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NYC’s AI gun detectors hardly work

Photo illustration of an NYPD officer in a subway station behind a pixelated gun.
Cath Virginia / The Verge | Photos from Getty Images

When New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced the city would be testing out AI gun detectors on at subway stations last week, he touted the technology as “clearly impressive.” But critics, including the Legal Aid Society, were immediately skeptical of the pilot — and as it turns out, they were right to be.

When the city installed Evolv scanners at a hospital in the Bronx in 2022, the machines frequently reported false positives, according to a public records request obtained by Hell Gate. In the seven months that the Evolv scanners were active, 50,000 of the 194,000 scans resulted in a positive alarm — 85 percent of which were false positives. Most of the actual positives were triggered by police officers; just 295 were triggered by…

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