How AI Can Help Prevent School Shootings
When children die in mass shootings at their schools, which are supposed to be safe havens of learning, the need to find solutions to these atrocities is urgent.
Schools, universities, parents, and students everywhere are trying to understand why this kind of thing happens and how it could be prevented from happening in the first place.
And they are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence-backed solutions to help find answers and solutions.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is an obvious way to bring scientific analysis to the puzzle of students turning on their friends and teachers in the most destructive way.
Various approaches have emerged.
Shreya Nallapati, a high school student in Colorado used her knowledge of AI to start #NeverAgainTech after 17 student deaths in Parkland, Florida in February 2018.
She and others are collaborating to create an AI application that can analyze the wide range of data associated with school shootings, including demographic and other information about past shooters, and information about the availability of guns, particularly in the states that have seen mass shootings at schools.
The goal is to use technologies like predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to study mass shootings to better understand what leads to it and how to prevent similar events hopefully. The software they develop will be made available to schools and law enforcement agencies.
Scientists from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center are looking at automated risk assessment to prevent school violence. This approach looks at early warning signs of impending violence.
The team recently published research that found that machine learning algorithms were as good as a team of child and adolescent psychiatrists at assessing the risk of violent behavior.
The idea is that AI can assist professionals in their assessments based on interviews with students.
The startup, Shielded Students, aims to leverage the latest in high-tech security systems to ensure safety at schools. One tech that the startup is looking at is a microwave radar scanner integrated with software that is trained to spot things like hidden weapons.
Then there is Silicon Valley startup, Deep North. In September 2018 Deep North announced an introductory program to help schools with their safety and security measures that could prevent school shootings.
Deep North has developed advanced object and facial recognition technology that can detect life-threatening risks and so help prevent school shootings.
The Deep North platform provides uses video images from security cameras to arrive at real-time, intelligent insights. A powerful, self-learning sensor monitors, detects and interprets human behavior and movements across various physical settings. It can also identify objects that may present a potential threat.
The Seattle-based startup, Virtual eForce, has come up with a plan to spot and track future school shooters and attackers. The company aims to save lives during mass shootings through AI-based gun detection, shooter tracking and mass notification.
The Virtual eForce AI can detect guns in video surveillance images and alert security staff who decide how to react, whether to lock down the school and notify the police or not.
The Virtual eForce system can also keep track of an intruder’s movements and send out notifications to the school and the police.
These and other solutions in development give one hope that mass shooting will soon be a thing of the past or at least very difficult to actuate.