smart-surveillanceYou look lost. At least, that’s what a new “smart” surveillance system tells me.

All right, so I don’t have this “smart” surveillance system myself. But it is being created. And, once finished, it’ll be able to pick out aimless wanderers from a crowd without human intervention.

The system is under development at Ohio State University. Engineers say it’ll use a complex algorithm, combined with “intelligent” video cameras, to pinpoint disoriented people in public places.

How could it do that, you might ask? Good question…I was feeling a little lost there myself. Basically, the system would learn overall trends of where and how people walk in specific areas. It would then single out anyone varying from those normal paths — say, someone circling around a lot, or someone stopping in an atypical spot.

“Humans can pick out a lost person really well,” one of its creators says. “I believe you could build an algorithm that would also be able to do it.”

Of course, what our engineer doesn’t take into account is that I intend to frequent the places where his system is implemented, then walk around in bizarre patterns for hours on end. I’ll zigzag, I’ll stop and start. Hell, I might even gallop. And I’ll do it all while wearing a giant taco suit.

(Admission: I’m not sure what the giant taco suit really adds. But it seems like a good idea. Plus, maybe someone will be inspired to buy me lunch.)

Now who’s the smart one? The sophisticated computer system that can create algorithms based on people’s movements? Or the guy wearing a taco suit and galloping around random locations like a jackass?

That’s what I thought.

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