Welcome To The Danger Zone: An App For Not Getting Shot And Blown Up

from the good-looking-out dept

I suppose if you wanted to, you could make a big list of things that prove this world we live in leaves much to be desired. Flip on the news and you'll understand how government is broken. Ride public transportation in any major city and you'll lose faith in most of humanity by the time you reach your stop. But to really demonstrate that we live in a mean, dangerous world, I give you smart phone apps for war zones.

In Lebanon, for example, as sectarian violence spills across Syria's border, apps are being developed for avoiding riots, car bombs, and even snipers. The military created "LAF Shield," which allows them to highlight danger zones for users to avoid. Users in turn can swipe to issue an SOS or report suspicious activity to the army.
I mean, I get how this is obviously useful, but this is depressing. I don't want to picture myself rising for the morning coffee, heading for the door on my way to work, only to whip out my smart phone and check where the IEDs and snipers might be on my way to the bus. Still, it seems like a pretty interesting way to crowdsource keeping people safe. Assuming, of course, that the Lebanese military doesn't abuse the app for their own purposes, or turn it off at their whim.
And the goal of "Way to Safety," an app under development, is to be able to locate a gunman just using the smartphones in people's pockets. The app will record gunfire, identify the type of weapon being used and triangulate the exact location of the shooter, as long as several users are in the area.
Sort of sounds like Batman's illicit use of roughly all the phones in Dark Knight. And, like in that story, I worry about the abuse of governments using this. That said, so long as the phone manipulation can't be done surreptitiously, using the recordings as evidence to identify shooters could be helpful. Concurrently, you'd like to hope that these types of apps won't turn into the kind of sectarian or prejudicial "services" that the now semi-infamous Ghetto Tracker app did, but it seems like the potential for that very thing is quite high.

The point is that these war zone apps are as interesting as they are depressing. The fact that many of our fellow humans need an app to tell them how to avoid getting blown up or shot may be the reality, but I have to believe there are ways to utilize technology to bring people together, rather than keep them from dying apart.



Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous, Oct 14th, 2013 @ 4:18pm

    Will they license Kenny Loggins' song or use an unlicensed version?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    S. T. Stone, Oct 14th, 2013 @ 4:47pm

    Re:

    Better question: will they license the image of Sterling Archer for the app?

     

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  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 14th, 2013 @ 5:06pm

    Danger Zone, or, as Matt Drudge calls one: Chicagoland

    http://crime.chicagotribune.com/chicago/homicides

    Homicides are marked on the map below as pink circles. The chart on the right displays homicides, by day, for the current and past year.

    Built by the Chicago Tribune News Apps Team

     

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  4.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 14th, 2013 @ 5:11pm

    Re: Danger Zone, or, as Matt Drudge calls one: Chicagoland

    Did you not even read the very top of that link?

    "345
    since Jan. 1, 2013,

    10.4 percent below the 10-year average of 385.0 for this point in the year."

    In other words, Matt Drudge's Danger Zone has had its danger decimated in the past ten years by good old fashioned increase of police in trouble areas, not by the NYC stop and frisk bullshit.

    Try again, idiot....

     

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  5.  
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    TSO, Oct 14th, 2013 @ 5:47pm

    Next up: if the app detects a gunshot in the immediate vicinity of the cellphone, it uses the phone's GPS to call an airstrike to its location.

     

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  6.  
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    Eldakka (profile), Oct 14th, 2013 @ 7:05pm

    I already check my smartphone...

    I don't want to picture myself rising for the morning coffee, heading for the door on my way to work, only to whip out my smart phone and check where the IEDs and snipers might be on my way to the bus.


    I already always check my smartphone whenever I leave a location for mobile speed cameras/RBTs. I avoid the cameras as it's too easy to creep a few km/h above the speed limit and get done. And RBTs are such a huge waste of time, sometimes costing me 10 minutes sitting in the queue to get RBT and sent on my way, turning a 10 minute dash into a 20 minute annoyance.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2013 @ 7:11pm

    Re: Re: Danger Zone, or, as Matt Drudge calls one: Chicagoland

    Decimated is 1/10th not 10% if murders were reduced by 90% it would be decimated. (i.e. 10% of what it used to be).

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2013 @ 7:40pm

    "but I have to believe there are ways to utilize technology to bring people together, rather than keep them from dying apart. "

    Technology, in general is used for the opposite, and especially here, it is used to divide people and group not unite them.

    Read some of the bitter, hate filled posts from TD against the US Government, the police, copyright holders, media, entertainment industry!

    So much technology is the result of wars, and the wish to gain power over others. Computers are a great example, as it encryption and decryption, radio as well, radar, jet aircraft, rockets, bombs, GPS all instruments of war and now vital for war.
    Guns, cannons, missiles, nuclear power, nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons, war ship.

    I have nothing against the technology itself, I like technology, but it is both a powerful tool AND WEAPON.

    Again, it's not the technology it the PEOPLE who use it and for what purpose.

    Anything that is powerful will be abused, people abuse power, technology does not, people abuse the power of technology.

    Yes, technology if used by people who want to bring people together is 'right', but technology does not change human nature.

    Haves and have not's:
    So you have an app that tell you were a war zone is, but you fried does not have that technology and you do, you decide to go out for a walk (as does you friend seperatly), you check your app, and decide not to go into an area that is a war zone.

    Your friend (with the technology), goes for his walk, walks into the warzone, and because YOU are NOT there, there is less people there and your friend (without the technology) gets shot by a sniper !!!

    So that technology made you safer, but got your friend killed !! It made him less safer, few people in a war zone, means fewer 'targets'.

    So some city has 345 (on average) murders a years, what if only 345 people lived there !!!!

    Allies development of radar during WW2 made England much safer, but it certainly did not make German bombers crews safer.

    Technology is THE most powerful weapon known to man.

    That's not saying it cannot be used for great good, but generally it's not.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Oct 15th, 2013 @ 4:50am

    The main issue is that those apps can be heavily abused. If you want to fuck up a touristic place just add it to the danger zone list. Pacific protests may be harmed by it also. There's plenty of room for abuse and racial profiling. And humans have proven repeatedly they are enough of assholes to do so.

     

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    negruvoda (profile), Oct 15th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Danger Zone, or, as Matt Drudge calls one: Chicagoland

    No, actually decimated means removing every 10th, meaning a reduction by 10%. It was a form of punishment in the Roman legions. When a century or a whole legion did something really against the rules they were lined up and every 10th man was killed. 1 down, 9 standing. There fore a reduction by 10% is in fact decimated.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2013 @ 9:55am

    It would also be easy to abuse. False information could be supplied that marks an area as dangerous, to herd people somewhere else for an attack.

     

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  12.  
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    Muck Ciley Fyrus, Oct 15th, 2013 @ 4:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Danger Zone, or, as Matt Drudge calls one: Chicagoland

    Whatever. I'm thinking an annual Purge Night would be a good idea.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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