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AI-Enabled Video Surveillance Transforming Policing in New Zealand

New Zealand police have seen promising outcomes with the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) from a surveillance company its uses. In an industry update, it was revealed that half of the company’s global market customers have embraced “AI-enabled” video surveillance, with one-quarter implementing AI-based systems across multiple departments.

AI is a cutting-edge technology, typically run by a series of algorithms, computers, or robots, that uses real-time data to stimulate human intelligence. It can replicate human acumen and make real-time decisions. It is projected to underpin US$ 15.7 trillion of global economic growth by 2030. AI’s potential economic and social contributions are significant, particularly in New Zealand, which builds the ecosystem necessary for AI to be harnessed in a camera surveillance

Since 2020, AI technology has been employed by the police to analyse CCTV footage, aiding in the identification of individuals and vehicles. At the time, the police clarified that they did not employ AI technology on live CCTV feeds but rather on archived footage to identify “known” individuals, specifically suspects.

In the past five years, the number of CCTV cameras in Auckland alone has increased by over 100%. The sheer volume of CCTV data generated has surpassed the human capacity to handle it effectively. As a result, the security industry is turning to AI technologies to identify potential risks and suspicious activities quickly and efficiently.

Combining human security teams with AI-powered surveillance systems can make security measures more effective and robust. According to the police, utilising AI technology could significantly reduce the time required for analysing three months’ worth of video footage, reducing it from six weeks to just two hours.

There are many advantages of AI surveillance systems, such as saving time. Research has indicated that humans engaged in repetitive tasks typically have a maximum attention span of around 20 minutes, after which their focus and attention to detail diminish. In contrast, AI offers the potential for more dependable and cost-effective security solutions by ensuring uninterrupted coverage.

AI eliminates or limits human error. The desire to mitigate human errors is a primary motivation for incorporating AI into surveillance via video analytics. Such systems can meticulously examine data using sophisticated algorithms, enabling them to identify details that may go unnoticed by the human eye. By leveraging AI-powered video analytics, the aim is to enhance accuracy and precision in surveillance operations.

AI enables swift and proactive responses. AI systems facilitate real-time action rather than being limited to retrospective evidence in a given situation. By leveraging motion detection and behavioural analytics, these AI systems have the potential to intervene and prevent a crime from occurring or catch it in progress.

However, the significant growth and deployment of such systems raise concerns about constant surveillance in cities and countries, considering the extensive presence of government, public, and private surveillance cameras worldwide.

AI surveillance is still in its early stages of exploration and development, and it is crucial to align expectations with the current reality. AI systems do not possess the same level of innate intelligence as humans, who effortlessly perform tasks like reading license plates and recognising faces without conscious effort.

For instance, AI might mistakenly identify someone running for a bus as someone fleeing a crime scene. Even basic tasks like facial recognition can be prone to errors, potentially leading to serious issues if individuals are wrongly accused of crimes.

Therefore, it is essential to acknowledge these limitations and employ AI with human intelligence to maximise the benefits of this technology. While AI can significantly enhance human surveillance management capabilities and efficiency, exercising wise and thoughtful usage is also crucial.


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