AI has some very interesting potential in detecting and preventing crimes, but I have trouble seeing how it would do so without some major privacy issues. It's fun to think about though.
Let's say a machine learning system was allowed access to everyone's browser history and purchase activity at minimum. And, since this is for funsies, how about it also tracks your texting & phone conversations, your emails... basically all of your tech activity. Just humor me and don't care about privacy for a minute.
Actually let's quickly address privacy stuff now to get the boring stuff out of the way. If, and this is a big if, we could keep the data completely anonymous and closed off from everything but the machine learning system, then there should be no issue with this data being collected. But even still, bugs and especially hackers are serious concerns. If bugs arise, it would be very hard to debug without looking at the associated data. Maybe you keep data private until that point but nobody's going to like the uncertainty here. And if hackers find ways to exploit the system and expose people's private data, then we are in some serious shit.
Phew, boring stuff over.
It is very plausible that a good machine learning program could detect when high-risk people (i.e. people whose behavior resembles those who might be a mass shooter or terrorist) are attempting to buy or acquire a gun. (If it's under-the-table or black market, then more of the possible privacy monitoring would be needed.) Then authorities could be alerted or the buyer could be required to do a thorough psychological evaluation and background check before being allowed to buy the gun.
That sounds nice. What else can our system do? (This is where we step into precog territory.) I think we should name our system — how about "cognet". Cognet isn't concerned with guns. Cognet is concerned with crimes of any kind. Murder, robbery, arson, fraud, theft, identity theft — cognet has got your back. Worried your AirBnB host is feeling especially lonely, horny, and depressed and is about to get handsy? Worry no more, as cognet will warn you before you even check-in... and may even prevent that person from hosting.
In fact, cognet is pretty good at detecting mental health issues. Cognet will let you know that you're not feeling right, and should consider a relaxing bath, or a comforting conversation with your friend, or even head over to a mental relief sanctuary. Cognet can notify your loved ones or just those willing to help that you are at higher risk of suicide, or high risk of drinking way too much tonight, or about to do some serious buyer's remorse. Cognet is your friend.
And if crimes do happen, you bet your ass cognet is probably going to know who did it, even if us humans are stingy with our private data. At the very least, cognet will whip up a batch of prime suspects within seconds.
Hell, if you take this to the extreme, cognet will actually detect crimes right as they are about to happen, and — with the help of brain chips or cognet's super speedy, efficient robo cops — disarm and temporarily disable the perpetrator until they are apprehended for their... precrime.
Well this definitely escalated more than I anticipated. Of course, cognet knew there was a 92% chance that this is exactly what would happen.