Americans are, on the whole, obsessed with technology. The devices we use to make our lives easier keep getting easier to use, and their interactive personalities are becoming ever more human. And now, there’s a new twist in the story of artificial intelligence. A Google Home device called the police on a couple engaged in a domestic dispute.
The incident has left many wondering just how advanced these devices are. It happened in Albuquerque, New Mexcio. The Google Home called 911. The 911 operator could hear the confrontation in the background, fighting. So police responded.
When they arrived, they found Eduardo Barros who was house sitting at the residence. He was there with his girlfriend and their daughter. Barros had pulled a gun on his girlfriend during an argument.
He’d asked something like “Did you call the sheriffs?” According to ABC News, the Google Home picked up the “call the sheriffs” portion and dialed 911.
The Sheriff didn’t come. A SWAT team did. They entered into a stand-off with Barros, one that lasted several hours. In the end, they took Barros into custody. His girlfriend had been injured, but not severely. The daughter was fine.
“The unexpected use of this new technology to contact emergency services has possibly helped save a life,” Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III said in a statement.
It will not surprise many readers that Barros was already a felon. Therefore, he was not legally in possession of the gun he was illegally using to threaten his girlfriend. In addition to the firearms charges, he will face charges of aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and false imprisonment.
While Barros’s alleged actions are clearly felonious, it remains to be seen just how the emergency call will factor into his arrest. In this case, the technology was reacting to his own words. Yet there may be some touchy legal ground as the inadvertent actions of intelligent robots results in criminal charges against less intelligent humans.