Are closed-circuit cameras powered with artificial intelligence the future of surveillance?

Japan’s new “AI Guardman” is an automated security camera designed to spot potential shoplifters and catch them in the act. The camera uses open source technology developed by Carnegie Mellon University to scan live video streams and analyse the body language of shoppers. It then alerts the shopkeeper via an app if it spots any predefined suspicious behaviour – this is where artificial intelligence and machine learning come in, as the device is equipped to analyse and identify patterns worth flagging. The demo video above shows the camera in action.

The security device was developed by Japanese telecom giant NTT East and technology startup Earth Eyes over several years. According to a report by Japan’s IT News, AI Guardman reduced shoplifting by around 40% in the stores that participated in the trial runs last month.

According to The Verge, the camera goes on sale at the end of July, with an upfront price of about $2,150 and a monthly subscription fee of $40 for cloud support. An NTT spokesperson also told The Verge that the company hopes to introduce the camera to 10,000 stores in the next three years.

Of course, with AI comes fears over accuracy, lack of human involvement and the privacy infringement through surveillance. But that hasn’t stopped countries from investing big in developing the technology.