Researchers at the University of Granada in Spain developed a type of artificial intelligence that can identify guns on camera. The technology was developed for security systems at large public events, but it can be applied in other ways as well.
The artificial intelligence can spot guns on video in real time, with an accuracy rate of over 95 percent. The system can then sound an alarm and tell responders where the gun was last seen.
What makes this artificial intelligence stand out is that it doesn’t require a special computing equipment to run. Professor Francisco Herrera, Granada University explains. “Our model can be combined very simply with a direct alarm, and can be implemented inexpensively using video cameras and a computer with medium capacities.”
This technology is well-suited for security and counter-terrorism, but its developers say it can be used to identify “violent” content on social media as well.
While this might seem like a new way to censor gun ownership, there are reasons to scan social media for guns. People around the world post legitimately violent content including killings, suicides, and criminal activities, sometimes live.
Earlier this year a man committed murder seemingly live on Facebook. Cleveland police went on a widespread manhunt after Steve Stephens, 37, killed another man, Robert Godwin, 74 in apparent cold blood. While Facebook later stated that the footage was not live, the murder was still very real.
With over two billion monthly users on Facebook alone, a gun-detecting artificial intelligence, if implemented correctly, could be a significant benefit to first responders around the world. And today social media is just a new channel for terrorist propaganda and recruiting materials. While there are limits to what outlets can or should censor, if this software can help prevent crime or catch criminals, it has clear merit.
Of course the main purpose for the artificial intelligence is for local security. Airports, sports arenas and concert venues already have security cameras. The software acts as a person watching each camera full-time. These are high-priority targets for terrorists. Combined with human oversight this could serve to save lives.
The software may be less effective in places where people are allowed to carry guns. It’s also possible that the artificial intelligence can tell the difference carried guns and guns in use. In the demonstration the software can clearly spot the difference between a real gun and gun fingers.
In either case this is just the beginning. Researchers have mostly tested the artificial intelligence by scanning YouTube videos. Sooner or later, this technology will be used online and in public.
What do you think? Smarter security cameras or automated Big Brother