Yet another so-called ‘intelligent’ surveillance system has been announced. This one comes from Spain and is designed to detect abnormal behaviour on and around pedestrian crossings.
The article in Science Daily dryly notes that it could be used “to penalise incorrect behaviour”… Now, I know there’s nothing intrinsically terribly wrong with movement detection systems, but the trend towards the automation of fines and punishment, nor indeed of everyday life and interaction more broadly, is surely not one that we should be encouraging. I’ve seen these kinds of systems work in demonstrations (most recently at the research labs of Japan Railways, more of which later…) but, despite their undoubtedly impressive capabilities and worthwhile potential, they leave me with a sinking feeling, and a kind of mourning for the further loss of little bits of humanity. Maybe that’s just a personal emotion, but I don’t think we take enough account of both the generation and loss of emotions in response to increasing surveillance and control.
Further Reference: David Vallejo, Javier Albusac, Luis Jiménez, Carlos González y Juan Moreno. (2009) ‘A cognitive surveillance system for detecting incorrect traffic behaviors,’ Expert Systems with Applications 36 (7): 10503-10511