We already know that artificial intelligence is set to take thousands of jobs. But is AI about to disrupt your morning commute as well?
A new free-standing traffic camera powered by AI has spotted and photographed almost 300 violations in the first three days of use.
The camera, which is used in the UK as part of a trial program, caught 117 people on their phones while driving, as well as 180 instances of people failing to use their seatbelts while driving.
What to Know About the New Traffic Cam Trial
The new camera's very first trial run took place recently in south west England, where road safety tech firm Acusensus teamed up with Vision Zero South West.
They installed it in one of the busiest roads in the area, and made sure that every offense was double-checked for accuracy by a human reviewer, according to one report.
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The same team had tested a different setup with a larger camera for a 15-day trial last year, but the new system is billed as a free-standing option which can be moved around easily to different roads in any given area.
This new traffic camera is only the latest example of AI innovations impacting everyone's daily lives. In this case, we might all need to start keeping seat belts buckled and our phones in our pockets when behind the wheel — unless we're ready to start paying a mind-boggling amount of traffic tickets.
Will AI Traffic Cameras Really Start Ticketing Me?
But there are more than a few speed bumps that AI cameras will need to get over before that actually becomes a reality, if it ever does.
First, it's just a trial, and hasn't yet locked in a larger roll-out within the UK. In addition, the trial took place in the UK, so there's no immediate reason to assume it will expand to the US.
At the same time, we already live in a world in which plenty of our private data is already scraped and can easily be used by the police to crack down on infractions, whether because the police department is unlawfully retaining data or because companies like Facebook offer it up on a platter. Adding AI cameras that can watch everyone at all times might just be dramatically increasing all that private data that's already being abused.
AI dash cams are definitely helping commercial fleets today, but that doesn't mean an execess of AI cameras is just as good.
AI Chatbots Have Already Been Fighting Traffic Tickets for Years
Ironically, there's already an AI tool designed to help the average joe fight traffic tickets: We covered DoNotPay back in 2016, when the “robot lawyer” successfully got around 160,000 parking tickets thrown out in London and New York.
Theoretically, we can trigger an AI battle in which the automated cameras issues tickets and the automated lawyers refute them.
In reality, we might be headed towards a more relaxed version of that highly automated future. We may seen more AI traffic cameras and may have more AI options to help address them. Concerns about a more highly regulated distopian future may well be warranted, however, and if you feel strongly enough about avoiding a world in which an automated camera surveils you from every single street corner, make some noise. ChatGPT might be able to do the first draft.