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Artificial intelligence

Your license plate is probably in the massive database ICE just got access to

January 26, 2018

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has signed a contract with Vigilant Solutions, which owns a database of two billion images of license plate tagged with dates, times, and GPS coordinates.

How it could work: According to the Verge, ICE agents could use the database to perform searches that would show every place a license plate was spotted in the past five years. That would allow agents to build a clear profile of where and with whom a person spends time. The system can also send real-time e-mail alerts for new photos of a particular plate.

Taking issue: The ACLU warns that the technology, ostensibly meant for tracking down undocumented immigrants, could be turned into a tool that tracks all Americans.

Deep Dive

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And it’s giving the data away for free, which could spur new scientific discoveries.

An AI that can design new proteins could help unlock new cures and materials 

The machine-learning tool could help researchers discover entirely new proteins not yet known to science.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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