Being a Georgia resident has recently put me through some disappointing political events. Watching Governor Brian Kemp refuse to take the necessary actions to investigate election fraud in the midst of two of the most expensive Senate runoffs in our nation's history was frustrating. Georgians voted for him, believing he was the down to earth conservative guy he presented himself to be in his campaign ads. He has nearly lost his entire base; if he is not primaried by someone the people of Georgia can trust to do the job correctly, the door will be left wide open for Stacey Abrams to swoop back into the game and send this beloved state down a path of terror.
The stomach-curdling reality of Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff winning our two Senate runoffs (if you believe they did so legitimately) is enough of a nightmare all on its own. I dread to consider the damage that the two of them will carry out together, so adding Abrams to the mix is too much to bear.
Now that I have vented my sorrows over my dear state's political tragedies, I'll get to the real topic of this article. Another headache-inducing headline I have witnessed regarding Georgia involves our favorite guest of 2020, the coronavirus.
Just on the other side of Atlanta's perimeter (Interstate 285 for those of you who are not familiar with what perimeter I am referring to) is a town of just over 40,000 people called Peachtree Corners. Peachtree Corners is making headlines because they have decided to employ AI camera technology from a company called Cawamo to "increase public safety and [prevent] the spread of Covid-19."
These cameras can detect whether or not people are not standing six feet apart and wearing masks.
So, what happens if these cameras see people violating Covid guidelines? While Peachtree Corners claims that this technology works without using facial recognition-ensuring people's privacy, the cameras still alert city personnel if they do not follow the guidelines.
I find this unsettling, like something out of some cyberpunk dystopian thriller. I can understand a city's desire to keep its residents safe with the help of modern technology. But choosing to focus such resources specifically on policing people's choice to wear a mask in public or stand less than six feet from another person (what are they supposed to do, attach measuring tapes to themselves?) feels tyrannical to me. Facial recognition not being used in this technology offers only a small relief in this eerie guideline enforcement practice.
With the amount of unwarranted spying government officials have already been doing on private citizens, I am hesitant to believe that technology like this does not, or at least will not make use of facial recognition and potentially use it to track down and punish individuals who break Covid guidelines in public places. I do not doubt that politicians like Andrew Cuomo would happily subject his city's people to such measures. AI cameras in places like China, Russia, India, and Serbia use facial recognition to stop the spread of Covid and crime.
Even if this were being used to stop or solve serious crimes (which there is no shortage of just over the perimeter in the city of Atlanta), I would still feel uncomfortable with this sort of AI technology looming over my head.
When it comes to Peachtree Corners, although I am appreciative that they have not gone so far as to use facial recognition (if we can take their word for it), this technology is not even used to stop real crimes. Thankfully, Peachtree Corners' city has an A+ crime rating, but if technology like this is going to be employed there or anywhere else, it seems to me that crime should be prioritized over how close people are standing to each other.
A future where AI camera technology becomes more widespread is not one that I am comfortable with, especially in growing censorship and political persecution. We are not the Soviet Union, and we're not China. We should not accept living in reality like this.
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About the Author:
Erin Fitzgerald Adair is a political commentator known as @Always.Right on Instagram. She attended college for Political Science and History, formerly hosted a weekly podcast, and recently worked on a congressional campaign. Erin is a “Cav Kid” from Georgia who now splits her time between there and Florida. She is passionate about advocating for gun rights, free speech, and our constitutional liberties while speaking out against abortion, censorship, and cultural marxism.