Dutchman fined 14,000 baht by AI for scratching head whilst drivingLegacy

A routine act of scratching his head while driving led to an unexpected fine for a Dutchman after an AI-powered traffic camera misinterpreted the gesture for using a mobile phone.

Tim Hansen received a fine of 380 euros (14,000 baht) last November, sparking a debate on the efficacy of AI in law enforcement.

Hansen was stunned to receive a traffic fine claiming he had used his phone while driving. He was certain he had simply raised his hand to scratch his head, not to hold a phone. The AI-driven camera system that led to the fine was designed to catch drivers in the act of using their mobile phones, a serious traffic offence. But in the Dutchman’s case, it seemed to have made an error.

Upon receiving the fine, Hansen was initially perplexed, as he had no recollection of using his phone at the wheel. Determined to clarify the situation, he sought out photographic evidence from the authorities.

At first glance, the image did appear to show him engaged in a phone call. However, a closer examination revealed that his hand was scratching the side of his head, not holding a phone. The camera had mistaken his hand movement for phone usage, and even more confusingly, the human reviewer who confirmed the issuance of the fine had also failed to notice the error.

Coincidentally, the Dutchman works in IT and decided to leverage his skills to develop an algorithm capable of analysing and correcting images, using his personal experience to shed light on how police camera systems operate and why they might make mistakes. He explained that predictive models must decide whether something is a yes or a no, but achieving 100% accuracy is challenging.

In Hansen’s view, the algorithm likely suspected a phone because the dataset included many examples of phone usage with the hand positioned near the ear, reported Sanook.

Hansen’s case underscores the need for human oversight to minimize false positives in automated systems. He argued that, due to the numerous variables that could affect an algorithm’s decision, human intervention is crucial. Despite contesting the fine, he faced a wait of up to 26 weeks for an official ruling.

The story Dutchman fined 14,000 baht by AI for scratching head whilst driving as seen on Thaiger News.

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Author: Samantha Rose