(TMU) — As officials in the U.S. begin to make plans for a return to public life, technology is being implemented in strange and startling new ways.
In New Jersey, Connecticut, and other major hotspots in the U.S., local officials have announced that they will be rolling out temperature-sensing drones that will send out audio messages reminding people to be cautious and follow social distancing guidelines.
These drones are made by a company called Draganfly. The company has recently distributed similar technology to authorities in Australia for their pandemic response.
Cameron Chell, CEO of Draganfly, promises that all of the data is anonymized.
“You’ll be seeing this very soon. Where it’s most critically needed is where we’re going. As it stands today, it’s not designed to identify people with the system. It’s designed to basically provide health monitoring data and be able to give us better data but make more clear decisions,” Chell told ABC7.
Drones that can detect fevers and coughing will soon take to the sky | @Digital Trends | #drones #healthcare #business #digital #data #automation #ai #bigdata #futureteknow #statistics #innovation #innovationhub #socialinnovation #technologynews #technology – https://www.futureteknow.com/draganfly-selected-to-integrate-breakthrough-health-diagnosis-technology-to-detect-monitor-covid19/
Posted by futureTEKnow on Monday, March 30, 2020
Chell said that these devices can actually tell if a person has a fever and can detect other signs of sickness as well.
“What these cameras can do is actually detect fever, which is very different than detecting just temperature. They can detect sneezing. They can detect your heart rate, your respiratory rate, and they can also detect social distancing. So imagine, if you will, a situation where there’s a crowd, and you want to determine what’s the infection rate of the crowd and if they are practicing social distancing,” Chell explained.
Privacy activists are concerned that this could open the door for a surveillance state that doesn’t go away. Daniel Schwarz of the New York Civil Liberties Union said that technology has a place in a crisis like this, but he worries that “constant aerial surveillance” could “fundamentally change” the country.
“There can be a place for advanced technology to support health efforts during a crisis like this one, but it should always serve a clear public health purpose. Indefinite and unwarranted mass crowd policing does not fit that purpose. Surveillance tools used during the pandemic should be scientifically justified, communicated transparently to the public, limited in their scope and duration, and should always require informed consent,” Schwarz said.
“Constant aerial surveillance combined with biased analytics would fundamentally change what it feels like to venture out in public in this country, violate our constitutional rights to freedom of association and privacy, and open the door to expanded broken windows policing of communities uniquely vulnerable to CoViD-19,” he added.
As a part of the pandemic response in China, police were given artificial intelligence (AI) helmets designed for temperature screening.
These aren't ordinary helmets that Chinese police are wearing. They can read body temperatures from up to 5m away.Our latest coverage on the epidemic: sc.mp/coronavirusoutbreak
Posted by South China Morning Post on Wednesday, March 11, 2020
It is unclear how effective these types of devices will actually be considering the incredibly high rate of transmission through asymptomatic carriers. Studies that have explored this topic have resulted in a wide range of results, but most researchers agree that a significant amount of coronavirus carriers will be asymptomatic or will only experience mild symptoms, which means that it could be very difficult for a drone—or even a human—to determine that they have been infected.
According to Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 percent of people infected with the virus will be asymptomatic but still able to pass the illness along to others.
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