How AI can make the world a safer place
Tech In Asia
In the defunct US television series Person of Interest, The Machine is an intelligent supercomputer capable of collating information in order to prevent terrorist attacks.While security and surveillance AI like The Machine is not yet a reality, there have been huge developments in the industry. The hype around artificial intelligence is very real if the number of related patents filed by tech companies like Microsoft is any measure.
AI in security and surveillance: One popular application of AI in security is facial recognition. China, for one, uses it to catch jaywalkers.Elsewhere, Singapore is testing its use for surveillance in prisons, while Japan used facial recognition for the first time to enhance security around Emperor Akihito’s 30th anniversary ceremony. Machine learning, a subset of AI, is also proving useful in threat identification. By training AI to pinpoint threats from camera footage, developers hope to deter potential troublemakers.One such developer is Singapore-based Vi Dimensions. Founded in 2015, the startup developed the Abnormality Recognition Video Analytic System (ARVAS), which uses a self-learning algorithm to identify unusual events in real time.According to Raymond Looi, co-founder and CEO of Vi Dimensions, the idea for ARVAS came about when he realized that existing systems didn’t adequately meet customers’ needs.Reliant on rule-based analytics, earlier systems needed operators to predefine what to detect. For example, they had to draw a virtual tripwire that would trigger an alarm whenever it’s crossed. But this wasn’t enough, as there were other elements that customers “wanted to detect that were not addressed by rule-based analytics,” explains Looi.It was later discovered that the perpetrator had scouted the area days before the attack, driving the same truck. His behavior was captured on CCTV cameras, but it didn’t come to the attention of security operators who possibly didn’t find the activity suspicious.
Addressing the gap:Traditionally, CCTV footage is monitored manually by security personnel. Studies have shown that human operators’ attention span wane after 20 minutes, and when divided across hundreds of screens, that number falls.ARVAS is a first-layer filter for surveillance footage, identifying and flagging abnormal events that operators might miss.