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Alexa, I’m the victim of a crime: Scotland Yard working on new tech to let you call police through smart assistants

Scotland Yard is developing new technology to allow victims of crime to use digital assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant to contact the police.

While it might not feel natural to come out with a lung-bursting call of “Ok Google, I’m being stabbed!” while you’re being the victim of crime, the thinking behind it is that you’ll simple have to shout for help, and any compatible tech within range will get hold of the police.

According to The Sunday Times, this could “change the face of police contact”, and the schemes being dreamt up by the Metropolitan Police Force could allow for a call for assistance to come from an automated system rather than just a human.

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“The contact may be triggered by the human issuing a command to their bot, or it may be automatically generated by the bot through AI [artificial intelligence,” states the report.

It’s unclear exactly how widespread this will be, and while several places are reporting this as the potential end of 999 calls, it’s hard to see how a smart assistant can be more accessible than a phone. There’s always going to be a need for phones

Speaking as someone who regularly yells help within range of his smart speaker due to a lifetime of multiplayer games, i’m watching this with curiosity. Here’s hoping there’s a way that smart speakers and devices can sense check, so i don’t inadvertently call the police on myself while I’m trying to convince a teammate in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds to revive me.

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Supposedly these plans could be ready in as little as 18 months, after which we’ll presumably see trials, and eventually perhaps even a nationwide rollout.

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