London police are testing a system which would let them know who is likely to commit a crime before they’ve actually done it. However, it’s not quite as Minority Report as it sounds, as the predictive tech is aimed at gang members.
The study on this system is reported to be the first one in the United Kingdom, though predictive technology like this has been tested and even used elsewhere around the world.
The software, developed by Accenture, works by collecting a lot of data on the person in question, going through police systems to look for prior infractions and ending up scrubbing social media for possible behavioral hints. Then it uses an algorithm to determine how likely a person is to commit a future crime. It’s basically the same sort of system that’s used to determine if an inmate will be a repeat offender upon release.
Muz Janoowalla, head of public safety at Accenture explained it like this:
You've got limited police resources and you need to target them efficiently. What this does is tell you who are the highest risk individuals that you should target your limited resources against.
Obviously, this has raised a number of privacy and human rights concerns from advocacy groups who are calling on the company and the London police to be much more open about how this system works, who it’s targeting and what types of data are collected.
Source: BBC | Image via cinemagloraphy.org