"Minority Report" for real

Discussion in 'General' started by Superjoint, Jun 10, 2003.

  1. Computer can predict when, where crimes will occur

    Model can forecast type, number of offences within 10-block area

    Charles Sheehan
    The Associated Press

    Tuesday, June 03, 2003

    CREDIT: David James, The Associated Press

    As a police officer in the film Minority Report, Tom Cruise accesses the visions of a team of psychics to help him find and lock up criminals before they offend.

    PITTSBURGH -- More than a decade of extensive crime data collection matched with new technology may soon allow police to predict, to a surprising degree of accuracy, the number and type of crimes that will occur in a given neighbourhood one month in advance.

    Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University plan to release software later this summer that, according to computer models, can forecast the number and types of crimes that will occur within a 10-block area, with a 20-per-cent error rate.

    "This is the next generation of crime mapping," said Wilpen Gorr, a Carnegie Mellon professor of public policy and management information systems.

    While the computer model seems to be an eerie precursor to the futuristic world Steven Spielberg created in his film Minority Report last year, Mr. Gorr points out that the program will not be able to predict exact crimes. In the film starring Tom Cruise, police officers can predict crimes before they happen -- and then arrest the offenders before they offend. Mr. Gorr's computer model will predict the frequency and type of crimes, and their general location.

    To do that, researchers used crime data from Pittsburgh and Rochester, New York, collected between 1990 and 2001. With models similar to those used in macroeconomics to warn of recession or inflation, Mr. Gorr said researchers matched criminal reports, 911 calls on shots fired, and census data, along with a mishmash of yellow page listings and seasonal variations, to predict crime numbers.

    The ethnic makeup of neighbourhoods was not considered, however, poverty levels and the number of single-mother households were used.

    After running 36,000 separate forecasts for the month ahead based on a decade's worth of crime data, researchers successfully predicted how many burglaries, arsons, aggravated assaults, car thefts and other crimes would take place in the next month in a 10-block area, Mr. Gorr said.

    "It's surprising that it worked at all and the 20-per-cent error area was impressive," Mr. Gorr said. The new system also forecast crimes that would not likely have been anticipated using traditional crime mapping, he said.

    "I think more impressive is that 30 to 40 per cent of the crimes committed could be seen as a real big surprise, something you would not have expected in that area at that time."

    Homicide and some other major crimes were not included because they are scarce, relative to offences such as larceny, Mr. Gorr said.

    © Copyright 2003 The Ottawa Citizen
  2. that movie sucked big time.

    the plot, the acting, the fx. everything.

    and the computer system you mentioned, it's just a statistical database application. nothing new. and as we all know there are three kinds of lies.

    little white one
    big bad ones
    and statistics

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