New Delhi: To ensure employees maintain social distancing at the workplace, Indian companies have started using CCTV cameras equipped with artificial intelligence (AI).
It is feared that any lack of oversight may lead to COVID-19 outbreak on the premises.
While some AI are in the nature of snoops, sending reports of violations right to the authorities, others seek to sound off employees, in real time, when someone gets too close for comfort.
From Indian tech wizards to global e-commerce giant Amazon are among many who have come up with AI solutions that work in different ways, reported The Print.
Earlier, in June, according to the report, Amazon introduced the ‘Distance Assistant’, a technology that alerts people when someone comes closer than they should under social distancing guidelines. The technology is implemented through screens that reflect live footage of a given area.
Once you walk in, your image on the screen is reflected with a green circle around you that outlines, through depth sensors, the distance (six feet) to be maintained with other people. Anytime someone comes too close, both the circles — yours and theirs — turn red, and you can immediately step back.
However, legal and privacy experts are not so sure, saying the experiment is rife for misuse.
“The employees were OK with the adoption of this solution… It was not looked upon as intruding into their privacy or surveillance since this was for a good cause,” Jayant Kapoor, associate vice-president for information technology at Havells, was quoted as saying by The Print.
The technology employed by Havells is ‘Trust AI’, which was developed by Gurugram-based Bharat Light and Power Group (BLP).
Trust AI monitors the distance between two employees, and sends an alert to a dashboard (also as an email) if social distancing norms are not being maintained. The alerts are in the form of images captured by the camera. The dashboard can be accessed by a supervisor or a manager.
Prasanth Sugathan, legal director at the Delhi-based digital rights organisation SFLC.in, apprehends about the legal aspects of the ethical and data protection concerns and noted that the Indian law is yet to be equipped with provisions governing AI.
“Data about our bodies and emotional state can also be exploited by healthcare and insurance companies to predict our health status and future diseases,” Sugathan said reportedly.
“Legally, it is a grey area as India doesn’t have any law that explicitly regulates the use of AI,” he added.