Three decades after cyberpunk science fiction superhero, RoboCop, first hit the silver screen, computer technology that will help police to be a step or two ahead of criminals has come on stream.
Delegates attending SITA Govtech 2017 conference in Durban witnessed concepts from science fiction materializing in real-life when they were treated to a demonstration of how just one kind of disruptive technology can help fight crime.
During a breakaway session on Crime Prevention and Justice, a Robocop-like figure showed how police will be able to identify a suspect and assess the threat level within seconds.
In the 2016/2017 financial year, the South African Police Service lost 57 police officers killed in the line of duty.
This year Govtech – the State IT Agency (SITA) committed to providing ICT through leadership platform and the latest technologies, solutions and trends – is converging on disruptive technology which embraces technological innovations geared to disrupt and displace established conventions.
Nicolo Cazzavillan of aiThenticate Computervision Labs, an initiative by the University of Johannesburg to develop disruptive technology innovations, donned a suit rigged with a smart phone, camera and virtual reality screen. The identity of a suspect stopped at a roadblock, for example, can be verified almost immediately by using biometrics and communicating with the Home Affairs National Identification System (HANIS).
Representing a quantum leap over conventional facial recognition methods, neural cognition is employed and is reputed to yield results that are not only far more reliable and far more robust. Neural cognition is, in fact, supposed to be impervious to the factors that tend to interfere with conventional facial recognition systems such as ageing, make-up/facial hair, spectacles, weight loss/gain and changes in features.
The camera also records the suspect’s movements and using neural technology which “thinks”, the police officer will be able to assess whether the suspect is about to pull out a gun or pounce on him.
Neural networks is an artificial intelligence data analysis technique – or brain function – that identifies patterns from historical data and uses those patterns to predict new outcomes when presented with current partial data.
Artificial neural networks represent an approach to problem solving that is nothing short of revolutionary – while the technology has been around for a while already, recent scientific advances have made things like ‘self-driving’ cars, a real possibility.