Remember Minority Report? Remember how the movie and Philip K Dick's original story explained a system whereby crimes could be spotted in advance and action taken? Remember how fantastical that sounded? Well, it's now a reality.

Japanese company Vaak has developed a system that can detect shoplifters before they steal, thereby helping shop assistants to prevent the crime taking place.

The Vaak artificial intelligence system uses footage from existing security cameras to analyse shopper behaviour in real time. The AI can detect fidgeting, restlessness and other suspicious body language - signs that an individual could be about to shoplift.

Unlike Minority Report, however, the suspected shopper won't immediately be arrested for a crime they haven't yet committed. Instead, shop assistants can defuse the situation by asking if the person needs help. It is understood that this will usually result in the potential shoplifter changing his or her mind.

The software system is designed to help prevention, rather than detection of crime.

According to Bloomberg, retailers have asked Vaak not to disclose which stores its system is used in due to security reasons.

At present, it looks like the company's technology is only in the testing phase in a select number of shops in Tokyo. But it is now ready to sell its software to others.