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21 Apr, 2020 17:15

Coronavirus inspires DYSTOPIAN new AI social-distancing enforcement tool (VIDEO)

Coronavirus inspires DYSTOPIAN new AI social-distancing enforcement tool (VIDEO)

An AI start-up company has developed a video surveillance system that can tell if we’re abiding by social distancing rules. It’s the latest example of the pandemic inspiring what some might view as sinister technology.

As Covid-19 went on its inexorable gallop across the globe, it spread with it the fear that governments and corporations would use it as an excuse to encroach on the freedoms of citizens with new dystopian-sounding monitoring methods.

Californian software developer Landing AI has created a video tool that can be used to ascertain whether people are following social distancing rules. 

“Landing AI has developed an AI-enabled social distancing detection tool that can detect if people are keeping a safe distance from each other by analyzing real-time video streams from the camera,” the company chirps, in a blog post about the new software.

One potential use touted for the technology is that it would enable workplaces to monitor their employees to make sure they are operating within the advised distance of each other. It’s even able to issue alerts to remind them to re-establish that distance if they break the rules. 

The system works by using an artificial ‘neural network’ that detects individuals and draws a box around them. If two boxes come too close to each other, they are highlighted in red.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Amazon has already introduced similar technology in its warehouses, and has warned workers they could be fired if they violate social distancing guidelines.

Unfortunately, the latest stats from around the world suggest social distancing may be around for some time yet, so Landing AI’s and Amazon’s innovations are likely only a foretaste of what’s to come.

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