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Starting Up the Experiment

So, San Jose has decided to do something pretty different. They’re using artificial intelligence, or AI for short, to figure out where homeless camps are in the city. They’ve got this setup where cameras on city vehicles take pictures around town. These pics get analyzed by AI to look for signs of people living in places they shouldn’t have to.

City San Jose CA

First of Its Kind

It looks like San Jose is the first city in the US to try this out. They’re using this tech to find tents and cars that people are living in. It’s a new way of handling homelessness by mixing social care with high-tech solutions.

How the Tech Works

The project uses cameras to take video of the streets, and then AI checks these videos to spot homeless camps very accurately. Companies like Ash Sensors and Sensen.AI are behind the tech, making algorithms that can tell if a vehicle is someone’s home or just parked for a long time. They’re still working out the kinks, especially when it comes to cars, where they’re right about 70-75% of the time with RVs, but not so much with cars.

The Ups and Downs

Even though the tech sounds cool, it’s not perfect. Identifying cars people live in is hard, and they’re still trying to get better at it. The plan is to use this tech for more stuff later, like catching parking rule breakers or finding lost pets.

The Big Questions and How People Feel

Using AI this way makes some people nervous about privacy and being watched all the time. The city says they’re doing this to help, not to get people in trouble. They make sure the tech blurs out personal stuff so people’s privacy is protected.

What People on the Street Think

Groups helping the homeless and people who’ve been homeless are a bit worried. They’re scared this tech might be used more to hassle homeless people than to help them. It’s a fine line between using new tech for good and accidentally stepping on people’s rights and dignity.

What’s Next

San Jose’s experiment with AI and homelessness could be a big deal for other cities too, if it works out and they keep things ethical. It shows how tech can be used to tackle complicated social issues, but it’s got to be done carefully and thoughtfully, especially for those directly affected.

Young woman wearing headset in security center office

FAQ About San Jose’s AI Surveillance on Homelessness

1. What exactly is San Jose doing with AI to address homelessness?
San Jose has launched a project that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify homeless encampments. Cameras mounted on city vehicles capture images of public spaces, and AI analyzes these images to detect signs of homelessness, like tents and lived-in vehicles.

2. Is this the first time a city in the US has used AI this way?
Yes, it appears San Jose is the first city in the United States to use AI technology specifically to identify signs of homelessness. This innovative approach combines technology and social care efforts in a new way.

3. How accurate is the AI in identifying homeless encampments?
The AI technology, particularly for identifying lived-in RVs, has an accuracy rate of 70-75%. However, it struggles more with accurately identifying lived-in cars, indicating there’s room for improvement in the technology.

Sources The Guardian

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