France Uses AI To Find Swimming Pools For Tax Purposes

from the beep-boop-beep dept

As humanity marches on towards the expansion of artificial intelligence, we are finding many ways to use this technology while waiting for it to get smart enough to kill us all and bring on the Age of the Robot. Platforms have attempted to solve the impossibility of moderation at scale by employing AI, with no real success. The UK tried to employ AI to make decisions for when to charge certain people with crimes based on a likelihood to re-offend… largely based on where they live. And, of course, there are those that have used AI to create intellectual property in order to throw the IP world into chaos over whether AI can claim IP rights or not.

But in France, it’s swimming pools and taxes. Confused? Well, the French government has employed AI to search through satellite imagery in order to find un-reported swimming pools at residences in order to properly tax owners according to French property tax laws.

Using an artificial intelligence computer vision system developed by French IT firm Capgemini, the French tax office (often called “Le Fisc”) has identified 20,356 residential swimming pools that had previously gone undeclared. According to The Guardian, this has opened up 10 million euros in additional tax revenue, leading the way to the government taxing other undeclared architectural features such as annexes or verandas.

The pilot for this program did not go off without issue. 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 some fine-tuning, Le Fisc got the error rate on the software far below the 30% it was originally returning.

If you’re confused as to why any of this is a thing, it’s because French real estate taxes are assessed based on their rental values ​​rather than property purchasing values. Swimming pools ramp up the rent value on any property. How much? Well, enough that the French government expects to collect roughly 40 million euros as a result of this programming spanning out to all of France.

Is this a good use of AI? I mean, nobody likes being taxed, but it would seem that searching for property owners failing to acknowledge their tax obligations isn’t the world’s worst thing.

Filed Under: ai, france, surveillance, swimming pools, tax cheats

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