Two things in the U.S. are growing fast : surveillance technology and police budgets. Growing with them are new Silicon Valley startups providing the drones, facial recognition systems and other gadgets for them to spend taxpayers’ moeny on and watch them with.
Among the NYPD‘s suppliers is Skydio, a Silicon Valley firm that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to make drones easy to fly, allowing officers to control them with little training. Skydio is backed by Andreessen Horowitz, a venture-capital (VC) giant, and Accel, one of its peers. The NYPD is also buying from BRINC, another startup, which makes flying machines equipped with night-vision cameras that can smash through window panes. Among BRINC‘s investors are Sam Altman, the boss of OpenAI, the startup behind ChatGPT; and Index Ventures, another VC stalwart.
A good article, especially in how it notes that police are low-knowledge customers who resist tech pitches but go “viral” on stuff once it gains a foothold. It might not be reassuring to know that much of it (ShotSpotter, for example) is mostly useless and tantamount to dowsing.
One thing, though: there’s a remark that it’s “odd” that “libertarian” venture capitalists are investing in this stuff. How can we still be having thoughts like this? Palantir, mentioned in passing, was founded 20 years ago. I call media a “floating world” often but we may now be headed into orbit, with all the dead Starlink satellites.
Previously: Randomly Generated Catalog of Creepily Nondescript Domestic Surveillance Equipment