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UK Police AI To Stop Criminals Before They Strike

National Data Analytics Solution (NDAS) is being promoted by UK coppers who want to use it to predict violent crimes. This artificial intelligence-based approach will try to assess the risks of someone committing this crime.

West Midlands Police is leading the project and has until the end of March 2019 to produce a prototype.

As for exactly what will happen when such individuals are identified, that is still a matter of discussion, says Donnelly. He says the intention isn’t to pre-emptively arrest anyone, but rather to provide support from local health or social workers. For example, they could offer counselling to any individual with a history of mental health issues that had been flagged by NDAS as being likely to commit a violent crime. Potential victims could be contacted by social services.

This is the first such project of its kind in the world, pooling multiple data sets from a number of police forces for crime prediction, says Donnelly. In the early phases, the team gathered more than a terabyte of data from local and national police databases, including records of people being stopped and searched and logs of crimes committed. Around 5 million individuals were identifiable from the data.

Looking at this data, the software found nearly 1400 indicators that could help predict crime, including around 30 that were particularly powerful. These included the number of crimes an individual had committed with the help of others and the number of crimes committed by people in that individual’s social group.

The machine learning component of NDAS will use these indicators to predict which individuals known to the police may be on a trajectory of violence similar to that observed in past cases, but who haven’t yet escalated their activity. Such people will be assigned a risk score indicating the likelihood of future offending.

(Via NewScientist.)

Fans of Philip K. Dick's 1956 short story Minority Report are familiar with the idea of precrime (as well as post-crime).

Dick used the idea of humans who were "precognitive", that is, they saw the future:

The three gibbering, fumbling creatures, with their enlarged heads and wasted bodies, were contemplating the future. The analytical machinery was recording prophecies, and as the three precog idiots talked, the machinery carefully listened.
(Read more about precrime and precogs)

And, thanks to Steven Spielberg's 2002 Minority Report movie, the notion that it is possible to predict crime before it happens has become one of the general beliefs of modern times.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/29/2018)

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