AI – The Majority Report


AI – The Majority Report

AI | Data

This extract, culled from the text of a blog on the website Hackernoon, might sound eerily familiar to anyone who watched the film Minority Report.

Everything, everywhere, will soon be continuously recorded and uploaded to the Internet. This will start with dense, urban areas, but over time every single square meter of every part of the globe will be recorded. Advances in computer vision & AI mean this data will be usable at scale, which will revolutionise advertising, law enforcement, and bring us back to a pre-privacy world.

I recently had the privilege of riding in a colleague’s brand new Lamborghini SUV which he’d specced up from its humble £167k price tag to something over £200k. (  and, while admiration and a certain degree of lust were what first came to mind, I found myself impressed, not so much by the phenomenal performance and control that could have such a 2 tonne monster bellowing up the by-pass in a veritable imitation of an F1 racer but the amazing influence of AI on its ability to anticipate events and obstacles and to cope autonomously and safely with the process of getting from A to B.   I originally thought that had been my first experience of such an impressive cooperation between engineering and AI, but soon realised that, like the capture and usage of data in other walks of life, I’ve gradually and innocuously become accustomed to some of the party tricks that this behemoth offers.  I’ve long known about and used cruise control, adaptive lane control, automatic lights and wipers and even self parking but had simply absorbed him into my unconscious “driving” filing system.  What was so impressive in this £200k SUV was that the technological wizardry that recognised the speed limit signs, kept the car and its occupants between the white lines and maintained a safe distance, accelerating, braking and even steering around obstacles autonomously in the process, all came from the Audi parts bin and, if not currently available on the humblest Skoda in the parent company VAG’s range of vehicles, will be destined to be shortly.

In many ways, this V8 4.0 litre, 641bhp monster is already going the way of the dinosaur as petrol fuelled engines are approaching the end of their remarkable span on earth, but the technology, based on the application of captured data, will simply expand to fill a voracious void.  It is the capturing  of data that still concerns me as that the sum of that process is something that few of us are considering.

The UK is reputed to have more than 6 million CCTV cameras, a higher number per head of population than anywhere else on earth,  but that’s simply a statistical snapshot that will soon be overtaken as other nations rise to the challenge of controlling the environment in which we all live. Satellites and drones, CCTV cameras and home video systems, ANPR technology, traffic management systems – the list goes on and on – are all capturing data images 24/7 and if we add to this the monumental volume of selfies and consumer video recordings, one begins to piece together the societal reach of Big Data.

The IBM Marketing Cloud Study revealed that 90% of the data on the Internet has been added since 2016, there are 4.4billiuon internet users ( an increase of 83% in five years) who, every minute post or upload:

  • 474,000 tweets
  • 300 hours of video on YouTube
  • 69,444 Instagram entries

The technology is stunning but the scale is already, and will soon be even more so, breath taking.  Setting aside the entries we each, individually and deliberately make, data capture will grow exponentially. When this kind of autonomous driving technology is embedded in everyone’s car, video filming in 360 degrees will be a constant for every car on the planet.  Facial recognition technology is already there and is becoming mores sophisticated on a daily basis but the merging of these technologies with the background cloud banks of other data sources liberates a whole new offering as suggested in this extract from the same blog.

AI… “also does so across as many data sources as are available, joining the data sets on common identifiers across them. So it’s not “there is a face in this video”, it’s also the name behind the face, the internet ‘breadcrumb’ of this person (including all other locations where this face was seen ever, all browsing activity, all messaging, all social network opinions, etc) and any other data set that might be available.”

You may also be interested in: Artificial Intelligence is no Better Than a Caveman

Ross Tiffin, Social Observer



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