But iOmniscient’s capabilities don’t stop there. The program can detect criminals and suspicious behaviour in real time, merely by by observing the faces and behaviour of passersby.
CEO Rustom Kanga said: “The technology is based on what we call artificial intelligence technology, which attempts to emulate how humans think...it understands what is happening in the environment and it learns from mistakes.”
eople have “gone and killed themselves, taken their own life, because they’ve been flagged in one of these systems.” - Professor Katina Michael, Australian Privacy Foundation
r Kanga is adamant that facial recognition is the answer to crime and even terrorism; it could “prevent incidents like the Brussels attack”.
“There are things that humans can do very well...however, for repetitive activity and activity involving large masses of data, a computer is much more effective,” said Dr Kanga.
“If you had to recognise ten thousand unknown people in a crowded football stadium, a human being would be useless at that, but a computer can still do it.”
Founded in 2001, iOmniscient has since completed projects in 46 countries across 30 different industries. However, the company has faced criticism over privacy concerns.
Professor Katina Michael, a board member of the Australian Privacy Foundation, believes that facial recognition is inherently biased. She fears there’s a fine line between what is considered normal and abnormal behaviour or appearance.
“Are they are singling out people of a racial minority, people who are different? For instance, what do you do with people who are disabled? With people who are mentally ill who are queuing? And they haven’t done anything wrong...but they may be singled out because they just look different.”
The impact on wrongly identified suspects can be severe. Professor Michael recalls that people have “gone and killed themselves, taken their own life, because they’ve been flagged in one of these systems.”
“People don’t know, during the Boston Marathon somebody who was identified prematurely as being one of the people who detonated one of the bombs actually took his own life because he felt like he was being chased by the authorities and yet he was completely innocent.”
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