France uses AI to find swimming pools for tax purposes
from beep-boop-beep department
As humanity moves towards the expansion of artificial intelligence, we find many ways to use this technology until it becomes intelligent enough to kill us all and usher in the age of the robot. Platforms have tried to solve the impossibility of large-scale moderation using AI, without real success. The UK has tried employing AI to decide when to charge certain people with crimes based on the likelihood of repeat offenses… largely based on where they live. And, of course, there are those who have used AI to create IP to throw the IP world into chaos over whether or not AI can claim IP rights.
But in France, it’s swimming pools and taxes. Confused? Well, the French government used AI to search in satellite imagery in order to find undeclared swimming pools in residences in order to properly tax owners according to French property tax laws.
Using an artificial intelligence computer vision system developed by a French IT company Capgeminithe French tax authorities (often calledTax department“) identified 20,356 backyard pools that were previously unreported. According The Guardianthis opened up €10 million in additional tax revenue, paving the way for the government to tax other undeclared architectural elements such as annexes or verandas.
The driver for this program did not run smoothly. At first, the AI software couldn’t distinguish “blue rectangles” representing swimming pools and similar objects that were actually things like solar panels. But with a few tweaks, Le Fisc got a software error rate well below the 30% it originally returned.
If you’re not sure why this is all a thing, it’s because French property taxes are assessed on their rental values rather than property purchase values. Swimming pools increase the rental value of any property. How many? Well, enough for the French government to expect to raise around 40 million euros from this programming which extends to the whole of France.
Is this a good use of AI? I mean nobody love be taxed, but it would seem that finding landlords who don’t recognize their tax obligations isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Filed Under: ai, france, surveillance, swimming pools, tax cheats