Seoul authorities will launch a surveillance camera system equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) to prevent suicides on the city’s bridges, reported this Wednesday Reuters.
The system learns patterns of behavior by analyzing data from cameras and sensors, and can predict a dangerous situation and immediately alert rescue teams. “We believe that the new video surveillance system will allow our teams to detect cases a bit faster and help us to answer a call more quickly,” said Kim Hyeong-gil, head of a relief squad.
With a population of 52 million people, South Korea had the highest suicide rate in the OECD in 2019, the year in which around 13,700 people took their own lives. In addition, according to information from local authorities, each year almost 500 suicide attempts are counted on 27 bridges of the Han River.
In 2020 the number of bailouts increased by around 30% compared to the previous year as the coronavirus pandemic brought further economic difficulties and contributed to the rise in unemployment.
However, several experts questioned the initiative. Ann Cavokian, Former Privacy Commissioner for the Canadian City of Ontario Held that the use of the AI system is an “invasion of privacy”.
From his point of view, “the Government should provide signs and notices to the people who walk on these bridges that these new measures are in force.” “There will be no privacy, and people must be fully aware that when they walk on that bridge, their identities are captured, as well as what they are doing,” he said.
David Fraser, a Canadian privacy attorney, stressed that the project should be scrutinized. “There is good reason to panic and examine it very closely,” he said.