Pre-Crime once belonging to the real of Science Fiction, is becoming a very real tool in our current Surveillance society. Althought it may be justified as profiling criminals and not ordinary citizens, the Author of this article seems to be ignorant of the slide towards a Police state here in the U.S.
You might think you’re immune from spying and surveillance, but there is also the fact that any citizen is now liable to become a criminal for even the most minor offenses.
And so now if you survive your encounter with the police,you can still be marked and classified as a future potential threat or repeat criminal.
Computers are getting pretty good at predicting the future. In many cases they do it better than people. That’s why Amazon uses them to figure out what you’re likely to buy, how Netflix knows what you might want to watch, the way meteorologists come up with accurate 10-day forecasts.
Now a team of scientists has demonstrated that a computer can outperform human judges in predicting who will commit a violent crime. In a paper published last month, they described how they built a system that started with people already arrested for domestic violence, then figured out which of them would be most likely to commit the same crime again.
For two decades, police departments have used computers to identify times and places where crimes are more likely to occur, guiding the deployment of officers and detectives. Now they’re going another step: using vast data sets to identify individuals who are criminally inclined. They’re doing this with varying levels of transparency and scientific testing. A system called Beware, for example, is capable of rating citizens of Fresno, California, as posing a high, medium or low level of threat. Press accounts say the system amasses data not only on past crimes but on web searches, property records and social networking posts.
Critics are warning that the new technology had been rushed into use without enough public discussion. One question is precisely how the software works — it’s the manufacturer’s trade secret. Another is whether there’s scientific evidence that such technology works as advertised.
One of the creators of that system, University of Pennsylvania statistician Richard Berk, said he only works with publicly available data on people who have already been arrested. The system isn’t scooping up and crunching data on ordinary citizens, he said, but is making the same forecasts that judges or police officers previously had to make when it came time to decide whether to detain or release a suspect.
Bloomberg Article Here