Written by 12:00 pm AI, Cross AI technology

– Implementing A.I. in Utah Institutions to Detect Firearms

After a several-month delay, the Utah State Board of Education in early December greenlit a $3 mill…

Some schools in Utah are set to implement artificial intelligence technology with the aim of detecting guns before they enter classrooms.

The Utah State Board of Education recently greenlit a $3 million contract with AEGIX Global to facilitate the distribution of gun detection software to interested schools in the state. This decision comes after a few months of delay, during which concerns were raised by legislators regarding the reliability of the ZeroEyes system, which is designed to integrate with a school’s existing surveillance infrastructure to identify potential threats.

ZeroEyes, the company behind the technology, has stated that once the AI system flags a possible weapon, relevant images will be swiftly shared with their operations centers located in Philadelphia and Hawaii. These centers, staffed by U.S. military and law enforcement veterans, operate 247 to assess and respond to alerts by providing critical information such as the type of weapon and its last known location to local law enforcement.

Tim Rush, the director of AEGIX, expressed enthusiasm about the upcoming implementation, highlighting the need for coordination with the Utah State Board of Education before divulging specific deployment strategies.

Schools interested in adopting this technology are required to submit applications. The School Safety Center, overseen by USBE school safety specialist Rhett Larsen, is gearing up to receive these applications and coordinate with selected schools for installation and training. Larsen emphasized the importance of establishing a criteria, including the necessary tech infrastructure, for schools to effectively utilize ZeroEyes.

The initial delay in approving the contract was attributed to a broader school safety bill, HB61, which allocated $75 million for various safety initiatives, including the deployment of gun detection software. However, concerns were raised when some school districts sought funds from the allocated budget for the ZeroEyes software, prompting a reevaluation of the funding distribution.

Rep. Ryan Wilcox expressed frustration over what he perceived as AEGIX attempting to leverage the contract for additional funds beyond the agreed-upon amount. He cautioned against entering long-term agreements for such technologies, emphasizing the need to allocate resources efficiently to enhance school safety.

In terms of privacy and accuracy, ZeroEyes assures compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to safeguard student data and images captured by the system. The technology, while effective in identifying potential threats, may occasionally misidentify objects, necessitating human intervention to prevent false alarms.

Despite some challenges and debates surrounding funding and implementation, the overarching goal remains to enhance school safety and prevent gun-related incidents in educational settings, reflecting a broader commitment to ensuring a secure learning environment for students in Utah.

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Last modified: January 2, 2024
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