It’s a growing reality.

After a gee-whiz description of the technology, the Observer’s Evgeny Morozov begins to talk of some of the hazards. A nugget:

But how do we know that the algorithms used for prediction do not reflect the biases of their authors? For example, crime tends to happen in poor and racially diverse areas. Might algorithms – with their presumed objectivity – sanction even greater racial profiling? In most democratic regimes today, police need probable cause – some evidence and not just guesswork – to stop people in the street and search them. But armed with such software, can the police simply say that the algorithms told them to do it? And if so, how will the algorithms testify in court? Techno-utopians will probably overlook such questions and focus on the abstract benefits that algorithmic policing has to offer; techno-sceptics, who start with some basic knowledge of the problems, constraints and biases that already pervade modern policing, will likely be more critical.

Read it. It will make to consider going off the grid.

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1 Comment

  1. Police don’t need probable cause for much of anything in southern California. They’ve become increasingly militarized as a result of ONE infamous gun battle/bank robbery in the San Fernando Valley and the war on terror. In Pasadena they thinks it’s cool to set up massive checkpoints on the weekend on the main route from old town on Colorado, which is a huge restaurant and shopping district, an ‘it’ place, back into LA. They line up motorcycle troops and squad cars, put up barriers, all for doing sobriety checks. It’s predatory because, of course, people have drinks in the high button restaurant and entertainment section. It’s what the city wants. Business. I’m at a loss to explain why the owners in Pasadena haven’t complained and the burghers told them to desist. You really have to see it, or be caught in it. It’s a bristling show of strength arranged to intimidate and frighten, which it does, all for “catching” a few people who are on or slightly over the .08 line.