New Pre-Crime Computer Model Deployed in California
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
The pace of technological advancement is quickening to the point where the gap between science fiction and reality is being greatly reduced. Philip K. Dick explored the concept of pre-crime in his short story “The Minority Report” in 1956, but it wasn’t until Steven Spielberg offered it on the big screen as Minority Report in 2002 that the audience got a true look at a potential day-to-day existence under corporate and government data management and control.
Our Orwellian world is beginning to look nostalgic compared to what is in production. Neuroscientists in 2010 stated that they know you better than you know yourself. Meanwhile, it is being estimated that computers know to a 93% accuracy where you will be, before you make your first move.
It is based on this last factoid that a sociologist at University of California, Riverside has been working with the Indio Police Department to offer a computer dragnet that can predict where burglaries are going to happen in the future.
A reduction in crime is of course a welcome event, especially as America outdoes even itself in nearly all areas of violence. However, even though computers have been touted as somehow superior to their human counterparts, when it comes to surveillance and policing we have seen little but horrendous abuse.
Robert Nash Parker is a professor of sociology who has been working with Indio police (city pop. 75,000) to implement a “computer model that predicts, by census block group, where burglaries are likely to occur.”