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I.K.bot

Ivan Kirigin's views on Robotics & Culture: future. perfect. progress.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

NYC gets more eyes

From Drudge, an interesting story about NYC beefing up their surveillance system.

Most people might be concerned by privacy issues, and the solution is automation. Humans are very, very bad at paying attention to a single video stream for more than 5 minutes. Paying attention to hundreds would require the manpower of a small army, which the local police just don't have dedicated to the task. So you needn’t worry about someone watching – though the police should be if they expect such a system to prevent crime. It will work by in afterthought or in deterrence.

A computer aided surveillance system, where people and cars are tracking and logged, with learning of truly suspicious behavior, would be significantly better. Also, computers aren't interested in peering into private residences. To stress, these comments are about _public_ surveillance.

IntelliVid is a Cambridge MA based company where I almost took a job. They are working on aided surveillance for "loss prevention" -- retail theft at your local Macy's or what have you. I've seen their system, and it is quite good.

Many companies are working on outdoor automated surveillance, mainly because people like the military, border patrol, police, etc. would all be interested. The best system I've seen is by ObjectVideo, characterized by very few false alarms. Sarnoff is also extremely good.

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