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Artificial intelligence

Police body cameras could be about to get an AI upgrade

April 26, 2018

One of the biggest manufacturers of technology for law enforcement says AI-powered tools are essential for fighting crime in the 21st century.

Details: According to the Washington Post, Axon, which makes the wearable body cameras used by many police departments in the US, is looking into adding AI to its portfolio, starting with facial recognition for its cameras.

But: An open letter signed by groups like the ACLU, the NAACP, and AI Now argues that police departments have a documented history of racial bias, and technology could exacerbate the problem if it’s not carefully designed.

Counter: Rick Smith, Axon’s chief executive, says the company knows the risks and has convened an ethics board made up of law enforcement officers, civil rights activists, and AI experts to help guide the tech’s development. Still, he says, it is “both naive and counterproductive” to suggest police shouldn’t have access to this type of technology.

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