Affordable consumer technology has made surveillance cheap and commoditized AI software has made it automatic.
Those two trends merged this week, when drone manufacturer DJI partneredJune 5 with Axon, the company that makes Taser weapons and police body cameras, to sell drones to local police departments around the United States. Now, not only do local police have access to drones, but footage from those flying cameras will be automatically analyzed by AI systems not disclosed to the public.
Footage will be uploaded or streamed to Axon's digital cloud for police cameras, like the body cameras it currently sells, where it can be analyzed by Axon's AI and used for anything from crowd monitoring to search and rescue, the company writes on its website.
This sounds vague, but AI research published two days earlier by academics from India and the UK shows exactly how such a drone system could be used. The paper, titled "Eye in the Sky," details how drone footage could be used to detect "violent individuals" in real-time.