New AI offers ‘personal protection’ against abductions, criminal threats

Harris Marley
Harris Marley

Global Courant

An artificial intelligence-powered phone app can act like a shield to alert loved ones and first responders about emergencies like a fire or potential crimes.

A woman in distress while jogging, for example, would have new protections in place under the Protect app after a March study published by Adidas said 92% of women are concerned for their safety and 51% are afraid of being physically attacked.

Saying a code word in Siri for iPhones or by tapping the app automatically connects a live feed to emergency contacts, who get a video and location in real time. 

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If the attack already happened and the victim is incapacitated, the emergency contact can call 911 on their behalf, which goes to the nearest police department and includes the video feed.

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The Protect app, which launched for iPhone users this weekend, uses artificial intelligence to analyze live video sent to loved ones in dangerous times. (Protect)

Matt Frischer, chief marketing officer and co-founder of Protect, told Fox News Digital that the AI analyzes the video and identifies “key elements” within that video stream as it’s coming in. 

That could mean detecting a fire and identifying how many people are in the frame and find anyone hiding under a bed, or it could provide the exact location if a jogger is attacked or what the criminal looks like, he said.

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“It serves all these different situations that are out there for our children, for our husbands, for our wives,” Frischer said. “With technology coming so far along, we’ve been able to apply AI and analyze the video and be able to share within information directly to dispatch.”

“Photos, snapshots of relevant situational information in real time; it could be how many people are there in a fire, what you look like, precise location data.”

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The app’s AI can pinpoint how many people are in the frame and where they might be hiding, for example, if someone is hiding under a bed during a fire. (Protect)

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“In the wake of subway violence, mass shootings, bullying, rising mortality rates and health issues, and a range of public safety issues, it appears AI might be able to make a dent in some of these concerning trends,” Protect said in an emailed press release. “In the Age of AI, public safety is in for a reboot.”

Going back to the jogger example, there are other benefits from the emerging tech.

“Imagine you’re in a scary situation, but it doesn’t warrant dialing 911, like there’s a sketchy person following you but it might be nothing,” Protect says. “Tap the Protect app and a livestream will broadcast to those in your inner circle, and if something happens any one of them can in turn loop in 911.”

If for some reason a user can’t call for help, an emergency contact can do it for them, and the call will be routed to the closest police department, according to Protect. (Protect)

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And if the victim can’t call 911, a loved one can, Frischer said.

The goal, he said, is to continue to build on this and eventually incorporate facial recognition, among other features, and he hopes it will eventually be a crime deterrent.

Chris Eberhart is a crime and US news reporter for Fox News Digital. Email tips to [email protected] or on Twitter @ChrisEberhart48.

New AI offers ‘personal protection’ against abductions, criminal threats

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