AI screw-up results in man being fined $400 for scratching his head

Tim Hansen was surprised to be issued a $400 citation for using his mobile phone while driving when he was actually just scratching his head. As seen above, Hansen was photographed by a police camera system called Monocam that misread the situation.

Coincidentally, Hansen is an engineer who happens to work on machine learning systems that analyze images.

"If a model has to predict whether something is 'yes' or 'not' the case, it can of course also happen that the model is wrong," according to a translated blog post Nippur wrote about his experience. "In the case of my ticket, the model indicated that I am holding a telephone, while that is not the case. Then we speak of a false positive. A perfect model only predicts true positives and true negatives, but 100% correct prediction is rare."

"The algorithm we used, and that of the police, may suspect that a telephone is present because the training dataset contains many examples of people calling with a telephone in their hand next to their ear," he wrote. "It may well be that the training dataset contains few or no photos of people sitting with an empty hand on their ear. In that case, it becomes less important for the algorithm whether a phone is actually held in the hand, but it is sufficient if the hand is close to the ear. To improve this, more photos should be added where the hand is empty."

From Oddity Central:

Hansen claims that due to the many variables that can impact the decision of an algorithm, a human filter is needed to minimize the number of false positives. Only in his case, the fine was confirmed by a human after analyzing the photo captured by the camera. so that isn't a foolproof solution either.

The Dutch driver has contested the fine and expects a positive outcome, but he will now have to wait up to 26 weeks for an official verdict.