1. Is Artificial Intelligence the next step in Big Data tackling crime?
In the past few years tackling crime has become more technological, aided by ‘Big Data’, a popular term used to describe the exponential growth and availability of data, both structured and unstructured from an exponential number of sources, from loyalty card schemes and till receipts to medical records and tax returns and so on. (SAS, n.d.)
One of the most forward thinking uses for big data, quite literally, is tackling crime. Big data is already being used by US State and Federal law enforcement agencies to discover hidden patterns in criminal activities between individuals and criminal organisations to predict future crime patterns. But what’s the next step for big data tackling crime, one path becoming ever more probable is Artificial Intelligence.
What is artificial intelligence, and how does this differ from big data? H.O Maycotte, founder and CEO of a data rights management company says ‘AI adds an intelligence layer to big data to tackle complex analytical tasks faster than humans could ever hope to.’ So an A.I. is a kind of intelligence — and therefore not just a set of systems that react the way humans have programmed them to (no wonder Stephan Hawking fears AIs could take over), but how does this relate to stopping crime?
Whereas Big Data simply collects the data ready for agencies to analyse an Artificial Intelligence would also be the analyst. An AI would assimilate the acquired data into a data management repository where it can be analysed in real time before identifying whether a crime may be about to be committed.
So, what are these tools of analysis?
Pattern analysis – The ability to identify an individual or group through recognising and matching voice, video, graphics, or other multi-structured data types.
Social network (graph) analysis – analysing nodes and links between persons. Possibly using call detail records, web data (Facebook, Twitter and more).
Sentiment analysis – Perhaps the most crucial aspect, a machine doesn’t have the sentiment of human beings, and therefore if an AI scans data to reveal someone saying; “I’d kill for that job” – it must be able to tell if they really mean they would murder someone, or if this just a figure of speech
Path analysis – What are the most frequent steps, paths or destinations by those predicted to be dangerous? (Barsch, 2013)
There are issues of course, what’s to say an AI doesn’t see crime as the best way of stopping crime (a gang ‘taking out’ another gang could help stop crime) so clearly it must be taught to value all human life. Privacy is another notable issue, is our safety worth the loss of privacy an AI would bring? (Beta News, n.d.) Although is it really any more exploited than currently with big data? The most notable issue is human beings themselves, it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that it would be the target of hacking or that it could be used as a weapon by the government to wipe out criminals even without action being taken (i’m sure we’ve all seen minority report). Obviously such an invention would need to be a closed system, unable to be hacked or altered by us for personal gain.
If such a system could be built, both impenetrable and untouchable, this could open the possibility for using even more sources to detect potential crime, going as far as our text messages, phone calls and computer files. With data sources such as those, there would be nowhere to hide from an AI.
Big data is a lethal weapon for tackling crime, but with an Artificial Intelligence the possibilities are endless.
What do you think? Is an AI a good next step for using big data to tackle crime, or are the risks and issues too great?
(And hey, perhaps the government has built an AI that is watching us all right now, perhaps I’ve uncovered a government conspiracy, if I wind up dead in the next few hours, you know why)
Barsch, Paul. ‘Technologies And Analyses In CBS’ Person Of Interest’. Just Like Davos. N.p., 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.
BetaNews,. ‘Big Data Is The New Artificial Intelligence’. N.p., 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.
Laudon, Kenneth., Laudon, Jane. Does Big Data Bring Big Rewards?. 2015
Maycotte, H.O. ‘Why Big Data And AI Need Each Other — And You Need Them Both’. Forbes. N.p., 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2015
Rosen, Jeffrey. ‘Total Information Awareness’. The New York Times. N.p., 2002. Web. 10 Mar. 2015. .
SAS,. ‘What Is Big Data?’. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.
2. Big Data – possibilities or hype ?
In recent years ‘Big Data’ and its possibilities has become an important topic in both the IT and business world. It is expected that the digital universe will grow by a factor of 300 from 2005-2020 (IDC 2012). But what is Big Data?
Big data is claimed to be comprised of three main characteristics; the data itself, the analysis of the data and how the results of the analysis are interpreted and presented. As in the case study Big data can be used for a number of reasons from the NYPD fighting crime to Vestas reducing their carbon footprint and can even be used by companies to develop customer loyalty programs. Is there no end to the possibilities of big data?
Big data technologies are currently being developed and innovated to become the new generation of technologies which are designed to economically extract value from large volumes of a wide variety of data. Allowing for useful analysis which will greatly benefit society; surveillance footage can be captured, analysed and tagged in real time; allowing aiding in crime investigations and improving military intelligence; medical devices will be able to track the effectiveness of medicines and correlate the body with health and monitor potential outbreaks of viruses; track entertainment and social media to help establish ‘the next big thing’ giving companies a competitive advantage over competitors and also allow companies to develop loyalty schemes based on their target markets (Kmart and Sears).
So if big data can help society in so many fundamental ways what’s the big issue? IDM estimated that 1/3 of data contains information that should be protected by privacy laws to protect individuals against theft or prevent digital snooping however only approximately 20% is actually protected. Furthermore it has previously been discovered companies using big data information to price discriminate; those using Apple products were charged more online than others. It’s clear that society needs to implement new guidelines and protection laws to keep consumers safe.
Do you think the risks to us as consumers are really worth it?
Can Big Data really do what’s claimed and radically shape society?
Gantz, J., & Reinsel, D. (2012). The digital universe in 2020: Big data, bigger digital shadows, and biggest growth in the far east. IDC iView: IDC Analyze the Future, 2007, 1-16.