FutureFive NZ - AI surveillance: More security or less privacy?


AI surveillance: More security or less privacy?

Development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology continues to become even more impressive and futuristic with Hitachi announcing new detection and tracking technology using AI.

It allows AI to distinguish individual people in real-time using a range of features from over 100 categories of characteristics. These characteristics include things like age, sex and the colour of clothing or carried items.

AI can then immediately begin to detect and track the sought after individual. Primarily the technology will be used to detect suspicious looking individuals and lost children. Information from eye-witness accounts will be used to detect anyone fitting given descriptions by public security cameras in city areas.

As if that wasn’t enough, by analysing the entire image of the detected individual, it will be possible to follow the target using only camera images where the person is captured from behind or a distance with no face visible.

Hitachi intends to use this technology to contribute to public safety and security by applying it to security and surveillance systems in large public areas.

As it stands, using standard surveillance equipment and patrolling security staff, it can be difficult to detect an individual. With limited eye-witness accounts, other people wearing similar clothing or surveillance cameras unable to capture a clear facial image, it is hard to be certain of a target.

Hitachi wanted to overcome this by implementing features that analyse over 100 categories of external characteristics. The features of this technology are:


1. High-speed detection technology

AI can perform real-time detection to identify from security camera images more than 100 characteristics related to 12 types of appearance. Sex, age, hair style, color and form of clothing, carried items, and movement characteristics are all included. Movement characteristics come from 10 categories such as walking, running, and bending.


2. High speed person tracking technology

AI that recognises an individual as the same person by analysing and translating the image of the entire body into a numerical description. This means that the same person will be recognised regardless of any changes to lighting or their body angle. An image of the same person can be taken from tens of thousands of recorded images in less than 1 second.


Hitachi endeavours to improve public security and safety with this technology. Upon installation, sufficient discussion will be held with customers to be sure that personal information and privacy of the public are protected and not at risk.

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