A few days ago I blogged about the arrival of a new software program called RIOT that is designed to track multitudes of individuals and all their contacts on social media. There I tied the development to the INSLAW scandal and its development of a similar software architecture in the 1980s, and to Philip K. Dick’s idea of a Department of Pre-Crime, made into a movie, Minority Report, with actor Max von Sydow and Tom Cruise. Well, no sooner are the characters typed and the blog scheduled, than I open my email box, and find this sent to me by Mr. V.T., and filed in my “Potential Blog” box:
Now, when I originally argued and blogged about this topic, it was my assumption that this would occur incrementally, that the current state of prediction would allow only a group prediction effort. But this is not what the city of “Brotherly Love” has in mind at all. Read it again:
“His forecasts, which use an algorithm to predict whether someone will offend again, have been used by city probation and parole officers for about three years, to decide how much supervision a defendant needs.
Philadelphia Common Pleas Court administrative judge Pamela Dembe says the results there convinced her that the computer model could also be a useful tool in determining sentences.”
That’s right: what must be an essentially statistical model based on aggregate behavior is being used to predict individual behavioral probabilities, and these, in turn, are being used to make sentencing and parole supervision determinations!
In other words, we have effectively not necessarily a Department of Pre-Crime, but we do have a significant step in that direction, in what amounts to a Department of Post-Crime and Parole Predictive Probabilities and Supervision Guidelines… and so on.
You get the idea. We are now arriving at a place where these mathematical models and computer algorithms will start for form “officially sanctioned state-approved sentencing guidelines” – all in the name of science and what some call the emerging scientific dictatorship and technocracy of course – and from there, it will be a short step to applying the same logic as behind the gun-grabbers, to criminals themselves: we can make you safe(r) by (Fill in the blank here) grabbing guns to prevent their misuse or predicting Mr. X or Mrs. Y has a high probability of committing Crime Z on such and such a date or under such and such circumstances, so give us the power to prevent it by rounding them up. And you’ll have good pabulum-puking progressives in the Dummycrook party, and the usual pabulum-puking “conservatives” in the Republithug party, being all for it. We can expect more joint commercials from Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi or similar “spokespersons” on what a grand idea it is.
But we already know what it is. It’s nuttery, and we can only hope the good people of Pennsylslovakia will wake up and ask some pointed questions before this gets out of hand.
See you on the flip side.