Let’s say that the U.S. military has figured a way to place cameras onboard long flight drones that can watch every person, ever vehicle, everything that moves over a 4 km x 4km area. What would you think of the same military geniuses running all this data through the best A.I. systems that is capable of not only sorting through all the gathered information and identify suspicious patterns of behavior but monitors the subjects for as long as the watchers assign the system? We’d be talking about a capability close to what was visualized in the 1998 movie “Enemy of the State.”
What if the next stage of this WAMI (Wide Area Motion Imagery — pronounced “Whammy”) system expands the range to 10km x10km by utilizing hundreds of cell phone cameras. The system is capable of not only constant monitoring but can review previous data captured from earlier flights and can track backwards from an incident to discover where a vehicle or individual had been hours, days perhaps weeks before something happened. Let’s say they are training the A.I. to assess suspect behavior and tasking it with reporting the probability of law-breaking based on what it has already observed. One might say we’ve moved beyond “Enemy of the State” to a “Minority Report” society.
What if authorities have already flown these missions, not over war torn Iraq or Afghanistan, but over cities like Baltimore, St. Louis or Chicago? Author Arthur Holland Michel, “Eye in the Sky: The secret rise of the Gorgon Stare and how it will watch us all” knows and has been discussing this new intrusion into our privacy and the implications for our society at the Cato Institute. The production really gets going at about the 10 minute mark. Watch