assault, but they will not change the risk that an event happens at all if the person holding the gun wants to harm others. Addressing that challenge with reliable precision requires a hardware and software solution.

“Many complex products have been transformed by safety-enhancing technology. Look at airplanes, which have layers of computer-controlled safety features to temper pilot error. Cars, increasingly, have sophisticated controls to override drivers and avoid collisions. Guns, too, can benefit from technological advances.”

(The  pic is from a story by in the San Diego Free Press.)

Jon Newton — myblogdammit

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