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Google's AI Discovered Thousands of Secret Swimming Pools in French Cities

Google’s AI Discovered Thousands of Secret Swimming Pools in French Cities

French tax authorities used Google AI to pull out over 20,000 undeclared swimming pools

Artificial intelligence is no longer a strange term. AI technology, along with big data and machine learning are the technologies that drive a vital change in the world and create a noticeable development in the tech industry. And its latest example is the discovery of thousands of undeclared private swimming pools in France with the help of Google’s new AI technology.

It is said that only two certainties in life are death and taxes. It can be considered true, especially in France where tax authorities have started deploying artificial intelligence to snuff out a large number of secret and undeclared swimming pools which holds worth around US$10 million in uncollected tax revenue. The country is planning hard to expand its all-seeing pool AI to detect all sorts of undeclared home additions. By experimenting using Google’s AI, it has come to bring more than 20,000 hidden pools to light. Pools can accelerate uplifted property taxes since they boost property value, and must be declared under French law. The software, launched by Google and French consulting firm Capgemini, marked the pools on aerial images of nine French regions in the course of a trial in October 2021. The regions of Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Ardèche, Rhône, Haute-Savoie, Vendée, Maine-et-Loire and Morbihan were included as a part of the trial but tax officials feel it may now be rolled out nationwide.

It’s mandatory for French homeowners to declare swimming pools since it can impact an individual’s property taxes. Those taxes would normally increase after a homeowner installs a pool or generates a similar property modification, but only if the tax office knows. France reportedly has over three million private swimming pools which bring up it the second largest market outside of the U.S, in accordance to French news publication The Connexion. Construction of pools has bounced up to 30% in the country in 2021. According to the data website Statista,big data reports found that there were more than 3.2 million private swimming pools in France in 2020, with sales earlier sky-high since the Covid pandemic. However, as a large number of employees worked from home, there was a further billowing in pool installations. Le Parisien newspaper revealed that an average pool of 30 sq m (322 sq ft) is taxed at €200 (£170) a year. The tax authorities stated the software could finally be operated to notice undeclared home extensions, patios, or gazebos, which also play a part in property taxes.

Antoine Magnant, France’s Deputy Director General of Public Finances told Le Parisien “We are particularly targeting house extensions like verandas, but we have to be sure that the software can find buildings with a large footprint and not the dog kennel or the children’s playhouse.” The crackdown approached after Julien Bayou, of France’s Europe-Ecology Greens party, did not rule out a ban on brand new private pools. In a conversation with BFMTV, he said that France needs a “different relationship to water” and that the ban might be a “last resort”. He further added, “The challenge is not to ban swimming pools, it is to guarantee our vital water needs.”

This extended plan to discover undeclared home additions may take some time to perfect. According to the system report, as of April, it possesses a 30% margin of error leading it to incorrectly recognize solar panels as swimming pools. The system reportedly fighting to determine whether or not a rectangular shape spotted on aerial footage is an undeclared addition or something else entirely.

France, under Emmanuel Macron’s presidency, has invested more than €1.5 billion into AI technology projects to play catch up together with the U.S. and China and change the country into a “start-up nation.”

“There’s no chance of controlling any effects (of these technologies) or having a say on any adverse effects if we’ve missed the start of the war,” Macron uttered in 2018 according to Reuters.