Science fiction has explored the idea of predicting crimes or people’s likelihood to commit them numerous times, most notably in movies like Minority Report or shows like Psycho-Pass, but the technology capable of doing that is actually well within our reach. Microsoft is actually developing a program that can be used on people serving time in jail to determine how likely it is that they’ll return to jail within six months of their release.
Predicting and preventing crime once only seemed possible in science fiction films. But now, Microsoft is developing a program that has the potential to mimic the powers of the ‘precogs’ from the 2002 film Minority Report and stop inmates from becoming recurring offenders. This new technology could predict which inmates will return to jail within six months of their release, based on historical data. ‘It’s all about software that has the ability to predict the future,’ said Jeff King, a senior program manager at Microsoft, in a webcast with police departments earlier this year that has virtually gone unnoticed. The program, which has not been named yet, is still in early development stages and the data used in the proof-of-concept isn’t from real inmates. An algorithm will be used analyze specific data of each inmate, such as their crimes or their behavior while incarcerated. King noted this works with up to 91 percent accuracy based on historic data.
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