I have a new article up at Loyola University’s Center for Digital Ethics & Policy exploring the ethics of big data and pre-crime monitoring. Think Minority Report, but without Tom Cruise.
Minority Report’s claims about free will could keep a philosophy class going for hours, but the real relevance of the film, as with any serious science fiction, is in its prophetic power. No, we don’t have superhuman psychic mutants, but we do have big data, and as early as 2005, some U.S. police departments were using predictive tech to effectively identify negative trends and reduce crime in certain cities, like Memphis and Minneapolis. But that was more than a decade ago. A lot has changed since then, and the evolutionary rate shows no sign of cessation. We’re more connected now, and more and more of our lives are being sent to the cloud. As a result, we’ve laid a strong groundwork for a total surveillance society.