Rapid advances and decreasing prices for facial-recognition artificial intelligence technology, fueled by an arms race of surveillance firms eager to dominate the educational market, have made systems that promise to end school shootings faster, cheaper and more available than ever.
For schools with high-resolution digital cameras activating face recognition can be easy as installing new software. Trevor Matz, the chief executive of video system BriefCam, said there is increased interest in cutting-edge surveillance technology, including from schools. His company makes software that can recognize faces and filter video with search terms like “girl in pink” or “man with mustache,” shrinking hours of footage into seconds.
“Everybody we demo the product to immediately goes, ‘Wow’ and says, ‘I want it.’ There’s not a lot of selling that needs to be done.” The city of Springfield, Mass., for example, is beefing up its school security with an additional 1,000 cameras at its roughly 60 public schools in the coming months, all of which will work with BriefCam.
Yet the most advanced facial-recognition systems on the market provide imperfect matches that have been shown to be less accurate for women and people of color, raising concerns that students could be wrongly blocked from campus or misidentified as violent criminals — even from an early age. Furthermore, innocent lives could be put at risk.
Will these systems deliver on their promises at the time of the next attack? Let’s discuss this and more at my upcoming programs on Artificial Intelligence with Terrapinn Training, GLC Europe and GLDNAcademy.