AI-IRS: French officials use AI to detect undeclared swimming pools

Category: AI Europe Regulatory
Posted by
Ravindu Dabarera

Hot off the heels of the worst global drought in recent history, French tax officials use an unlucky tool to ensure that unauthorized water usage doesn’t go unpunished; AI. With the pilot project underway, this system could see nationwide usage in order to tackle water loss in the 21st century

AI satellite spot 20,356 undeclared pools and counting

Using software developed by Google in partnership with consulting leader Capgemini, the program works by using satellite imagery data to detect the outline of swimming pools. These are then cross referenced with existing government records on registered swimming pools.

With French law stipulating that the government should be notified of a new swimming pool within 90 days of its completion, the system has already detected 20,356 unregistered swimming pools since its launch in late October. This has translated into $10 million in additional revenue from nine different regions of the country. Estimations for nationwide implementation have calculated an additional $40 million in taxes from 2023 alone.

Why pools: Environmental issues

With an estimated 3.2 million private pools in France, the COVID-19 Pandemic seeing a massive increase due to the extra time spent indoors and the rise of remote working, this has placed an unprecedented burden on the country’s water supply. Europe has suffered the hottest temperatures on record with these parched conditions seeing environmentalists and agricultural pressure groups to question the ethics of private pool ownership in these modern conditions.

National Secretary of the Europe Ecology Green party, Julien Bayou, has gone on record to say “the challenge is not to ban swimming pools, it is to guarantee our vital water needs.”

Could emerging technologies like AI play a decisive role in the governance of natural resources in an age where waste might be more unaffordable than any other time in history?

News sourced from the Washington Post.

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