China Will Start Using AI to Predict Crimes Before They Happen

China is reportedly developing a crime-prevention system that appears to be inspired by films “Minority Report” and “Fast and the Furious” with a hint of “1984”.

By utilizing both facial recognition technology and advanced artificial intelligence, Chinese firm Cloud Walk is developing a way for authorities to stop a potential crime even before it is committed, according to Financial Times.

The Guangzhou-based tech company is currently testing its predictive intelligence system that monitors a person’s movements and behavior patterns. Based on the program’s evaluation, it determines a person’s risk of committing a crime then notifies the police of potential criminals.

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“The police are using a big-data rating system to rate highly suspicious groups of people based on where they go and what they do,” a representative from Cloud Walk was quoted as saying.

An individual becomes a potential criminal if he “frequently visits transport hubs and goes to suspicious places like a knife store”, the spokesperson told the FT.

Cloud Walk’s system can also mark people for past suspicious behavior and keep them tracked so when they appear in high-risk areas, the police are immediately alerted.

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As the system is already linked to the police database in over 50 cities and provinces, it can readily flag monitor and tag suspicious individuals across the country.

Predicting crime using technology, although implemented using different techniques, has been a practice in other countries for years.

For more than a decade now, Milan, Italy has been using KeyCrime, which uses historical data to predict where robberies may strike in the city.

In the United States, 20 of 50 biggest police departments use a controversial system called PredPol, which purportedly predicts when and where crime might happen.

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Japan’s Kyoto police have also been utilizing a tool called the Predictive Crime Defense System (Yosokugata Hanzai Bogyo System) which predicts the time and place where certain types of crime are most likely to be committed.

What’s unique about China’s approach is that it utilizes its citizen records archive to predict who might be a potential criminal. The country also has over 176 million surveillance cameras spread throughout the country.

Authorities can cross-check surveillance footage with national ID photographs using a facial recognition technology so powerful it can even match a person with photos taken ten years apart.

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Facial-recognition startup Megvii representative Xie Yinan told Forbes that China can immediately locate anyone’s whereabouts through surveillance cameras similar to “Furious 7’s”  God’s Eye.  

“It is similar to what you see in the Fast and Furious movies, only with even higher accuracy,” Xie was quoted as saying.

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