Smart cities are an AI-powered dystopia that is already happening

Separating the futurist from the dystopian in the minds of the general public can be a challenge, especially when trying to conceptualize a technology as varied as the recognition of AI.

In current markets, there is a concrete example in consumer products such as the iPhone XS, with its Face ID facial recognition unlock. Overall, this was warmly received, with the majority of UX complaints and design, thanks to the removal of a fingerprint and notch reader from the Screen to accommodate Face ID sensors. But what about more sinister applications?

The gradual progression from fingerprint identification to facial recognition could be seen as a gentle introduction to more complex foundations of AI, such as those that are about to be implemented in the "smart cities" infrastructure. " of tomorrow. Recognition of Artificial Intelligence R & D is advancing rapidly and in the near future, technology will expand further.

CCTV coverage concentrated in metropolises such as London has long been a controversial topic, raising concerns of a "surveillance state" among many civil rights groups. As sophisticated AI programs involving user recognition are developed, there is theoretical potential to adapt this existing monitoring infrastructure to enable AI recognition.

Public opinion on this technology has not been helped by reports of its introduction by British police forces. It was used to try to detect suspects at the Notting Hill Carnival in 2017, for example, with a reported failure rate of 98%.

Although AI-based recognition applications go well beyond the targeting of police suspects, its association with surveillance at such an early stage of its introduction could have a significant impact on public perception. After all, there is no shortage of Hollywood representations of AI recognition technologies acting as oppressive public protections, as the 2002 "Minority Report" has shown.

Binary District Journal has spoken with Terence Mills, CEO of and Moonshot, to explore the possibilities of recognizing AI in the coming years. Mills works extensively in the field of AI and also sits on the Forbes Technology Council. It is perfectly positioned within the industry to see how the new iterations of the platform could be received by the largest consumer market.

Aside from the Hollywood scenarios, what are the perspectives and implications of recognizing AI in smart cities of the future?

Consumer recognition as it is

Apple's facial recognition software is generally seen as a springboard from which the public will associate further developments of similar AI technologies. Mills agrees, "I think what's happening is amazing. This will really pave the way for what we will do in the future.

"We are already seeing the possibility of buying things on your iPhone or online and authorizing a purchase via facial recognition. I think biometrics is probably the next step. We innovate a lot in terms of the ability to generate and generate purchases via voice recognition. "

One of the most powerful applications associated with artificial intelligence recognition technology is the improved security offered to consumers. "I think we'll see the banks start taking it to complete the deals," he adds. "This is probably one of the surest ways to move forward and I think it will really have a decisive role in cybersecurity because it goes far beyond fingerprint technology or fingerprints. "

Amnesty International Association with confidentiality issues

To take full advantage of the security provided by artificial intelligence recognition technology, integration will likely be disseminated in the smart cities of the future. Right now, using this technology is more of a conscious choice: hold your phone face-to-face to unlock it, for example. The notion of widespread cameras and sensors, especially in metropolitan areas, could face the same uncertainty as an overabundance of security cameras.

"I think facial recognition technology is scary," says Mills. "If you use it in the public domain, when police run with cameras or people walk down the street with technology that recognizes others by their faces, that's a disturbing proposition. It's intrusive, and it certainly raises privacy issues. "

The integration of AI recognition technology into society will make a person's identity a valuable asset. As the artificial intelligence becomes integrated, the person's face, voice, or other defining personal characteristics will likely become closely related to that person's digital footprint. Despite the levels of reporting protection afforded by the sophistication of technology, there remains a weak link: those who have access to the data themselves.

"Why is it [what’s revealed by] someone's face a different from [what’s revealed by] their social security number? Think of it from this point of view. If I walk in the street and go past you, and I have a device that can recognize your face and give me all kinds of information about you, it's really scary, "says Mills.

The level of access that various official entities will have to a user's biometric and biometric data is unclear, but any access increases the risk of abuse. "Can the police transport this technology?" Mills asks. "What about the army? The idea that police officers carry these things frightens people. I think there is a lot of discussion about privacy intrusion that will take place in the weeks, months and years to come. "

Monitoring and targeting of citizens

The consequences of a person's constant exposure to identification are not limited to the use of technology by the state. At the consumer level, users can open up to new levels of targeted advertising through the use of retailers' AI identification in stores.

"Artificial intelligence technology puts you in a particular place at a particular time as a consumer – the company knows you're there because you've used its AI technology to get there, whether it's in a theater, in an airport, on a plane, "Mills explains.

Think about it, they know you're here for the next two or four hours or whatever. So, if they decide, they can sell your data to someone who wants to market you proactively. Do I think that limits the development of AI? I do not. Do I think that people will want to make sure that their privacy has been well thought out? Absolutely."

With respect to the development of this type of AI, public engagement is an important factor. This is a factor that may influence the speed with which managers develop regulations for this type of tracking by location. With data protection laws, such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which tackles current problems in this area, the focus has been on the proper use of data in recent years, which will lay the foundation for continued vigilance. Mills notes indeed that regulators have already begun to consider the necessary framework to support the emergence of these future AI platforms.

The current state of development of IA

Mills reports a potential problem with AI that could influence the natural course of regulation. "The situation of the AI ​​is peculiar. We see this strange situation all over the world – I certainly see it on the ground in the United States, China, and Europe – and that's the strange phenomenon behind AI.

"All these developers suddenly said," There is a huge opportunity here. Let's go and get it back, develop our own solution and look for the problem we are solving. But we had never done this before! It was not so that we were doing business in technology – you started with the problem and then developed the solution, not the other way around! "

Development for Development could be a real problem because AI is making the transition from the occasional consumer technology of the present to the essential infrastructure technology of the future. There must be public trust, as well as public recognition that these AI solutions actually solve a specific problem.

"A downturn is happening right now," Mills says. "We try to understand, we think:" OK, AI has its place, and that's where we're looking for a business problem, then we use technology and science to find a solution. . & # 39; But this solution must be explainable and responsible. "

Create a transparent system

This concept of responsibility will most likely be an essential condition of the public's willingness to accept the recognition of artificial intelligence as an integral part of the cities of the future. As mentioned earlier, there are many potential applications of technology, but these applications need to be developed in a problem-solving framework.

Crucially, how the public sector establishes its own supervisory framework will be critical to shaping public opinion. A lack of transparency as to how police forces use AI recognition programs, for example, will only encourage speculation about the risk of bias within these systems. If such biases exist and are not corrected quickly, the prospect of a dystopian surveillance state may seem much more plausible.

This article was written by John Murray for Binary District, an international collaborative technology community that creates unique workshops and events based on new technology skills. Follow them on Twitter.

The TNW 2019 conference is coming! Discover our new glorious location, a range of speakers and inspiring activities, and discover how to be part of this annual technology festival by clicking here.

Read more:

CHEAP: 29% off the Harman / Kardon Onyx Studio 4 speaker, just for you