Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Security Technology

AI Could Power Next-gen CCTV Cameras 173

Posted by samzenpus
from the the-unseen-mechanized-eye dept.
Barence writes "UK researchers are working on fitting CCTV cameras with artificial intelligence, allowing them to more quickly respond to crimes. The technology, being developed by University of Portsmouth scientists, would allow cameras to "hear" violent sounds and react, swiveling quickly in the direction of a broken window or somebody shouting abusively for example, before alerting an operator. The artificial intelligence powering the camera would also be able to respond to visual cues such as fights, or violent behaviour."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

AI Could Power Next-gen CCTV Cameras

Comments Filter:
  • Ninjas (Score:5, Funny)

    by SigNuZX728 (635311) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:15PM (#23944239)
    They'd be completely useless against ninjas, and ninjas are everywhere.
    • Re:Ninjas (Score:5, Funny)

      by dreamchaser (49529) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:22PM (#23944293) Homepage Journal

      Yes but they would catch a lot of Pirates. Pirates are a noisy lot.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I agree. In fact if you look carefully you'll find over 50 comments posted by ninjas for this story alone.

      • Re:Ninjas (Score:5, Interesting)

        by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @11:36PM (#23944859) Homepage Journal
        I wonder if while the cameras are first deployed, if everyone does "Silly Walks" for weeks...it will really fsck up the AI on the cameras? I'd have to think that after a week or so of them trained that way....they'd have so many false positives on 'normal' people going about their way, they'd just chuck the whole thing in the trash can.

        Someone over there try to remember this if they try to implement it....

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Pichu0102 (916292)

          I wonder if while the cameras are first deployed, if everyone does "Silly Walks" for weeks...it will really fsck up the AI on the cameras? I'd have to think that after a week or so of them trained that way....they'd have so many false positives on 'normal' people going about their way, they'd just chuck the whole thing in the trash can.

          Someone over there try to remember this if they try to implement it....

          Or they'd just arrest and jail everyone who does "silly walks" on charges of trying to interfere with law enforcement.

        • My first thought was to randomly shout loudly whilst walking near these things. Cue confused "operator" wondering why he's been alerted to watch a fat middle aged oaf peacably walking down the street.

          On another in my locality the local council spent several hundred thousand pounds on one of these stupid CCTV systems. However they didn't budget for paying someone to watch the bloody things thinking this would be done by "community volunteers".

          Needless to say there have been very, very few volunteers (which

          • by zappepcs (820751)

            You missed out on a couple things: Tourrettes http://www.tourettes-disorder.com/introduction.html [tourettes-disorder.com] Even if they get computers to 'watch' the cameras, they have to train the software to take into account such things. Having to respond to even just the odd things the software sees will be far more than volunteers can do, and would most probably stress the constabulary to it's limits. CCTV monitoring of whole communities was a bad idea, remains a bad idea, and is simply not pragmatic... even with software that

            • by HiThere (15173)

              Unfortunately, the rest of the world doesn't seem to be paying attention.

              It appears that this is such an attractive dream to governments that evidence that it's not working doesn't stick.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Cro Magnon (467622)

            My first thought was to randomly shout loudly whilst walking near these things. Cue confused "operator" wondering why he's been alerted to watch a fat middle aged oaf peacably walking down the street.

            I wonder if those cameras can tell the difference between a shout and a loud belch. If not, they'll be watching a lot of peaceful fat middle-aged oafs.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by SiriusStarr (1196697)
      Who cares about ninjas! Do they detect raptors?!?!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mdwh2 (535323)

      Oh that's easy, here in the UK the police just stop people from dressing as ninjas [cambridge-news.co.uk].

  • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:16PM (#23944245) Homepage

    Would that be swivelling around the like Eye of Sauron did when Frodo put on the ring on the rim of Mount Doom?

    I'm just askin'

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:17PM (#23944259)

    Nice idea- 'till someone gets his buddy to play a loud accordian solo ten feet away while he picks pockets out of frame.

    (Sorry for the AC, I'm on a public terminal.)

  • So, the idea... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msauve (701917) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:18PM (#23944263)
    is to toss a firecracker in the other direction as a distraction for both the camera and the victim, before quietly garroting them?
    • Re:So, the idea... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @11:00PM (#23944611) Journal

      is to toss a firecracker in the other direction as a distraction for both the camera and the victim, before quietly garroting them?
      And the solution will be to make it illegal for one to make loud noises in public, or some other such nonsense.
      • by g0at (135364)

        And the solution will be to make it illegal for one to make loud noises in public, or some other such nonsense.
        How is that a solution to any relevant problem under discussion? The CCTV stuff is presumably a practical attempt to aid in catching people who perform more lothesome acts. The loathesome acts in question are already illegal; the question of whether an act is or is not legal is not the focus.
      • And the solution will be to make it illegal for one to make loud noises in public, or some other such nonsense.

        You say that as if that'd be a bad thing!

      • I don't see why it would have to only be a toy for criminals. A small group of people could stand in a circle around it and take turns yelling to see how fast they can get the camera to spin. Slap on some ipods, and you've got a new sensation.

        I foresee big fun.

    • Think about it. If you wanted to garrotte someone quietly, why the fuck would you toss a firecracker? At least it will give you an option of either putting the police on your trail, or having to come face-to-face with a camera.

    • Re:So, the idea... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lars512 (957723) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @11:50PM (#23944933)

      Exactly. The technology they're suggesting is not that useful. Let's think of a better idea.

      Suppose instead you use cameras with a full field of view, that don't need to swivel at all and always can record everything. Aside from recording a crime, can we do more?

      If you still have these microphones, you could can use them to pinpoint where on a hi-res camera feed the noise came from. If you can identify the type of sound, you could use them in some sort of alert system which escalates warnings to a real person.

      None of these fixes the quiet garotting scenario, since there's no sound. Instead, you have AI looking at physical cues and body language for suspicious behaviour. Even then, we're just talking about trying to get there in time to apprehend the culprit; nothing will save the victim.

    • Re:So, the idea... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drsquare (530038) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @02:43AM (#23945793)

      Easier to follow the normal method: don't bother distracting the camera, commit the crime anyway in full view, give the finger to the camera operator, then walk off to remain unpunished forever. Of course if on the odd chance you are arrested by the single remaining policeman who isn't filling in paperwork or persecuting motorists, you won't get any time anyway as the prisons are full. Welcome to Britain.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Of course if on the odd chance you are arrested by the single remaining policeman who isn't filling in paperwork or persecuting motorists, you won't get any time anyway as the prisons are full.
        If that one policeman has filled all the UK's prisons, no wonder they only need one policeman!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Alioth (221270)

        I have this strange insight that you read the Daily Mail.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Yeah right pretty much the same way you'd distract a human CCTV camera operator or a security guard. How long before they train it to catch people shagging? Will it have cleavage detection? If you mod me down I probably wont even notice
  • Easy to subvert. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:19PM (#23944269) Homepage
    Couldn't you use this feature to make the camera turn away. Have somebody make a big ruckus, so the camera turns away, then go in and do the actual crime while the camera is focused somewhere else.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Zosden (1303873)
      Shhhhh dont tell of their weakness.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Tubal-Cain (1289912)

        Why? It's not like any of us will ever go aboveground to take advantage of this shortcoming.

    • Re:Easy to subvert. (Score:4, Informative)

      by CauseWithoutARebel (1312969) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:31PM (#23944353) Journal

      An interesting point. Any brief distractions (such as a firecracker or single broken pane of glass) would, in theory, fail, as the camera would just abandon them and turn toward the real crime the instant it noticed what was happening off-camera.

      However, how would it handle a prolonged mock crime and a real crime that occur simultaneously...

      Regardless, I point you to this gentleman's timely journal on the matter of surveillance:

      "Official Voyeurism [slashdot.org]"

    • by tukang (1209392)

      The article is short on details but it seems like the person would have to make a specific type of noise and even then the visual cues would have to match once that person gets the camera's attention.

      The distraction trick is actually one of the oldest tricks in the book, so it's fitting that people would think of this method to defeat an AI system.

    • Re:Easy to subvert. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by inKubus (199753) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:39PM (#23944409) Homepage Journal

      The best security is unpredictable. For instance, the security the casinos use, or the scheduling the Army uses for patrols. They use random noise to generate the schedule. With this, you are installing predictable rules into the camera, which (like in the Matrix) can then be bent or broken.

      You could add some unpredicability to the AI, but then you might miss something. The best thing is a nice preventative camera viewing cone covering every inch of the surface you intend to protect, preferably with multiple cameras.

      This could be of use in other aspects, such as accident cams and such. I think there was something like this in demolition man (Brave New World) wherein the nearest camera to a detected incident swiveled and zoomed. Everything of course was recorded. Crime of course was completely gone, bred out of society. Well, until an unconventional enemy showed up.

      • by HiThere (15173)

        Given what's being done in the studio's today there's no reason for more than one camera. You just need to use a super-fisheye lens and run the resulting image thorough the appropriate filters to reconstruct it into a cylindrical image. With three of them you could even get a reasonable 3-D reconstruction (for the area seen by all 3). Now the 3-D reconstruction takes a lot of computing power, but the cylindrical view doesn't. More than would fit on the camera, probably, but not more than you can get out

    • by rm999 (775449)

      Wouldn't it be much smarter just not to commit crimes near cameras? Either:
      1. Your diversion isn't very good and the camera will continue scanning elsewhere when it realizes this, seeing the crime
      2. Your diversion is good, and calls the cops, who will trivially catch you

      I fail to see how committing crimes near cameras make sense. What I would do (which is what plenty of people currently do) if I wanted to commit a crime near a camera is destroy the camera first.
      See http://aia.mahost.org/act_cctv.html [mahost.org]

    • by deepgrey (1246108)
      So, for example, you have your friends breakdance while you steal the stereos out of every car on the other side of the street. Ingenious!
    • by mpe (36238)
      Couldn't you use this feature to make the camera turn away. Have somebody make a big ruckus, so the camera turns away, then go in and do the actual crime while the camera is focused somewhere else.

      Or maybe there will be a special feature built into the AI such that the camera will be incapable of recording the likes of a gang of police gunning down an innocent commuter...
    • That was my first thought as well. The word you're looking for is: misdirection.

  • by wild_quinine (998562) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:28PM (#23944329) Homepage
    If this technology were ready for prime-time the cameramen for NHL would be out of a job.
  • a better idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:29PM (#23944337)
    Hey, I've got an idea. First, why don't they upgrade the image quality so you can actually see what's going on and get good pictures of criminals? It all looks like blurry gas station cameras from 10 years ago right now. Why spend millions making them follow people intelligently if you still can't make out details or get a good image of the person?!
    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:37PM (#23944397) Homepage
      Nonsense. The computers on CSI are able to filter out those crappy images, and produce wonderful quality 20 megapixel images from .3 megapixel over compressed jpgs. I'm sure the brits have similar technology.
      • by Z34107 (925136)

        Those folks at CSI also have amazing internet trace softare. Even from octets in the 300s [thedailywtf.com]! Click "expand text" and scroll down a tick.)

        If they can hunt you down from that, no telling what they could do with actual AI-controlled footage of you comitting a crime.

        • by WK2 (1072560)

          That's not an error. That's to prevent singling out any real I.P. address. Similar to how phone numbers are in the xxx-555-xxxx range. Most TV shows and movies use I.P addresses where the first octet is beyond 255. Sometimes they use 10., 172.(16-31), or 192.168. And sometimes (but very rarely) they will use their I.P address.

          There are plenty of errors in Hollywood. This is not one of them.

          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            While it may be intentional, it really is still quite silly. To anybody who knows anything about IP, it just looks plain wrong, and takes away from the whole immersion in the TV show. It's pretty hard to suspend your disbelief when stupid completely wrong stuff like that is showing up on the screen. At least 555-xxxx could possibly be a valid phone number. I think it would just be better if the studio would buy a class C IP block, not have any computers hooked up to those IP address, and just use that s
    • They are cameras that good. They just cost more. People are cheap, and almost probably banking on cameras acting as a deterrence, not an actual 'ah ha! I can ID the kid who held up the night shift dude with a baseball bat'. I'm pretty sure places which actually places an emphasis on that aspect has the better cameras. The fact that many of crimes take place in poor lighting conditions really can't help the picture quality either.
      • by mpe (36238)
        They are cameras that good. They just cost more. People are cheap,

        Actually people are expensive. Otherwise there would be no need for cameras in the first place.
    • by willy_me (212994)

      Well, having an AI zoom the camera onto points of interest is one way to help solve the problem. Even if you have high resolution cameras, having an AI that can zoom the camera allows the camera to cover a wider area.

  • by PHAEDRU5 (213667)

    Obviously ignored by way too many.

    Pity, that.

    Though, I am looking forward to lasered cows in Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes. Sorry, but ugh.

  • ...wouldn't this classify as image or sound analysis package with really advanced algorithms and not really AI in the strictest sense? I mean by this definition "the animal" program written in Basic, where the program learns patterns to yes/no questions can likewise be considered an "AI". I would consider this program an AI if it was able to call 911 and describe the attacker/situation.
  • I am not exactly sure this would be useful for the swiveling aspect of things as mentioned by other posters. However using sound could be an interesting augmentation to vision if done using the right filters. Swiveling would not be a big issue if using a wide angle lens like a fish-eye lens.

  • I feel better now (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mlwmohawk (801821) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:33PM (#23944371)

    Knowing that they will use "AI" to aim their cameras instead of just pointing them to a wide view, makes me feel good. The government and its fascist corporate accessories may be evil, but at least they are also incompetent.

    Balloons with angry faces will distract the cameras while you walk down the street unobserved.

  • In further news, researchers are investigating adding speakers and speech synthesis to the system:

    "Where did you go?" "There you are!" "Could you come over here please?"

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:41PM (#23944433) Journal
    At least in the US, the restrictions on video surveillance are much, much looser than those on audio surveillance(at least for the commoners). There has been some expansion of restrictions on strictly voyeuristic taping; but it is otherwise largely open season. Audio surveillance is much more restricted.

    I'll be interested to see how the law treats a system that is a form of audio surveillance; but is not an audio recording device. Is it legal if the AI responds to sound but won't tell you what it responded to? Can the AI classify sounds into a variety of categories and report those? Is a verbatim speech-to-text record ok, as long as the audio is not recorded? Depending on how this one shakes down, it could end up being, in effect, an elimination of restrictions on audio surveillance.
  • This is getting old. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stavrica (701765) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:48PM (#23944497) Homepage Journal

    Every schmuck who wants to get in the news slaps "Artificial Intelligence" on their contraption and suddenly the world stops to take notice.

    Unless this system:

    1. employs (or provides) some sort of multitiered malleable logic established by prior experiences that can identify a scenario based on inputs,

    2. identifies the best case response to the identified scenario, using not only stored experiences (preprogrammed memory), but relevant characteristics of the scenario itself.

    3. implements that best case scenario, checking constantly (or at least regularly) that the implemented actions are yielding results along the desired/expected solution path.

    4. identifying the resolution phase of its response, so it can consider the scenario resolved and cease its response process. ...then there's no intelligence to it. What these fellows have sounds more like an advanced sound analysis engine that autonomously controls a camera swivel.

    Good for them. Yay. Fun. Hurrah.

    But, where's the AI again? Next...

    • Judging by some of the stuff I read on slashdot a large number of posters would fail all 4 criteria.
      • Judging by some of the stuff I read on slashdot a large number of posters would fail all 4 criteria.

        Well, can you pass the Turing test? Can you?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by TapeCutter (624760) *
          "Well, can you pass the Turing test? Can you?

          Interesting, tell me more about the Turing test.
    • by TrueJim (107565)

      Some U.S. traffic cameras do something similar already. The camera continually records and discards about a minute's worth of footage...unless it hears the sound of a car crash. If it hears a car crash, it archives the recording on either side of the sound, so that investigators can later watch events leading up to the crash. I've seen the footage...it's amazing stuff. But I wouldn't call it AI.

  • Let the AI watch humans at their worst for years on end? Do we really need to give them another reason to want to exterminate us? I think not!
  • I read that title as AL not AI.
    My first thought was...Is there anything Al Gore can't do, after all he did invent the internet :-)
  • That the exact algorithms and rule sets the software would use to alter the camera angles isn't something the manufacturer is going to come out and publish. If someone is spending the time to develop something of this nature I'm sure there will be a lot of customization available to suit different environments as well as some algorithms designed to detect a diversion. Furthermore, two simple solutions I can think of right away are 1) encase the camera inside a container that allows it to swivel when neces
  • More Tires? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by maz2331 (1104901)

    And how many more tires full of petrol are Brits going to put on these things every week?

    They seem to be burning them up pretty regularly over there.

    • by Fnord666 (889225)

      And how many more tires full of petrol are Brits going to put on these things every week?
      Do you think you'll be able to hear the AI screaming when it burns?
  • by TaleSpinner (96034) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:55PM (#23944571)

    ...what you can accomplish against a population under constant surveillance and no human rights left at all. Consider:
    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/03/16/1730221
    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/09/20/2318220
    http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/27/1457253
    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/20/1344200
    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/10/1846241
    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/11/04/1750246
    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23412867-details/Tens+of+thousands+of+CCTV+cameras%2C+yet+80%25+of+crime+unsolved/article.do

    and, my personal favorite:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/6524495.stm

    Oh, I'm sure the UK government has the very best of intentions. We all know what is paved with those. And the UK has already arrived.

    • ...what you can accomplish against a population under constant surveillance and no human rights left at all.
      Wow, exaggerate much?

      Oh, I'm sure the UK government has the very best of intentions. We all know what is paved with those. And the UK has already arrived.
      I guess you do.
  • Test subjects position themselves in front of cameras, then they move around while performing every heinous act of depravity that is humanly possible. If the focus and movements of the cameras are indistinguishable between the computer control vs. human operators, then true AI will have at long last been achieved.
  • As far as there wasn't even an homogenous definition of what is AI (http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/06/23/1539245)

    Now they say they will stick it on cameras? Is this just a marketing trick? or a way to explain l-users that the camera has some sort of "image recognition"?

  • by FredThompson (183335) <fredthompson AT mindspring DOT com> on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @11:50PM (#23944929)

    AI Could "power" Nex-gen CCTV Cameras?

    POWER?!?!

    Control? Yes. Power? No.

  • by pak9rabid (1011935) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @11:57PM (#23944969)
    Hyper-Chicken: As the surveillance camera for the bank what all the judge was a-jawing about, could y'all tell us what you done seen the day of the crime?
    Camera: Well, let's see. My memory's a little fuzzy, but it went exactly like this:

    It projects a picture of Fry and Bender taking the money from Roberto

    Hyper-Chicken: Your Honour, I move that I be disbarred for introducing this evidence against my own clients.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @11:58PM (#23944985) Journal

    Jeez. We're supposed to be techies here, not a clueless advertising department.

    There are proper terms for this:

      - If the AI provides energy to make the circuitry of the camera run, it's POWERing it.
      - If the AI provides processing to control the camera's operation and/or reducing the data it produces, it's DRIVing it.

    So unless this camera has a REALLY SMART power supply the headline is flat-out bogus.

    • by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @01:11AM (#23945431) Journal
      *Top Priority Transmission to Mission Control from Camera #412163*

      Subject shouting abusively, recommend immediate ASBO and follow up with sustained surveillance for two months.

    • by Gnavpot (708731)

      If the AI provides energy to make the circuitry of the camera run, it's POWERing it.

      I was actually rather disappointed over this story. When I read the headline, I thought that they had made mobile CCTVs with some AI enabling them to find and connect to random power sources.
  • Colossus (Score:4, Informative)

    by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @12:44AM (#23945283) Journal
    "You will learn to love me."

    -- Colossus, The Forbin Project

    "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that".

    HAL 9000 -- 2001 - A Space Oddessy

  • I wonder how long before they figure out how to make the AI listen for a given voice or footstep pattern to identify known criminals... and then eventually when the computers are powerful enough to track most everyone...
  • by kellererik (307956) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @02:10AM (#23945665)

    if(hot_chick()) {
          zoom_follow();
    }

  • Don't take out my British charm unit! Without that I'm nothing but a boorish American clod.

  • Hey, Joe! You know those AI cameras? Yes? The ones that track noise and violent actions? Yes? They just recorded 24hours of pigeons copulating...
  • by js_sebastian (946118) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @06:14AM (#23946595)

    1- Your pal "accidentally" makes a loud noise
    2- Cameras all turn towards him
    3- rob bank
    4- Profit

  • You're hired! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wowsers (1151731) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @07:25AM (#23946831) Journal

    What happens instead of AI-CCTV, they actually hire police with REAL intelligence? Or is the notion of police officer with intelligence clearly nuts?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by phoenixwade (997892)

      What happens instead of AI-CCTV, they actually hire police with REAL intelligence? Or is the notion of police officer with intelligence clearly nuts?

      I it just me, or has the term "AI" been watered down over the years?

      It seems to me that the HAL-9000 wouldn't have had any of the problems that have been suggested here.

      And Deep Thought would have pointed out all 42 of the criminals before they even decided to do the deed.

  • What's to stop criminals employing cutting edge technology like a tape recording of violent sounds to make the camera look the other way?

  • So I guess the plan with CCTV is to slowly replace human-aided recognition to machine-only recognition until it can report crimes on its own?

  • I got a better idea...

    Why wait until after the crime? The police should but the would-be criminal in jail before he does the crime so as to prevent it.

    Hey I said "better" not good.

  • Who, unlike cameras, can come to the aid of the public - and run after any legitimate criminals. People fighting after a few drinks are not criminals, they are just lads having a night out and getting rowdy. Life in the UK is now grey, stressful and humdrum - America, do NOT allow this to happen to you - please!

Profanity is the one language all programmers know best.

Working...