Lucknow: AI-cameras will read 'distressed' women's facial expressions, alert police
The capital of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, will get artificial intelligence-enabled cameras in public places that will conclude if a woman is in distress by reading the change in her facial expressions. The smart cameras will then alert the nearest police station. A top police officer revealed that 200 busy spots visited frequently by women have already been identified for this purpose. Here's more.
This new project is a part of the Mission Shakti program, launched by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's government in October, to curtail women's harassment. Revealing the intricacies of the plan, Lucknow Police Commissioner DK Thakur said five AI-based cameras will be installed. He also revealed that Lucknow is the only UP city selected nationally to be developed as a 'safe city.'
"These cameras will become active as soon as the expressions of a woman in distress change. Before she takes out the phone and dials 100 or UP 112 for help, an alert will reach the police," the police commissioner said.
As soon as this initiative made it to the news, some experts raised concerns. Anupam Guha, Assistant Professor at the Centre for Policy Studies, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, wrote on Twitter that this program is "remarkably Kafkaesque that it's funny." "Facial expressions say nothing about the internal mental state of humans," he wrote in a Twitter thread.
again, for the Nth time,— Anupam Guha (@Anupam_Guha) January 21, 2021
1. facial expressions say nothing about the internal mental state of humans
2. machine learning requiring facial data violate constitutional rights
3. even if you ignore 1 and 2, machine learning is non deterministic
4. this idea is cartoon level stupid
Like Guha, Anushka Jain, Associate Counsel (Transparency and Right to Information) at non-profit organization Internet Freedom Foundation, told NDTV that the initiative might give another chance to police to harass citizens. She feared that cameras can send alerts for even a trivial reason. "We don't know what expressions they are tracking and how accurate the system of tracking these expressions is," Jain argued.
"It's not necessary that a person who's making an expression of anger or distress is actually being harassed in a manner wherein police intervention is needed. I could be talking to a friend, and I could get upset over something. And that could also trigger the cameras," she underlined.