To be more specific, what’s predicted is the likeliness of crime in a specific area. The police department field testing the program are from Santa Cruz. The exact name of the software the program runs is unknown, but what it does is compute and predicts crime by analyzing past trends from a sizable database of police records.
While this is far from the nightmarish prescience of Minority Report, it does mark a new innovation in policing. Since the program went live in Santa Cruz, the reception from the law enforcement community there has been positive.
The people who really ironed out the kinks and developed the rather secret program are a multi-disciplinary team involving mathematicians, anthropologists, and a criminologist. The numbers guys are George Bohler and Martin Short (no relation to the comedian), with input from anthropologist Jeff Bratingham and criminologist George Tita.
To date, only the Santa Cruz PD operates the program. Its implications, however, are broad and scary. Imagine if a country employs this on a large scale. Not only will police detection be total, but the security blanket over civic life is ever-present and ever-knowing. Why does this sound dystopian? If you’re wondering why Stallone from Demolition Man is pictured above, well the movie’s theme does involve a satirical portrayal of all-encompassing future law enforcement.
If significant aspects of everyday life become subject to predictive software, then we’re all in for a dull and dreary future. No excitement, no surprise. It’s just one long agonizing routine—so much for the zest of life.
Source New York TimesFiled Under: Technology News