Thursday, March 28, 2024

San Jose is using AI to scan streets for homeless people's cars

The city of San Jose is piloting using car-mounted cameras and AI software by SenSen.AI to scan for vehicles that people are living in. Why would we do this? The pilot was actually launched to systematically find all sorts of issues including potholes, trash, graffiti, parking validations, and illegal encampments. However, the encampments are the most controversial aspect of the scanning.

If the technology was fully deployed, then city staff could respond by sending outreach workers to small encampments before they become large ones. However, the accuracy was quite low with only 10-15% accuracy for lived-in cars and 70-75% for RVs. 

The intention of proactive outreach is positive despite the Black-Mirrorish nature of the pilot. Whether the program will move forward is yet to be determined, but both privacy and homeless-rights advocates are up-in-arms over this initiative. This may be one of the first projects of its kind but it definitely won't be the last. Hopefully there is a way to run these pilots ethically with respect to all parties involved.

Source: SFGATE

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