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Belgian Artist Creates Instagram Surveillance Tool

The latest project from artist Dries Depoorter is called “The Follower”, and it’s a frightening glimpse into the world of public surveillance.

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belgian artist creates instagram surveillance tool
Twitter (@DriesDepoorter)

How often have you or your friends posed for an Instagram photo in public? Whether you’re on vacation or fooling around outside your favorite restaurant, we’re guessing the answer is most likely “a lot”. Well, if that’s the case, you might just end up as a subject in artist Dries Depoorter’s latest project, called “The Follower”.

The sinister-sounding creation was born after Depoorter noticed someone taking a lot of public Instagram shots:

“One day, I saw a person taking photos for like 20 minutes, and I was trying to find them on Instagram a day later without much success. That’s when I started building the software,” says Depoorter.

Thanks to the facial recognition software built by Depoorter, which crawls through footage from open webcams live streaming in public spaces, he quickly found a video of the Instagrammer in question when he posted shots onto the Meta-owned platform later that day.

The project is a fascinating (and terrifying) glimpse into how much information can be gathered using modern software — especially as the artist only had access to publicly available cameras. Depoorter’s work highlights the sheer scale of the world’s surveillance network and the enormous volumes of data we give away daily for AI bots to analyze.

Also Read: How To Permanently Delete Your Instagram Account

Depoorter has a history of projects like “The Follower”. In 2021, he created a similar piece of software that scanned the live streams of Flemish government meetings, using AI to search for politicians scrolling through their smartphones out of apparent boredom. The project was known as “The Flemish Scrollers” and automatically tagged the targets via Twitter.

As Depoorter points out, he isn’t the only one with access to these cameras, and it’s genuinely scary to imagine the surveillance tools the world’s government agencies have at their disposal. Next time you take selfies in a public place, check over your shoulder — you might be being watched!

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Initial Trials Of Dubai’s Driverless Evocargo Trucks Completed

Testing was announced on July 17, and the completion is a major milestone towards upgrading the region’s logistics infrastructure.

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initial trials of dubai's driverless evocargo trucks completed
Dubai Media Office

A Dubai-based company has completed the initial trials for the UAE’s first driverless trucks. The groundbreaking achievement by Evocargo, partnering with Dubai South, took place at Dubai South Logistics District, and marked a significant step towards incorporating autonomous technologies into the region’s wider logistics infrastructure.

Announced on Wednesday, July 17th, the trials featured the Evocargo N1 unmanned electric truck navigating a predetermined route within a controlled setting. The test involved interactions with common road obstacles such as cars, trucks, and pedestrians, aiming to evaluate the vehicle’s hardware and software reliability, accident prevention systems, and overall readiness for public road use.

Officials were keen to highlight that this accomplishment aligns with the UAE’s ambitious strategy to position itself as a global leader in innovation and technology adoption. The country aims to have 25% of all transportation in Dubai autonomous by 2030, underscoring its commitment to revolutionizing the logistics sector using advanced technologies.

Mohsen Ahmad, CEO of the Logistics District at Dubai South, emphasized the importance of the collaboration with Evocargo in enhancing the region’s logistics capabilities. He noted that autonomous vehicles are set to increase efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and establish a sustainable logistics infrastructure that will benefit both Dubai and the wider UAE.

Also Read: Riyadh Developers Reveal New 45,000-Seat Murabba Stadium

Ahmed Al-Ansi, CEO of Evocargo Autonomous Logistic Services, also expressed optimism that the trials will draw new customers and investments across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The partnership aims to lead in innovative tech solutions, further establishing the UAE as a pioneer in autonomous transportation.

The successful completion of the trials marks a crucial step towards realizing the UAE’s vision for a technologically advanced and sustainable future in which autonomous vehicles are expected to play a pivotal role in global logistics.

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