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How Artificial Intelligence units are improving security in Roanoke schools

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Roanoke City Schools Enhance Security with AI Screening Units
Ensuring the safety of students is a top priority for parents and school administrators alike. To address this concern, Roanoke City implemented a comprehensive set of safety measures costing over $4 million during the previous school year (2022-2023). These measures included initiatives such as a new safety tip line, improved classroom door locks, and increased deployment of school resource officers.
Among the innovative safety measures introduced is the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) screening units for enhanced security protocols. These AI units are employed for random security screenings or whenever deemed necessary by school authorities.
The AI screening units, manufactured by Evolv Technology, have been strategically deployed across Roanoke schools, as well as at football games, basketball games, and graduation ceremonies. Unlike traditional security measures that require individuals to remove coats or screen backpacks separately, these units streamline the process by combining powerful sensor technology with proven AI capabilities. They are designed to detect items that could pose a threat to student safety, such as weapons or prohibited items like toy weapons.
Evolv Technology boasts that its AI screening units can process up to 3,600 people per hour, representing a significant improvement in efficiency compared to conventional metal detectors. This technology has also been successfully implemented at large-scale sporting events in other states.
The deployment of AI screening units in Roanoke City Schools follows a structured approach, with usage based on random selection or as determined by school administration. When an individual passes through the screening unit, any detected threat triggers a red alert, indicating the location of the item. Notably, the system allows individuals to pass through with everyday items like keys, cell phones, and headphones without triggering false alarms.
Despite concerns about privacy and confidentiality, Roanoke City Schools have been transparent about the frequency and outcomes of AI unit usage. Security personnel and resource officers received training in October 2022, with the units being put into operation starting December of the same year. Throughout the current school year, these units have been utilized 34 times, covering various events and activities.
In terms of cost, Roanoke City Schools entered into a four-year agreement totaling $255,522 for the deployment of AI screening units. This includes initial setup, installation, training costs, and subsequent annual lease fees.
While efforts have been made to understand the functionality and effectiveness of these AI units, requests for interviews and demonstrations have been declined by Roanoke City Schools. Despite this, the implementation of AI screening units underscores the commitment of the school district to prioritize student safety and well-being.
Source: wsls.com

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Easyjet, eyeing record summer, boosts nerve center with AI

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Easyjet’s cutting-edge facility, equipped with artificial intelligence (AI), is now operational near Luton airport, managing approximately 2,000 flights daily across Europe as the airline anticipates heightened demand for the summer season.
Known as the Integrated Control Center (ICC), this facility plays a pivotal role in Easyjet’s operations, facilitating swift adjustments to flight schedules and monitoring aircraft health in real-time. Situated near London, the center boasts advanced capabilities, including engine analysis and even monitoring of onboard facilities like toilets.
As the aviation industry rebounds from the impacts of COVID-19, Easyjet has ramped up its recruitment efforts, doubling the workforce at the control center to 266 employees, who work tirelessly around the clock, overseeing operations displayed on large curved screens.
Gill Baudot, Easyjet’s director of network control, emphasized the airline’s anticipation of a busy summer season, projecting a significant increase in passenger numbers to 300,000 daily. The ICC plays a crucial role in adapting swiftly to any disruptions, from adverse weather conditions to technical issues, ensuring smooth logistics and minimizing passenger inconvenience.
To enhance decision-making during critical situations, Easyjet has integrated an AI tool similar to ChatGPT, aiding staff in tasks such as aircraft rerouting and crew assignment. Despite technological advancements, Baudot stressed the importance of human judgment in making final decisions.
Throughout the pandemic, Easyjet, under the leadership of CEO Johan Lundgren, has recognized the potential of data-driven solutions to enhance customer experience and operational efficiency. Lundgren highlighted the role of technology in optimizing various aspects of airline operations, from predicting catering needs to facilitating predictive maintenance decisions.
Mark Garrett, overseeing customer disruption at Easyjet, emphasized the center’s focus on passenger welfare, ensuring prompt communication and prioritization of flights, particularly those with significant numbers of children or group travelers, in the event of disruptions.
As Easyjet navigates through the challenges posed by COVID-19, its investment in technology, automation, and AI reflects a commitment to adaptability and efficiency in serving passengers and maintaining operational excellence in the aviation sector.
Source: techxplore.com

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Building better ethical standards for AI, for democracy

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In our swiftly advancing digital realm, Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents both a formidable challenge to and a significant opportunity for the health of democracy. One emerging threat to democratic systems stems from malicious actors who seek to exploit AI to disrupt societal cohesion.
The unchecked proliferation of AI language models has underscored the urgent need for robust ethical standards. Core principles such as privacy, algorithm transparency, user safety, fairness, and inclusivity have often been overlooked amid the rapid progress of AI technologies. Establishing and rigorously testing clear ethical guidelines is crucial to ensuring that AI operates within ethical boundaries and contributes positively to the common good.
A comprehensive approach is necessary, one that protects free speech while empowering users to identify and address bias and harmful content. Initially, efforts should focus on detecting and analyzing disinformation, biases, discrimination, hate speech, and deepfakes. Sophisticated tools leveraging machine learning and natural language processing techniques can be developed to identify and scrutinize harmful content in real-time. These tools should be tested with diverse user groups to safeguard free speech.
Furthermore, AI’s proactive engagement with misinformation can play a vital role in shaping public discourse. By actively countering falsehoods and promoting accurate information, AI-powered tools have the potential to guide conversations toward truthfulness and mitigate the spread of misinformation. This proactive approach not only limits the dissemination of harmful narratives but also fosters a culture of accountability and accuracy in digital spaces, enhancing public trust in AI’s ability to combat misinformation.
In addition to detection and engagement, the implementation of automated reporting systems is crucial in safeguarding democratic institutions from threats posed by state or terrorist-backed actors. These AI-powered systems can swiftly identify and flag harmful content to hosting platforms, enabling timely intervention and moderation. Streamlining the reporting process allows platforms to respond effectively, preserving the integrity of online discourse.
Transparency tools are also essential in building user trust and facilitating informed decision-making. By offering insights into the origins, legitimacy, and credibility of digital content, these tools empower individuals to navigate the digital landscape with discernment. From tracking sources to verifying links and fact-checking, transparency tools enable users to critically evaluate information and contribute to a safer online environment.
AI presents both opportunities and risks for democracy. It is imperative to ensure that AI aligns with our shared values to strengthen democratic institutions and uphold the highest standards of ethics and transparency. By prioritizing inclusivity, fairness, and accountability, we can harness AI’s potential to bolster resilience, safety, and trust in our democratic systems.
Source: diplomaticourier.com

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AVPN launches $15M AI Opportunity Fund with Google.org, ADB support

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AVPN, the premier network of social investors headquartered in Singapore, has unveiled the $15 million Artificial Intelligence (AI) Opportunity Fund: Asia-Pacific, in collaboration with Google.org and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
In a statement released on Monday, AVPN outlined the fund’s objective as a three-year initiative aimed at equipping Asia’s workforce with essential AI knowledge and tools necessary for the evolving job market. The goal is to ensure that opportunities presented by AI are accessible to a broader spectrum of people in the region, particularly those from marginalized communities.
Through an open call, the fund seeks to identify and select non-profit organizations, social enterprises, and workforce associations across the Asia-Pacific region that effectively engage with workers most affected by AI-driven workforce transitions. Selected organizations will receive comprehensive support, including guidance, financial assistance, and customized AI training based on foundational courses developed by Google and its partners.
Scott Beaumont, President of Google Asia-Pacific, emphasized the transformative potential of AI in the region, stating, “AI presents tremendous opportunities for the Asia-Pacific region, but it’s crucial to equip people with the skills needed to thrive.” He expressed confidence that the AI Opportunity Fund will empower underserved communities and ensure widespread benefits from AI advancements.
The initiative comes at a time when employers in the Asia-Pacific region are increasingly optimistic about AI’s ability to enhance productivity. However, concerns persist among employees about potential job displacement due to AI automation, particularly among disadvantaged populations. Naina Subberwal Batra, CEO of AVPN, underscored the urgency of building an AI-ready workforce to unlock Asia’s full potential and address the socioeconomic impact of AI-driven job transitions.
Jason Rush, Principal Regional Cooperation Specialist at ADB, emphasized the importance of bridging skills and knowledge gaps in underserved communities to facilitate access to AI-driven opportunities. He highlighted the AI Opportunity Fund as a crucial tool to support organizations in upskilling and reskilling workers, enabling them to benefit from the evolving job landscape shaped by AI technology.
AVPN, comprising over 600 funders and resource providers across 33 markets, aims to enhance the flow and effectiveness of capital in Asia by enabling members to channel resources towards impactful initiatives. Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, collaborates with nonprofits, social enterprises, and civic entities to address societal challenges and create scalable, meaningful change. Through their combined efforts, AVPN and Google.org strive to harness the potential of AI to promote inclusive growth and opportunity across the Asia-Pacific region.
Source: technode.global

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