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Singapore’s Enhanced AI Enforces Smoking Ban

In Singapore, the enforcement of the smoking ban has advanced significantly with the introduction of an advanced artificial intelligence system named Balefire. This system, now in its third version, has been tailor-made to monitor and identify individuals smoking in areas where it is prohibited.

When Balefire detects a smoker, it immediately notifies the local legal authorities, thereby enabling a swift response to the infraction. This cutting-edge approach highlights Singapore’s dedication to utilizing state-of-the-art technology to enforce public health regulations and ensure the cleanliness and health standards of its communal spaces.

Singapore detects smokers with artificial intelligence

Developed by Pye Sone Kyaw, Balefire is an artificial intelligence system deployed to detect individuals smoking in areas where smoking is prohibited. These areas include a broad range of locations such as indoor spaces, parks, educational institutions, swimming pools, and even pedestrian bridges.

Violating the smoking ban may result in a fine of up to $148, which can escalate fivefold if the matter proceeds to court. A significant challenge for Balefire is the accurate identification of small objects, like cigarettes, from a distance. To improve its effectiveness, Balefire focuses on the head characteristics of individuals during the observation period and continually refines its algorithms to reduce false positives. The developers also manually input various scenarios into the system, including instances of individuals wearing helmets or eating, to enhance accuracy.

The introduction of such technology involves not only technical but also complex ethical, legal, and societal considerations. The degree of surveillance and its impact on individual privacy may ignite debate, particularly in Europe, where there’s a principle that the depth of investigative measures must be proportional to the seriousness of the offense.

Employing artificial intelligence to penalize smokers introduces potential privacy and surveillance concerns, prompting a wider conversation on the balance between public health and individual freedoms. What are your views on this matter? Your opinions are welcome in the comments section below.

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