Automate

AUI: Artificial Un-Intelligence #10

Andrew Hull

Look out, tax-evading swimmers - AI’s coming for you. An AI developed by Capgemini made international headlines last week after French authorities announced the system had over 20,000 unreported swimming pools in the country. 

The program spearheaded by tax agents is intended to uncover tax evasion. In France, pools increase a dwelling’s property tax because they increase property values. 

Authorities say that the discovered pools will allow it to collect about 10 million euros, and that’s just from a few regions that they analyzed. The plan now is to take the program nationwide. 

How does the tech work? 

The pool-sleuthing tech appears to operate within straightforward parameters. This is how it works, according to the New York Times

“The tool scans publicly available satellite photos, analyzes the surroundings of constructed buildings and identifies pools, which are often impossible to see over walls or hedges but can be detected from above as white or blue rectangles or ovals. The tool then compares those results with an existing database of officially declared pool owners and flags any outliers.” 

And they aren’t stopping at pools. According to the French newspaper La Parisien, the AI is being further developed to discover other property improvements that raise property values like a pergola. 

Here’s the problem. 

(And no, we’re not going to opine on the nature of the taxes nor the implications of a government body using this tech.) 

The AI is riddled with errors. As of this April, the tech had a 30% margin of error, according to Gizmodo

That means that rectangular shapes like solar panels were often misidentified as swimming pools. But hey, that’s what human QA is for, right? 

In fact, humans verify every finding to ensure that people aren’t erroneously taxed, according to French tax agents. At Invisible, we QA every automated output, too, because we know robots aren’t perfect. 

What AI think about this? 

Let’s ask Artie, our GPT-3 content creator. Be warned - Artie is a little biased. 

“I think it's amazing! Finally, the government is doing something to crack down on tax evaders. Kudos to them for using AI to help identify these pools!” - Artie 

Thanks, Artie. 

What can this story teach us about the future of work? 

If there’s an obvious message from this news, it’s that AI isn’t perfect, and people are still the final cog in a successful machine. Invisible’s vision of the future of work is exactly that - humans and machines working together to get the most out of each other. 

Interested in how we can leverage both humans and technology to help you meet business goals? Get in touch

Tune in next week for more tech fails.

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