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11 Nov, 2021 16:13

AI menace: Rittenhouse judge bans video playback on iPads

AI menace: Rittenhouse judge bans video playback on iPads

Judge Bruce Schroeder barred the use of iPads to view zoomed-in footage in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, accepting the defense’s claim that Apple’s AI could manipulate the video to “create” something that is “not necessarily there.”

As accused murderer Rittenhouse took the stand on Wednesday, his lawyers objected to an Apple iPad’s pinch-to-zoom feature, arguing that the tech giant’s artificial intelligence and algorithms would distort the image while displaying an enhanced view of surveillance footage.

“[iPads] use artificial intelligence, or their logarithms [sic], to create what they believe is happening. So this isn’t actually enhanced video, this is Apple’s iPad programming creating what it thinks is there, not what necessarily is there,” defense attorney Mark Richards said.

The objection came as the prosecution was preparing to play footage showing the sequence of events that led to Rittenhouse fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum during violent protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August.

Although assistant district attorney Thomas Binger countered that the zooming function was commonly used and did not alter the image, Schroeder disagreed and said this was a “high risk” situation. He noted that the burden of proof fell on the prosecution – not the defense – to back up its claim. 

“Is the image in its virginal state?” Schroeder asked, prompting a back-and-forth with the prosecution. He then denied the prosecution’s request for an adjournment and ordered a 15-minute recess, suggesting that Binger use the time to find an expert who could testify to the zoomed-in video’s accuracy.

When the hearing resumed, the jury had to watch the original, unenhanced clips on a machine hooked up to a large TV in the courtroom. 

Rittenhouse, 18, is facing six charges, including one of first-degree intentional homicide. He took the stand on Wednesday, hoping to convince the jury that he was acting in self-defense when he killed 36-year-old Rosenbaum and 26-year-old Anthony Huber, and wounded 27-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz.

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