As you’ve seen, I’ve been searching for applications of sousveillance technology (i.e. wearable cams and GPS). My academic mentor Alex Halavais recently chimed in with a Youtube video link to some dramatic footage (shown above) which lets you experience crashing a motorbike at high speed on the highway. Clearly the car’s fault if you watch the slow-motion replay, but notice several things:
1. If you were the biker, how could you have better avoided the swerving car?
2. Look at how fast people came to the biker’s aid. Would this happen in Singapore?
3. Is this close enough to experiencing the crash? (sufficient sensory / contextual data?)
A point of reference for what I’m doing is to mimic, if not supercede, the possibility of recording human experiences as shown in the movie, Strange Days (1995). In it, the SQUID technology (Super conducting QUantum Interface Device) electronically absorbs information from the central cortex, allowing users to record and playback experiences such as the thrill of another’s sensations, be it murder, sex, robbery, etc.
In related news
The Home Office of Plymouth (England) is to provide £3m to equip police forces across the country with head camera technology. In the successful pilot run, the body worn video devices led to an increase in the number of convictions of offenders. Their footage provided clear evidence that made it difficult for offenders to deny their involvement, leading to less paperwork for the police, earlier guilty pleas, less time spent in court and an increase in convictions. Plymouth police using the new technology increased their detection of violent crime by 40% and arrests for violent crime went up by 85% (Hat tip to Preetam Rai / Source: Kable’s Government Computing, 12/07/07).
In ironic news
As my buddy NuMetal pointed out from The Age, Australia’s top cop predicts a robot crimewave in the near future. “Technology such as cloned part-robot humans used by organized crime gangs pose the greatest future challenge to police, along with online scamming”, Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Mick Keelty says. Mr Keelty said the police force would have to use experts from the private sector to fight tech-savvy organised criminals, because it lacked the necessary skills. Frankly speaking I’m not sure which is worse… robot crimewaves, online scamming, or Commissioner Keelty. To be safe, we’d better get some robot insurance.
In personal news
Since I’m heading back to quiet suburban Buffalo, I’ve been joking with friends that all the sousveillance gear would really come in useful. At least if something bad were to happen to me (i.e. accidents or robot attacks), everyone would be able to see how and why. My “personal black box” would speak up for me.
Aside 1: Here’s a twist… In the video, did you realize that the biker was a woman (supposedly Asian American)?
Aside 2: Been getting insightful comments, especially on GPS + Blog mashups. I’ll be featuring some local folks who’ve done interesting things in this area soon.