Automated Policing

5 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2018 Last revised: 16 Mar 2019

See all articles by Elizabeth E. Joh

Elizabeth E. Joh

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Date Written: March 27, 2018


Here is a thought experiment about a distant future — but not that distant. What if much of policing becomes automated? The job of a security guard will become increasingly automated. The military envisions a future of human operators overseeing groups of semi-autonomous robots doing the work human soldiers once did. Policing is not so distinct from private security or from the military that it will be immune from these developments. By automated policing, I mean a future in which a significant portion of ordinary policing employs robotics, artificial intelligence, and big data. These changes are already transforming the economy and society because of three trends: the availability of vast amounts of digitized data, the increasing sophistication of algorithms, and advances in robotics. Human officers would not disappear, but their role would be changed, just as it would in truck driving and other occupations.

Keywords: Policing, Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Robots, Law, Machine Learning, Prediction, Law, Fourth Amendment

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Joh, Elizabeth E., Automated Policing (March 27, 2018). 15 Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law 559 (2018), Available at SSRN:

Elizabeth E. Joh (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

400 Mrak Hall Drive
Davis, CA 95616-5201
United States

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