The public was also plagued by the misuse of robots, which hurt the private sector even more. Abuse of drones by hobbyists and law enforcement only aggravated overwhelming and misinformed perceptions of drones from the 2010s.
By 2022, some police departments such as the New York and Los Angeles Police Departments had begun to use drones, or even directly program them, to specifically target minorities. In response, vigilante hacktivist networks frequently disrupted and hacked into police and military drones, and dispersed techniques for how to hack into and disrupt drones. Unfortunately this also hurt efforts to use drones and robotic technologies for other, more beneficial purposes.
2023 was the turning point. Cyber and hacker terrorists used self-driving cars and drones to transport and set off various chemical weapons and bombs in an attack on Los Angeles and its police department. The consequent large-scale fear of robots resulted in several state bans on drones. This fear eventually evolved into backlash against expansive use of robots in the private sector. People argued that ?big corporations? were eliminating jobs for US residents by replacing them with ?soulless machines.? ?Human Touch? emerged as an activist group protesting widespread use of robots in human societies, fiercely opposing private and public sector use of robotic technologies. Human Touch also created a short film in 2025 opposing artificial intelligence research. The film showed a hacker making an artificially intelligent hospital care robot ?angry.? By the end of the film (which had gone viral) the robot had killed patients, doctors, and children, and had set fire to a patient ward.
In the US and abroad, the misuse, abuse, and misunderstanding of robots hindered research, development, deployment, and acceptance. In warfare, attack drones were sometimes used to drop chemical and biological weapons on civilians and troops alike. This was commonly referred to as ?robotic hell-fire? by human rights activists. Taking advantage of robotic cyber security shortcomings, skilled hacktivists were sometimes able to turn attack robots against their ?owners.? Surveillance robots and even robotic exoskeletons were also subject to attacks. In spite of these events, multilateral attempts to prevent the use of attack robots in warfare were thwarted by superpowers and their allies.
As cyber warriors saw the potential for disrupting robots on the battlefield, radical vigilante hacktivists perceived a new space of malicious opportunity. An elderly Japanese politician was killed after a radical hacktivist reprogrammed his home care robot to give him a dangerous mix of pills rather than his prescribed medications. Hacktivist assassinations became more commonplace throughout China, Japan, and Korea, creating regional paranoia of robots that had previously been trusted.
By 2030, public outcry against widespread robotics has resulted in huge industrial losses. Robotic cyber security is notoriously weak, and research is far behind the collective prowess of malicious hackers. Even the use of robots in corporate or government meetings or for manufacturing processes has been deterred, as an almost tribal movement of humans against robots takes its toll on the private and public sectors.