The high cost of security
Throughout my simple July travels, I was frequently required to demonstrate by Passport who I was. When traveling, one is constantly aware of tools of security and surveillance, especially in airports. And for the most part, I was not troubled, but pleased at the great effort put forth to make my travel more secure. I am registered with TSA Pre-check and Global Entry, both of which make travel check points less burdensome.
However, how many of us are at the comfort level where we unreservedly welcome the use of AI to scan faces and scenes on behalf of law enforcement? We’ve seen the scenario too often in Sci-Fi movies with Minority Report being but one. Crime predicting is not at a place where human intelligence is unneeded. Rather it is aided by the technology. But the entire concept of the extreme need for security is like a vortex drawing humanity into the realm of less freedom and more control.
Cortica, an Israeli artificial intelligence company, has developed the ability to identify anomalies in behavior through rapid scan of terabytes of streaming footage of video captured by CCTV cameras.
As it turns out, criminals are human after all. They tend to follow similar patterns which can be identified through AI. When the criminals are at the terrorist level, there are predicable places where the violent crimes may take place.
No human can remember it all or scan the 1000s of hours of video. But AI can. The AI software looks for minuscule human expressions and mannerisms that have been positively connected as a signal of a person’s intent to engage in criminal activity. A video report from NBC News effectively describes how it works.
While the software might in fact enable law enforcement to deploy human resources where a predicted event might take place, thereby stopping the crime or minimizing the effects and potentially saving lives, there are some serious questions to consider.
But. Will citizens give up their privacy for safer public experiences in train stations, bus stops and city streets? As the bombings and shootings continue to escalate, there are many people, who succumb to the purpose of terrorism by being terrorized, who would readily opt for safety whatever the cost. What safeguard is there that the AI software and scan of video footage will be limited to aiding law enforcement in the prevention and apprehension of those dedicated to violent crimes?
One of the key elements of the AI software is facial recognition. Set aside momentarily (if you can) the recent report by the ACLU that a certain facial recognition software had incorrectly “matched” the faces of 26 congressmen with the mug shots of 26 criminals. The bigger issue may well be the control of the movement of all citizens whether congressman or cab driver or school teacher or businessman. And if the crime is a level of dissidence unaccepted by the current governmental authorities, what will be the result? Placed on the “no buy, no sell” list for economic sanctions?
So far, in America, while cities like New York and New Orleans are considering such projects, only in India is a full roll-out being welcomed. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India welcomed a new level of collaboration between Israel and India – a pledge to share technologies and resources for the betterment of each country. The first step is cooperation between Israeli AI leader, Cortica and India’s Best Group, a diversified group operating in several sectors.
The two companies will share resources to be enabled to comb through the daily data produced through millions of hours of footage from drones, surveillance cameras and satellites. Igal Raichelguaz, Cortica CEO said, “Autonomous AI is the key to unlocking an entirely new world where machines are integral to our daily lives.