The pace of technological advancement is quickening to the point where the gap between science fiction and reality is being greatly reduced. Philip K. Dick explored the concept of pre-crime in his short story “The Minority Report” in 1956, but it wasn’t until Steven Spielberg offered it on the big screen as Minority Report in 2002 that the audience got a true look at a potential day-to-day existence under corporate and government data management and control.
Our Orwellian world is beginning to look nostalgic compared to what is in production. Neuroscientists in 2010 stated that they know you better than you know yourself. Meanwhile, it is being estimated that computers know to a 93% accuracy where you will be, before you make your first move.
It is based on this last factoid that a sociologist at University of California, Riverside has been working with the Indio Police Department to offer a computer dragnet that can predict where burglaries are going to happen in the future.
A reduction in crime is of course a welcome event, especially as America outdoes even itself in nearly all areas of violence. However, even though computers have been touted as somehow superior to their human counterparts, when it comes to surveillance and policing we have seen little but horrendous abuse.
Robert Nash Parker is a professor of sociology who has been working with Indio police (city pop. 75,000) to implement a “computer model that predicts, by census block group, where burglaries are likely to occur.”
The police department is claiming early positive results since implementing the program during the first part of 2013, and they insist that it is here to stay, while implying that further computer models will be forthcoming:
The result is an 8 percent decline in thefts in the first nine months of 2013.
“This is the wave of the future,” he said. “It is my hope this relationship with Dr. Parker will continue throughout my tenure with this department, not only on this project, but with others as well.”
Parker began working with the Indio Police Department in 2010 to determine if a computer model could predict by census block group — the smallest geographic unit the Census Bureau uses — where burglaries were most likely to occur.
“Thefts overall had been rising, and I was concerned that we were on a course to exceed last year,” Twiss said.
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Using crime data and truancy records — truants account for a significant number of daytime burglaries — Parker discovered patterns of crime over time and space. Most computer models account for changes over time or a variety of places, but not both.
“This is still cutting-edge and experimental,” Parker explained. “Big data gives you statistical power to make these kinds of predictions. It makes it possible for us to anticipate crime patterns, especially hot spots of crime, which allows law enforcement agencies to engage in targeted prevention activities that could disrupt the cause of crime before the crime happens.” (emphasis added)
The mention of Big Data should sound a big alarm. Big Data should more properly be called Big Databases. As we have seen, government agencies are collecting an unprecedented amount of personal data across the spectrum. The NSA’s staggering volume of collection will only increase with the full roll out of its $2 billion Bluffdale, Utah data center — and what it currently has on all of us continues to be revealed through Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers. It’s near total information awareness.
We also have learned recently of a de facto pre-crime program intended for use by the TSA, as they access databases to do full background checks on travelers beginning from the moment they purchase a ticket. Information will reportedly include tax history, car registration, employment history and more. (Source)
This merger between collection of data and application based on data analysis is at the heart of the Big Data program, which is why these seemingly small-scale stories like the Indio Police Department need to be highlighted. It’s all part and parcel of a very large overall agenda.
This data collection initiative is one taking place across the board in our largest federal agencies and departments such as the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Geological survey, and DARPA. As government data collection ramps up, the Obama administration through the Office of Science and Technology Policy has announced a $200 million investment in taking this information “from data to decisions.” (Source)
The Department of Defense is merged with the overall initiative, and goes a step further by investing $250 million annually across military departments in support of “truly autonomous systems that can maneuver and make decisions on their own.” DARPA is listed as essentially continuing its research into areas of human-computer interaction.
We are witnessing nothing short of the next stage of evolution for the scientific dictatorship, as it moves from total surveillance and information awareness toward implementing its permanence through autonomous systems that will collectivize all human experience into data sets that can be tracked, analyzed and immediately acted upon to affect social structures, economies, war, science, health and education.
But it all starts with a small, seemingly innocuous local system. We should know by now that it is standard practice to introduce the concept of something as extreme as pre-crime to thwart that which frightens us most: terrorism and violent crime. But then it will trickle down to petty crime, tax and financial “crimes,” and eventually anything the State deems to be a potential threat. As near-conclusive evidence of this, the person in charge of the overarching program is John P. Holdren, Obama’s science Czar and admitted authoritarian eugenicist.
For those who would like to live in this coming prison system, believing they will be safer: can you name one actual brick-and-mortar prison in America that you would feel comfortable residing in? Don’t we naturally dread prison for the simple reason that it is a place of punishment, violence, and zero privacy and freedom? Is that the world we are ready to embrace without resistance?
The coming prison is worse; it has no walls and it can find its prisoners before they even know what they have done wrong.
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