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Faulty audio surveillance systems with “aggression detectors” are being sold to schools

What Orwellian nightmare is this?

noise detector in schools
Image: ProPublica

In the wake of countless shootings, we’ve seen a lot of… let’s call them “subpar” ideas to keep our schools safer.

Giving teachers guns is one of the worst potential solutions. Turning toddlers into “Kinderguardians” is an even worse one (yet still was backed by *two* Congressmen).

And now throwing its hat in the ring for the worst idea yet? Audio surveillance systems.

What is an audio surveillance system?

According to the company hawking these things, the devices’ software utilizes a machine learning algorithm to identify “aggression in a person’s voice.”

When noise exceeds this aggression threshold, the device sends an alert to the school’s surveillance system and/or a school administrator and presto, crisis averted.

How do they work?

The simple answer is, they don’t!

After testing out a Louroe microphone equipped with Sound Intelligence’s “aggression detection software,” ProPublica published a report confirming what anyone with half a brain would already know.

Not only did the device fail to identify most of the actual screams made by the testers, but actually confused things like laughter and cheering as aggressive behavior.

The school’s currently equipped with these devices aren’t fairing any better, according to Gizmodo:

A student reportedly triggered a device at Staples Pathways Academy in Connecticut when she coughed. Pinecrest Academy Horizon in Nevada has two Louroe microphones installed at its campus. They’ve reportedly been triggered by locker door slams.

So, to recap: a company created an invasive, Orwellian loud noise detector, and is now praying upon the legitimate fears of school administrators to sell them like volcano insurance at $1,000 a pop. Maybe Kinderguardians isn’t such a bad idea.

What do you think? Do these noise detectors have potential? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Writer. Editor. Barelyknewer. Hate mail can be directed to j j o n e s @ k a r s f o r k i d s d o t e a r t h l i n k

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