re “Pilot programs invite Big Brother into buses and the Downtown library” [SMDP April 17, 2023]

It was inevitable that AI surveillance would check into the library. Our SMPL is sadly short-staffed. There’s nobody to “deter trespassing or crimes such as theft and vandalism…”

After all, it’s happening everywhere. “Big Botter” was the headline in the New York Post as a robot began patrolling Times Square and the subway. The plan here is to “engage with intruders through loudspeakers…” among other intrusions. Very CCCP! L.A. Metro tried blasting classical music from loudspeakers; it didn’t work as a deterrent, and was quickly kiboshed. (It could work here, however, we being a town of more refined tastes, with our stellar SM Symphony, etc.)

The real reason for the 60-day pilot program can be found in the SMDP article’s last paragraph, which reveals how “competitive procurement processes may be initiated” if the technology succeeds.

You mean Santa Monica is in it to make money? No big bother; perhaps the surveillance economy will pay dividends to public schools. We, the citizens, know how to continue partying like it’s 1984. And smile for the cameras.

Hank Rosenfeld

Santa Monica