When will this software be available to any HR department looking to hire people? I wonder if you can sue years later if you were denied a job and went on to never commit a crime. Perhaps politicians running for office should be tested or do they automatically fail?

There are no naked pre-cogs inside glowing jacuzzis yet, but the Florida State Department of Juvenile Justice will use analysis software to predict crime by young delinquents, putting potential offenders under specific prevention and education programs. Goodbye, human rights!

They will use this software on juvenile delinquents, using a series of variables to determine the potential for these people to commit another crime. Depending on this probability, they will put them under specific re-education programs. Deepak Advani—vice president of predictive analytics at IBM—says the system gives “reliable projections” so governments can take “action in real time” to “prevent criminal activities?”

Really? “Reliable projections”? “Action in real time”? “Preventing criminal activities”? I don’t know about how reliable your system is, IBM, but have you ever heard of the 5th, the 6th, and the 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution? What about article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? No? Let’s make this easy then: Didn’t you watch that scientology nutcase in Minority Report?

  1. Benjamin says:

    Presumably they will only be doing this on people who’ve already committed crimes and been put in juvenile jail. Right now they use weird voodoo to “guess” if juveniles are going to re-offend. How is using a computer different?

  2. Benjamin says:

    This would be creepy and wrong if it were used on regular students to determine who will commit a crime in the first place.

  3. bobbo, everything new is old says:

    BENJI—-CONGRATS. You are right on the mark there with your insights. I recall being sent to the school counselor for some acting out issues. He told my parents some very bad things. Thankfully, my Father thought they (the school) was full of it and did not take any of their recommendations. And here I am, blogging today.

    Would the IBM program be any more predictive?? If the program has predictive results, it will only because they are dealing with pre-screened select group of miscreants.

    Pulling wings off of flies and laughing? Eating your own shit at lunch time??? I can predict early periodontal disease, bad breath, and serial killing===but only time will tell.

  4. Wilson Sweet says:

    if (client.race == hispanic) && (purchase == sprayPaint) then
    preCrime = Graffiti; issueArrest(client);

  5. Cursor_ says:

    Will be struck down by the Supreme Court.

    This is the computer age version of phrenology.


  6. nunyac says:

    Was that Uncle Dave referencing the U. S. Constitution? Oh, thats right its April * * * but its the 15th??

  7. RSweeney says:

    This might have a future… after all, running for Congress seems to be a pretty good predictor of crime.

  8. Rabble Rouser says:

    Why am I not phased that the people of Floriduh want to use science fiction techniques to put people in jail?

  9. GigG says:

    Unless “people who might commit crimes in the future” has become a protected class then this would be usable for new hire screening and legal.

  10. Father says:

    Are they using Bayesian or Frequentist inference?

  11. Benjamin says:

    #9 These people are already in jail.

    #6 said, “This is the computer age version of phrenology.”

    It is probably more accurate that the opinion of a social worker, of which phrenology is just as accurate.

    Kids in the juvenile system are already screwed up. I don’t think the computer program will screw them up any more or less that the arbitrary decisions made in the juvenile justice system.

    They are not using this on regular people: people not incarcerated in juvenile jail. If they were it would be creepy and wrong.

  12. soundwash says:

    This will be used as a political and/or ideological weapon to produce more mind numbed ideologues, -nothing more.

    Depending on this probability, they will put them under specific re-education programs.

    someone pinch me…this happening in America?

    for those short on history, perhaps a little refresher on IBM’s involvement in organizing the camps in WWII amongst other things, “IBM ‘dealt directly with Holocaust organisers

    other data found here

    Better hope this fails bigtime..cause we all know our elected officials are spineless reptiles that will do anything for a buck..


  13. deowll says:

    They will do this to everybody. You can count on it.

  14. MikeN says:

    Don’t people on this board complain about how home-schooled kids end up?

  15. Hmeyers says:

    Profile of a likely criminal:

    1. Juvenile record
    2. Male
    3. No employment
    4. Not a high school graduate

    What’s new?

  16. yankinwaoz says:

    Here is the flowchart of the program logic:

    Is the suspect black?
    Yes: toss in jail for life.
    No: Is the suspect brown?
    Yes: Toss in jail for 20 years
    No: Let him go free.

  17. Lou says:

    I’m happy I don’t live in Florida.

  18. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    Hmeyers, you’re close. I once had the opportunity to work with educators at some adult prisons. The question came up…how do you plan for the future? Their answer: what percentage of 5th graders can’t read? When those kids reach 18, they are typically the ones who will be in jail. There’s certainly more to it, but non-reading 5th graders is their basis.

  19. Benjamin says:

    #20 If they are finding 5th graders who can’t read, why are they not put in some kind of remedial summer course to catch them up with the rest of the class? Do children not care if they can”t read at 5th grade. Find out what topics they are interested in, get some books in those topics, and teach them to read from them.

  20. Hmeyers says:


    The problem isn’t 5th graders that can’t read.

    You are mistaking cause and effect.

    The problem is when you find a fifth grader who can’t read, this is a red flag that the rest of this child’s life is screwed up too.

    Teaching him to read helps but that isn’t going to fix the rest of his environment.

  21. MikeN says:

    Is this that different from other government programs that calculate probabilities?
    How about the comparative effectiveness research being done for medical treatments?

  22. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    Benjamin…Hmeyers is right. Lots of difficult reasons kids that age don’t read: disabilities, dyslexia, severe ADD/ADHD, autism, mental illness, bad eyesight, etc…but a common element in non-readers at that age is low income or poverty which effectively inhibits the parents’ ability to manage the problem. Wait a few years, add cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs to the mix, and a life of crime begins.

  23. Benjamin says:

    #24 Problems like teachers unions, social promotion, focusing on condoms instead of literacy in schools.

    The problems you mentioned are real, but they can be overcome by education. There is no excuse for a teacher not to notice that a child is illiterate by 5th grade.

  24. MikeN says:

    The Obama Administration is revamping the regulatory system with influence from behavioral research.


  25. Breetai says:

    Soo why don’t they just be honest and start disappearing inner city minority kids? At least it’s a more accurate reflection of what government is doing.

  26. Uncle Patso says:

    “Paranoia runs deep
    Into your life it will creep”

    These folks are at least making an effort, trying to find out how best to intervene in the lives of these youngsters in trouble. They have all seen successes (and failures) in the programs available to them and they’re trying to improve the odds. Chances are they’ll have some idea of whether this is any better than the old methods in a year or two.


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