Retail Crimes Artificial Intelligence Designed to Catch Repeat Shoplifters

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Auckland-based artificial intelligence developers created a platform to help retail franchises and local authorities capture repeat shoplifters, but many are wary of its capabilities.

Artificial intelligence is now present in our daily lives, with many platforms and developers making it accessible to consumers. Many have been utilising apps like ChatGPT, Alexa and Siri regularly, and now Aussie retail giants are joining the bandwagon.

Retailers like Woolworths and Bunnings now use Auror, a retail crime intelligence platform created by Auckland-based developers Phil Thompson and Tom Batterbury in 2012. The platform is designed to catch shoplifters.

According to co-founder and NZ entrepreneur of the year for 2022 Phil Thompson, Auror can detect crime as it happens and sends an alert to security staff in real-time. Thompson added, “So, with an image, once that’s uploaded into the platform, that can then be referenced across crimes reported today to see if it’s the same person who’s committed those other offences.”

However, emerging technologies expert at the University of Technology Sydney, Nicholas Davis, said that retailers’ use of facial recognition and artificial intelligence is very concerning as the privacy laws still need to be updated. He added, “We don’t have some of the nuance or the specifics about susceptible types of data or combinations of data, like your license plate, plus what you’ve bought at the supermarket, plus which aisle you visited.”

Another exciting platform recently hit the Australian shores. JARVIS Invest, India’s first AI-based investment platform. Its goal is to help investors invest in both Indian and Australian equity markets, providing great insights.

But the government is also considering banning high-risk uses of artificial intelligence and automated decision-making. The government recognises that AI has many positive benefits, but it can also harm if used maliciously. Thompson counters that Auror will not be intrusive and that general customers will not have any interaction with it. He added that law enforcement supports the platform, stating that it will make their work easier.


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