AI-Based Gun Detection Is No Panacea

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Dec 18, 2022 | 0 Comments

Recent press reports that Pennsylvania public transit authorities are installing or considering installing increasingly sophisticated, artificial-intelligence-based metal detection and video surveillance systems. Video cameras have long been available. But now, sophisticated software analyzing the video feeds can detect activity that looks like a gun or weapons crime. Public schools, public and private universities, and large corporations are also installing the new technology. The aim of these systems and the public and private entities putting them in place is to reduce gun violence, whether mass or individual shootings.

How AI Gun Detection Is Supposed to Work

Mass shootings and high incidences of gun violence in urban areas are legitimate public health and safety issues. To address those issues, though, public officials and private companies are using new experimental means including AI-based surveillance systems. The AI-based systems are supposed to detect weapons to alert police to intercede before a shooting or other crime occurs. According to the above press report, the pilot system one Pennsylvania public transit authority is installing has 30,000 video cameras spread along the system's main lines. That's a lot of cameras. So, instead of employing trained individuals to constantly monitor those camera recordings, the system uses software to analyze the recorded images to alert law enforcement to suspicious activity looking like gun or other weapons evidence. If technology were perfect, perhaps such a surveillance system might work. But technology isn't perfect, and the surveillance systems are already revealing unintended, invasive, and even dangerous effects.

The Real Downside Risk of AI Gun Detection

A real problem with AI-based gun detection systems is that they can produce lots of false positive alerts. The systems can misidentify as an imminent safety risk, innocent and peaceful individuals who either lawfully carry a gun or even don't have a gun at all and are instead only using a cell phone or carrying a bag or tool. Those innocent individuals may nonetheless face false arrest, unreasonable search and seizure, and criminal charges. They may also face real injury or death risk when the police arrive on the scene having misidentified the innocent person as a potential shooter. Any sudden move could result in the police shooting the innocent person. Racial profiling is another concern. And devoting public and private resources to one thing, like surveillance and crime detection, inevitably draws resources from other things, like public education, social work, and medical care, each of which could be their own, more-positive solution to crime.

Premier Criminal Defense Available

AI-based gun detection is no perfect solution for ending gun and other weapon crimes. Indeed, some solutions create more costs and more problems than the savings they produce. AI-based gun detection will surely bring a range of new criminal defense issues, including the potential for many more false or exaggerated charges and greater violation of constitutional rights. Retain the LLF Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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