Artificial Intelligence Shaping Our Surveillance


So usually when I hear “Artificial Intelligence” I immediately think about some big, scary, army of robots that are going to take over the world, a lot like Skynet and Arnold Schwarzenegger from The Terminator franchise. Or any other Sci-Fi movie that explores futuristic AI, like the films ‘Chappie’ or ‘Bicentennial Man'. As much as myself and many others may think this is cool, unfortunately it seems that there won’t be an AI program becoming self-aware any time soon. 


So what is Artificial Intelligence if it isn’t a world dominating robot? Well, Ai is basically an intelligent computer system that was built to complete tasks that would usually need the intelligence of a human to do, and often times be made to complete the tasks better than a human can.

Mary-Anne Williams, professor of social robotics at the University of Technology in Sydney explains, “An intelligent computer system could be as simple as a program that plays chess or as complex as a driverless car”.

AI, these days, are involved in most people’s day to day life. In fact, you probably already use AI, like the Google and Apple assistants, or any map/navigation app found on most smart phones. AI systems can detect and perceive verbal and written language, helping us through search results, to sort our emails or even recommend what you should buy or watch next. 

These intelligent computer systems have already been implemented in a lot of our cities and online technologies to help in public safety, surveillance and security. It is predicted that by 2030, the typical modern city will be relying heavily on AI systems in these fields. Today we already see AI benefiting things like cybersecurity, detecting crimes such as credit card and identity fraud and even CCTV, where an AI algorithm will monitor surveillance systems, searching for anomalies in shapes and movements, then alarming us of crimes and disturbances that may be happening. Applications such as this have already started turning CCTV into more of a crime prevention tool rather than just a tool we use to help solve them. 


Unfortunately, there are downsides to the uses of AI within surveillance and security. It is possible for these systems to be used by companies and governments for greater mass surveillance, creating further privacy issues not only online but in the real world. Even malicious groups can easily use AI to surveil the mass to collect data for their malicious purposes.

Either way, I do welcome Artificial Intelligence into our surveillance and security systems and even within other fields, as I believe AI can certainly be used to help create a much more efficient and safer world. But we’ll have to be cautious, as even Elon Musk and Stephan Hawking believe AI will surpass humanity, comparing it to ‘summoning the demon’.



-       ETZIONI, A, & ETZIONI, O 2017, 'Should Artificial Intelligence Be Regulated?', Issues In Science & Technology, 33, 4, pp. 32-36, Applied Science & Technology Source, viewed 5, 6, 8 August 2017, (Scholarly)

-       STONE, P, & BROOKS, R, & BRYNJOLFSSON, E, & CALO, R, & PARKES, D 2016, ‘ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND LIFE IN 2030’, One hundred year study on artificial intelligence, pp. 36-40, Stanford, viewed 5, 6, 8 August 2017, (Scholarly)

-       DR. MAHESH SAPTHARISHI, AVIGILON, 2014, ‘The New Eyes of Surveillance: Artificial Intelligence and Humanizing Technology’, Wired, retrieved: 6 August 2017,

-       O’NEILL, M 2017, ‘Explainer: What is artificial intelligence?’, ABC News, retrieved: 8 August 2017,