By Laura Shin
Posting in Science
Developing technologies will make drones more adept at recognizing the faces of specific individuals and understanding their intent -- even from afar.
Military research has been the source of a number of modern technologies, most notably the Internet.
But now, the Army just issued contracts to develop two technologies that don't seem as fun as, say, poking someone on Facebook.
The contracts, which Wired reports are for work on surveillance projects, could make drones more adept at targeting specific individuals.
One is to develop drones with strong facial recognition that prevents the drone from losing a face in a crowd. Others are for machines that can integrate intelligence data with information from an informant to determine your intent.
Part of a broader effort called TTL (for "Tagging, Tracking and Locating"), these new projects will support the Pentagon as it attempts to monitor enemies and insurgents in places like Afghanistan, where the strategy has switched from rebuilding societies to targeting specific individual bad actors.
Current technologies include using tiny transmitters that can use cellular, satellite or radio frequencies to report their whereabouts and lingering scents that mark targets with a vapor that can be tracked for hours. But they are inadequate because targets may discover their transmitters and remove them, and scents eventually dissipate.
A drone that recognizes you
Progeny Systems Corporation, which won one of the contracts, is developing a drone that can use photos to create a three-dimensional model of the target's face. As Wired says,
It’s not an easy trick to pull off — even with the proper lighting, and even with a willing subject. Building a model of someone on the run is harder. Constructing a model using the bobbing, weaving, flying, relatively low-resolution cameras on small unmanned aerial vehicles is tougher still.
The new technology, called the “Long Range, Non-cooperative, Biometric Tagging, Tracking and Location” system, could be revolutionary because it can overcome what is a current problem in tagging, tracking and locating work: targets are usually only visible occasionally in crowds or in sheltered positions.
Progeny's new project can take a poor-quality (50 pixel) photo of someone with any expression, in any pose and under any lighting and build a 3-D model of his/her face. After the face is initially entered into Progeny's system, it takes only another 15- or 20-pixel image to recognize him.
The technology is robust enough that it can tell identical twins apart, as evidenced by tests that researchers from Notre Dame and Michigan State Universities ran using images of faces at a “Twins Days” festival.
Though the software works better the closer the drone is, the facial information can be added to "soft biometric" information such as skin color, height, build, age and gender to track a person of interest from a distance too far to use facial recognition.
Drones that read your mind
Another technology, being developed by Charles River Analytics, analyzes human behavior to determine if someone has malicious intent. The technology, called Adversary Behavior Acquisition, Collection, Understanding, and Summarization (ABACUS), compiles behavioral data to determine if a subject has built up anger against the U.S. and might pose a threat.
Similarly, Modus Operandi, Inc. is developing a system that will use “probabilistic algorithms th[at] determine the likelihood of adversarial intent.” Its name is “Clear Heart,” which surely trades on the idea of transparency and does not imply what is to be found in these targets' hearts.
Sep 28, 2011
Think of the rank-and-file folks working in spy agencies, as they ask: "Am I being watched in my home; may I use a phone without fear of monitoring; and do my managers - and the boss - have the same paranoic fears?" You see, when spying becomes ubiquitous it inevitably becomes self-destructive. Recall that Stalin's deadly purge of his officers - even some of his closest aids - was product of his fear of being watched, assessed and, then, possibly judged for removal. The ultimate clinical definition of that mental illness is: "A sociopathic fear that everyone is an enemy." Hmmm . . . looks like they're installing an EVERYONE-IS-ENEMY spying system--to include everyone that's doing the spying on their fellow spies? Looks like we need a treat-the-nation psychotherapist.
Most traffic surveillance cameras down here are already able to read the car's plate, calculate speed (to ticket), consult a database (and ticket if car docs are not ok), see on the dark, etc, etc. This is already a reality in most ways. Evolve that constantly is just business as usual. If you do not accept that maybe an alternative is to move to a far away city where high tech is not there yet. Most people are already missing the analogic days.
Our President is not who is obstructing anything useful being done and trying to destroy Medicare and Social Security. The progressives are not the group sending out all those awful lies to religious groups and the NRA.
Understand, I am NOT against this being used against real bad guys, but the Republican extremists are even now working on economically devastating the middle and poorer classes; planning for riots, etc. And, they admit it in the emails they pass around, telling their constituents who can to find a hidey hole because "the US is going to get dangerous for the rich when food becomes unavailable". So that means the desperate poor are going to get angry with those who put them in that position - then THEY (the desperate) will become the criminals these robots will be looking for. If they succeed in their plan, it's going to be "so long US", hello third world, including the mass graves.
Here we are giving our future adversary a way to work against us. We are our worst enemy! This looks like how the end begins...........
Sounds like a new play toy for the police state of the U.S. Don't think it won't happen, it's already in the plans....
After the volume of scams that have been foisted on the public in the name of national security I would be suspect of any of this technology. There could come a time when what you think could make you the criminal they're looking for. i trust them not!!
I hope our leaders in Washington are not considering using these devices in the U.S. I would consider their use unconstitutional and a violation of a person's right to privacy. Using them to monitor enemy combatants is different, we need to track them and it is done on aliens in a foreign land. However using this on a potentially honest citizen on our own shores would be risky, to say the least. Jihadists could easily beat this by covering their faces or changing their dress and shape. I am not particularly impressed by a technology that can be easily fooled by wearing a mask.
This is a disturbing bit of technology. The benefit is being able to find "bad guys", track and locate them. The downside is that this technology can be used to hunt and kill a suspect with extreme prejudice; meaning that drone will attempt to kill the target without an external verification. It would be nice to think that the technology will be accurate enough to be 100% accurate in identifying the target and not have a single identification mistake. If this technology is used in a way to help police catch criminals in the act (theft, assault, murder or kidnapping) and track and locate for arrest and prosecution; then it may be beneficial to a peaceful population. There are always unexpected consequences, technology can be a doulbe edged sword. A problem is that this system can be used by bad guys to control their populations. A dictator can use this system to eliminate any opposition as well as to spy on their people for any reason.
The drone "takes you out" if it decides you are PLANNING to kill someone. Hopefully they won't target people in traffic jams, or parents of teenagers! =8-o
Building a financial house of cards since the 1960s with Social Security, government pensions and Medicare at the heart of it. Progressives loosened lending rules to give profits to their fat cat Wall Street supporters while claiming to be helping low income people get into homes. All they were doing was setting up millions of people for financial ruin. 50 years of promises and unfunded mandates is about to explode all over the baby boomers because of promises made by progressives. And they have only themselves to blame as they dominated who won state and national elections for the the last 50 years. They bought the progressives lies and the nation is paying for it.
You better look left before you get run over by our President who feels the constitution is fundamentally flawed and does not give the government enough power to control what is right for the people.
There is a video monitoring system in place in several areas of the US and some use facial recognition technology. It is not exactly violating privacy since these cameras are looking at public places; but it is creepy knowing that we may be monitored for nefarious reasons.