apanese police will begin testing security cameras equipped with AI-based technology to protect high-profile public figures, Nikkei reports.
AI-equipped cameras can have functions such as “behavior detection,” which analyzes a person’s movements, and “facial recognition,” which identifies a person. The agency will consider only the technology’s ability to detect behavior.
In behavior detection, the system learns to detect unusual movements, such as repeatedly looking around, by observing the patterns of suspicious individuals. Detecting suspicious behavior in crowds can be difficult to do with the human eye, and the system could make security forces better able to eliminate security risks.
The announcement comes as the country mourned the anniversary of the fatal shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday.
The National Police Academy will explore the use of the technology before deciding on a wider deployment.
The AI-equipped cameras gather vast swaths of information, making them a controversial topic in terms of balancing their functionality and public utility with privacy concerns – particularly when it comes to facial recognition.
The European Union restricted the use of facial recognition in a comprehensive draft of AI regulationsadopted in June. The police agency will not include such facial recognition technology in the testing.
One of the reasons the police will test the new system is the increase in attacks by single individuals, known as “lone offenders,” which are becoming more and more difficult to detect in advance. In addition to the shooting of Abe, there was an attack on Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in April this year that had no prior warning. -Nikkei
According to a survey by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 2019, 52 out of 176 countries analyzed are using AI technology in policing.
“AI cameras are already being used widely in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, and behavior detection technology is being studied by Japanese companies,” said Isao Itabashi, chief analyst for the Tokyo-based Council for Public Policy and an expert on counterterrorism measures. “It will also help to deploy police officers more efficiently, as they will have more means for vigilance.”