Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Precrime CCTV Cameras Now In Britain

'Precrime' CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras and their associated software are now able to "predict" if a crime is about to be committed. The system is the product of Smart CCTV.

Rather than merely analyzing individual frames, the software can alert operators to suspicious behavior, like unusually slow walking or loitering.

In this first frame from one of Britain's 'precrime' CCTV cameras, two men appear to approach one another on an otherwise deserted street. Could a meeting of criminal masterminds be in the offing?


(Precrime CCTV frame 1: A meeting?)

In the second frame below, the two men are exchanging words and possibly more. Is this some sort of transaction? The system alerts the operator.


(Precrime CCTV frame 2: A transaction?)

British officials are beside themselves with joy at this new toy:

Councillor Jason Fazackarley of Portsmouth Council said: 'It's the 21st century equivalent of a nightwatchman, but unlike a night-watchman it never blinks, it never takes a break and it never gets bored.'

British citizens, who are currently being watched by 4.2 million CCTV cameras, are understandably a bit concerned. One Daily Mail reader comments on the story:

The presence of fully trained Police is the proven best deterrent. Britain is the most 'spied on' nation in the EU - some say the world - the results being the highest crime and drug rates recorded. Proposals are, therefore, a total waste of taxpayers money and a gross infringment on privacy and freedom for all law abiding citizens. Spend the money on recruiting fully trained (not cheap, profit making versions) of police officers ...... criminals can immobolize CCTV cameras but not police presence.

Nick Hewitson, managing director of Smart CCTV, which has created the technology, denied it was a further infringement on privacy.

SF readers of course remember the somewhat more labor-intensive precrime analytical wing from the 1956 story Minority Report, by Philip K. Dick. In the story, precognitives (precogs) who could see into the future were used to predict crimes of passion before they happened.

Doors opened and closed, and they were in the analytical wing. Ahead of them rose impressive banks of equipment - the data-receptors, and the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material. And beyond the machinery sat the three precogs, almost lost to view in the maze of wiring...

In the gloomy half-darkness the three idiots sat babbling. Every incoherent utterance, every random syllable, was analyzed, compared and reassembled in the form of visual symbols, transcribed on conventional punchcards, and ejected into various coded slots. All day long the idiots babbled, imprisoned in their special high-backed chairs, held in one rigid position by metal bands, and bundles of wiring, clamps... (Read more about the precrime analytical wing)

In Steven Spielberg's 2002 movie Minority Report made from Dick's story, Precrime police officer Tom Cruise uses a cool glove gesture interface to find the visual images needed to make a case. Take a look at this gesture interface excerpt from Minority Report to see how the computer system can be used to find crimes before they happen.

Peruse this retrospective of real-life 'precrime' systems:

From Daily Mail; thanks to Moira for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/28/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 9 )

Related News Stories - (" Surveillance ")

Florida Man Felt Harassed By Drone, Shoots It Down
'...a kid bounced a missile off a golden ball.' - Larry Niven, 1972.

Guard Dog Robot Security Check
'We still use people at the main gates, but here it's an automated sentry.' - Greg Bear, 2003

Portsmouth, OH Residents Don't All Favor Drone Surveillance
'...a kid bounced a missile off a golden ball.' - Larry Niven, 1972.

Airport Security Now Using Predator-Style Heat Vision Helmets
'Want some candy?'

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Monarch Tractor - It's Electric, Autonomous and Smart
'Driver-optional' and follows gestures.

'Seabreeze' Apple And UCLA Project To Beat Depression
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test,' the machine said peevishly.'

Hovermap By Emesent Autonomous Mapping Works Indoors - and Out
Perfect for exploring ancient artifacts on distant planets.

Sono Motor's Sion Sun-Powered Car
'...six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

LEONARDO Robot Has Legs And Thrusters, Can Skateboard, Slackline
'a walking balloon proceeded with long strides of its aluminum legs over a slant of steep upland.'

Xavier Robots On Patrol For 'Anti-Social Behavior'
'This was as close as a robot could get to a cop in uniform.'

Rotating House in Bosnia
'... feel free to turn the house on your own.'

Ingenious Engineer Creates DIY Feeding Robot
'Waldo flexed and extended his fingers gently; the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.'

SpaceX Creates 'Tholian Web' Mega Constellation Of Satellites
'We shall not see home again!'

Do Smart Glasses Need Forward-Facing Cameras?
'They were stylish, with yellow-tinted lenses and hip frames, but the posts were unusually thick.'

Adorable One-Seater Electric Car From Wuxi Sinotech
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed...'

Zoom Adds Real-Time, Live Translation
'He immediately turned the small shining disc of the Language Rectifier..'

It's Spacewalk Sunday, Thanks To The ESA
'The delicious, indescribable pleasure of being a little planet swinging through space...'

Pengxing Intelligent Robot Horse You Can Ride
'The horse reared up, pawing the air, then sprang into a gallop.'

Tesla Bot Humanoid 'Robot' Vs. Boston Dynamics Atlas Parkour Robot
'...most jobs that require a human form are better done by those organic alternatives.'

Altos Labs' Bezos Wants An Anti-Agathic (To Live Forever)
'So what we're looking for now is... an anti-agathic, an anti-death drug.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.