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Augmented Reality Security – the Pros (Part I)

by Beth Divine 11 Aug 2018

With the advent of innovations like artificial intelligence, facial recognition and augmented reality, it is quite possible that global security is entirely transformed within the next few years. It may seem like the stuff of movies and sci-fi tales, but it is quite possible already to carry chips and cards that ascertain identity, retinal scans and fingerprint readers are almost commonplace, and a merging of these techniques into wearable or implantable tech is almost certainly just around the corner.

While implanted technology – such as that seen in the movie Anon – might put some people off, there is no reason why augmented reality might not be minimised enough to put it into contact lenses. This way people can constantly check and update whatever it is that they want to, without needing to carry devices, perhaps even sending and receiving emails with a blink or simply by thinking of what to type. (This technology could also revolutionise writing, and may even help people with sight impairments to see again.)#

As always when science is on the edge of major advances, caution is urged. Just because we can do something: should we? Here are some of the advantages of using augmented reality to make the world a safer place:

In past times, society was proscribed and contained: everyone knew everyone else, and no one was admitted without an introduction. Usually one knew, not only the person, but their entire family, sometimes going back generations. This meant that there was very little scope for criminals and con artists – or even just those upwardly mobile souls hoping to crawl up a rung on the class ladder – to get a foothold in their target audience. But then came WWI in which populations were stirred up and swirled around, disrupting class boundaries and forcing migrations of hundreds of people all over the country – and the continent.

The Second World War exacerbated this vigorous redistribution of people and it gave rise to what would eventually be called identity theft. People could claim to be whoever they wanted to be, and there was little recourse by which regular people could verify this information. Often, even the police and other authorities would be unaware of any criminal activity until the crime was completed and the miscreant found out and/ or vanished into the ether to start their confidence trick all over again.

Since then, crime has proliferated, and with the advent of the Internet, identity theft in particular has increased dramatically. Some countries fingerprint babies at birth, and this print is used when the person is of age, to issue an identity document. Augmented reality could take this a step further, using facial recognition technology to keep tabs on populations, looking out for sudden influxes of strangers who could be bent on felonious activities.

If chips or contact lenses are used to identify people, it is also possible that these same devices can be used as recording devices. As we all know, each incarnation of a memory chip is physically smaller while holding exponentially more data than its predecessors – by the time these systems are in place, it will possibly be quite commonplace to fit an entire year’s worth of real time recording onto a chip the size of a matchhead, if not a pinhead, meaning that should an alibi or eye-witness account be needed, the footage can be viewed, both by the authorities and by the owner, to provide an unbiased, necessarily accurate record of what happened.

This, should it come to bear, could dramatically change the future of security, policing and detection, making people more inclined to self-police and – hopefully – making society a kinder, safer place for us all.