IBM Helps Florida Predict Just How Delinquent Your Child's Going To Be
from the your-future-self-appears-to-be-a-trouble-maker dept
We’ve covered several different instances where the country has been taking baby steps toward the kind of precognitive crime prevention featured in the movie Minority Report — sans naked gibbering women floating in bathtubs. The most recent effort was courtesy of the Homeland Security Department, who is busily developing a body language analysis prediction system dubbed "Future Attribute Screening Technologies" (FAST) — which aims to detect "shifty" people who may be getting ready to commit a crime of some sort (or just drank way too much coffee).
More common approaches simply involve software that analyzes a database of offenders and cherry picks out the most likely future offenders (very popular in the UK), or analyzes crime patterns to predict future criminal trends. Along those lines, it looks like the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has decided to start using IBM predictive analytics software (via Gizmodo) to help them determine which of the 85,000 kids who enter their system each year poses the biggest future threat. IBM has this to say about the new system — which was an upgrade from Excel:
"Predictive analytics gives government organizations worldwide a highly-sophisticated and intelligent source to create safer communities by identifying, predicting, responding to and preventing criminal activities. It gives the criminal justice system the ability to draw upon the wealth of data available to detect patterns, make reliable projections and then take the appropriate action in real time to combat crime and protect citizens."
Of course many of these patterns simply become evident when people bother to pay attention and use their intellect, and these tools are often just an extension of that. When prediction technology is used, the technology will only be as good as the people using it (in this case to choose rehabilitation paths for kids). But you still have to wonder how accurate these kinds of systems are and how independently verifiable the evidence will be. Can kids who feel they were unfairly, preemptively declared to be bad asses in 2014 see the "reliable" source code?