AI may be searching you for guns the next time you go out in public
When Peter George saw news of the racially motivated mass-shooting at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo last weekend, he had a thought he’s often had after such tragedies.
“Could our system have stopped it?” he said. “I don’t know. But I think we could democratize security so that someone planning on hurting people can’t easily go into an unsuspecting place.”
George is chief executive of Evolv Technology, an AI-based system meant to flag weapons, “democratizing security” so that weapons can be kept out of public places without elaborate checkpoints.
Evolv machines use “active sensing” — a light-emission technique that also underpins radar and lidar — to create images. Then it applies AI to examine them. Data scientists at the Waltham, Mass., company have created “signatures” (basically, visual blueprints) and trained the AI to compare them to the scanner images.
This tool is worse than useless. It will create opportunities for more murders. That is, unless you are a tyrant intent on disarming your subjects.
First off, the mass shooter will start shooting before they pass through the detector, taking out the guards before they even had a clue a threat was present. And, since there is a “funnel” for people going through the detector there will be a group of people ready for “harvesting” by the perp. It also will make it difficult or impossible for people to defend themselves where these systems are deployed.
Hence, if your threat model is a mass shooter, the device will actually make things worse rather than better. Many other threat models suffer similar degradation of public security.
The threat model that doesn’t degrade is the one where you want your subjects to be more dependent on you for security and to make it difficult for them to threaten your position of power. In that case this system will be a useful asset to disarm your subjects.
One of the companies that is doing this is Evolv Technology. The system is nothimg more than a sales gimmick. Let me explain:
Disney is using this system, and about two years ago I went with my wife to the Disney Springs area in Orlando (it is an entertainment and shopping area owned by Disney). They have security here operating these things, which I had no idea they were doing until it was too late, and we were trapped in the queue to enter the security scanner. I was sure that I was going to get caught with my handgun.
I had a S&W 642 in the front right pocket of my shorts, a cell phone in the front left, and was carrying a folded umbrella in my right hand (it had been raining). As we walked through the Evolv detectors, the machine beeped, but the guards just waved at us. I think the machine picked up the handgun, but the guard saw the umbrella and assumed it was a false alarm. I am not sure, though.
This would seem to me that the machine gives them a lot of false alarms, so humans being humans, the operators eventually experience alarm fatigue and assume that most alarms are false. This lowers their sensitivity to them and allows people to slip through with weapons.
“First off, the mass shooter will start shooting before they pass through the detector”
I have a portion of the video and that’s pretty much what happened. He drove up, got out of the car and started shooting. 4 people were down in within 6 seconds of him opening the car door and 4 seconds from when he started shooting.
And just like 9/11. Billions are up for grabs in the security fields. If you can just convince some politician.
Think we would be even hearing this story if the 75 year old granny had pulled her gun from her walker pouch and shot the sicko?
We probably would be hearing how the deceased was a good boy and was turning his life around, sang in the church choir and was returning from Bible study when Sumdood started the trouble and he was just caught in the crossfire.
Some years back, there was a story about a detection system that the cops could carry in their vehicles that could see guns in passing traffic. I suspect it went away after the cops discovered just how much energy they were radiating in an attempt to get the back scatter to return enough data to build an image.
It reminded me of the radar system on the Russian MiG-25. The pilot was forbidden to turn the system on until he was flying several hundred meters above the ground. They found it would kill rabbits at a quarter mile distance if it was turned on before flying.
About the only thing this will do is provide a convenient excuse to violate our rights against unreasonable searches. It will be “The computer says you have a weapon so we need to search you”. It won’t actually prevent any violent crimes. But then the criminals in power aren’t interested in preventing real crime.
Smarter Every Day on googletube has a video showing how these systems are developed and trained. That video is just covering the visual spectrum, but should be illuminating to anyone curious.
Meanwhile, I’ll just slide my iwb behind my RFID shielding wallet if the occasion calls for it.