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Don't try bribing these robot prison guards

Telepresence robots are being deployed to a South Korean prison to help prevent suicides and violence among inmates.

Asian Forum for Corrections

Inmates at a prison in South Korea will probably think twice about trying to escape after robots join guard duty on the cell block.

Beginning next March, three guard robots will be on alert for dangerous behavior at the prison in Pohang, according to a Yonhap News report.

The 1 billion won ($864,000) project is being organized by Korea's Ministry of Knowledge Economy. The robots will mainly patrol at night and serve as telepresence droids for remote human guards.

The 5-foot-tall robot, which sports four wheels and the ability to speak, is under development by the Asian Forum for Corrections (AFC), with help from the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) and manufacturer SMEC.

Armed with cameras and sensors, it can recognize behavior such as violence and suicide and alert human guards.

"As we're almost done with creating its key operating system, we are now working on refining its details to make it look more friendly to inmates," Yonhap quoted AFC Chairman Lee Baik-Chul of Kyonggi University as saying.

"That's a concern. But the robots are not Terminators. Their job is not cracking down on violent prisoners. They are helpers. When an inmate is in a life-threatening situation or seriously ill, he or she can reach out for help quickly."

With its upcoming robot theme park, robot teachers, and robot machine guns, Korea is beginning to rival Japan as a robot powerhouse.

I wonder if prisoners will welcome the guard droids as much as other Koreans.

(Via Yonhap News)