JAPAN - Cameras Spot Shoplifters Before They Steal

Arno Froese

Vaak, a Japanese startup, has developed artificial intelligence software that hunts for potential shoplifters, using footage from security cameras for fidgeting, restlessness and other potentially suspicious body language.

Vaak made headlines last year when it helped to nab a shoplifter at a convenience store in Yokohama. Vaak had set up its software in the shop as a test case, which picked up on previously undetected shoplifting activity. The perpetrator was arrested a few days later.

“I thought then, ‘Ah, at last!’” said Vaak founder Ryo Tanaka, 30. “We took an important step closer to a society where crime can be prevented with AI.”

The opportunity is huge. Retailers are projected to invest $200 billion in new technology this year, according to Gartner Inc., as they become more open to embracing technology to meet consumer needs, as well as improve bottom lines.

“If we go into many retailers whether in the U.S. or U.K., there are very often going to be CCTV cameras or some form of cameras within the store operation,” said Thomas O’Connor, a retail analyst at Gartner. “That’s being leveraged by linking it to an analytics tool, which can then do the actual analysis in a more efficient and effective way.”

Because it involves security, retailers have asked AI-software suppliers such as Vaak and London-based Third Eye not to disclose their use of the anti-shoplifting systems. It’s safe to assume, however, that several big-name store chains in Japan have deployed the technology in some form or another. Vaak has met with or been approached by the biggest publicly traded convenience-store and drugstore chains in Japan, according to Tanaka.

-www.bloomberg.com, 4 March 2019

Arno's commentary

There is little to no doubt that this AI-based software will reduce crime. That is more than sufficient reason to invest in systems that can even detect shoplifters’ intentions.

There is much more to come, and all because of so-called artificial intelligence. For example, the old-fashioned burglar finds less and less value to apprehend. Either it’s stored in an impregnable safe, or the surveillance system is so accurate that the perpetrator has little to no chance of escaping.

We are reminded here of an event during a Prophecy Congress in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, when theft of a camera and an iPad occurred. Due to the built-in GPS location tracking capability of the iPad, it was found at another hotel. Unfortunately, the local law enforcement authorities could not check the entire building in that case. But, the risk for the perpetrator becomes quite evident.

What will the future be? We believe: less crime, greater prosperity, more security, and above all, more luxuries. At the pinnacle, however, comes judgment, just as it was during the days of Noah and the days of Lot. That, incidentally, brings us to another important issue; namely, the coming of the Lord. We read in Luke 17:26-29: “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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