Artificial intelligence programs promise to do everything, from predicting the weather to piloting autonomous cars. Now AI is being applied to video surveillance systems, promising to thwart criminal activity not by detecting crimes in progress but by identifying a crime–before it happens. The goal is to prevent violence such as sexual assaults, but could such admirable intentions turn into Minority Report-style pre-crime nightmares?
Such a possibility may seem like a plot line from an episode of Black Mirror, but it’s no longer the stuff of science fiction. Cortica, an Israeli company with deep roots in security and AI research, recently formed a partnership in India with Best Group to analyze the terabytes of data streaming from CCTV cameras in public areas. One of the goals is to improve safety in public places, such as city streets, bus stops, and train stations.
It’s already common for law enforcement in cities like London and New York to employ facial recognitionand license plate matching as part of their video camera surveillance. But Cortica’s AI promises to take it much further by looking for “behavioral anomalies” that signal someone is about to commit a violent crime.
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