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'Dystopian' AI anti-theft surveillance video has got people freaked out

'Dystopian' AI anti-theft surveillance video has got people freaked out

People fear it could change the way we shop

The clip of a new CCTV system that uses AI to catch would-be thieves has caused a stir on social media and people are concerned about the future of surveillance.

The video was posted to Reddit which shows supposed simulation footage of shoppers in a store.

The AI has placed a green box around each customer and given them a percentage of how ‘normal’ they are behaving.




When someone puts something in their pocket, it flags up on the system and ‘item in pocket’ appears on the screen, with the box around the individual also turning red.

When the item is put back on the shelf, their box switches back to green.

Viewers of the post on Reddit were horrified by the potential new way of stopping shoplifters, with many airing fears about how this could affect the way they shop.

One user posted: “I shop at Aldi often and since I don’t drive I’ll either bring my wagon for larger trips or my cross body harvest bag (I use it for gardening) for smaller ones.

“I’ve never had an issue not using a cart and just putting what I need in my bag then dumping it out and refilling it on the self check out. My normal shopping would look like I’m stealing to AI.”

Another raised a concern about how accurate the AI would be, adding: “Say I was holding a shopping basket close to my side, the side that is opposite to the camera and if I was quite a large person I blocked most of the basket, would it know or would it still think I'm pocketing/stealing something?”

The AI system could detect when a shopper has placed an item in their pocket (Reddit)
The AI system could detect when a shopper has placed an item in their pocket (Reddit)

A third considered tricking the AI system, saying: “I’ll just put items up to my pocket and stuff it back into the shelf, that'll show them!”

While a fourth joked: “Man this is f***** up I love shoplifting you know how mad I’d be if I didn’t get to shoplift.”

While it appears that the footage is just a simulation, a French technology company has been working to create something similar.

Their system will be able to spot suspicious behavior including shoppers putting products in their pockets, concealing items inside baby strollers, opening packaging inside the store and placing goods inside a backpack.

Time will tell if this is going to change the way CCTV is operated inside shops but AI could be part of the future of surveillance.

Featured Image Credit: aire images/Getty/Reddit

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