Researchers at the University of Virginia funded by the U.S. Army recently demonstrated that they can not only gather information from your personal Twitter account just like the NSA, but also aggregate and analyze that information with advanced predictive algorithms designed to determine what you’re going to do next. In this case, the researches focused specifically on predicting crime by individuals, as well as in crime “hot spots” around the country.We clearly have entered into a Minority Report world where the dystopian science fiction of the past has been culled for use as a blueprint to control the populations of the future.
Here’s the kicker. The algorithms being used don’t just look for obvious keyword phrases associated with criminal activity like “I’m going to kill you” or “meet me later and we’ll give him a beat down,” but focus in on routine activities, geo-location, and aggregate historical information to calculate the chance of a particular individual being involved in a crime at some point in the future.
A research paper published in the scientific journal Decision Support Systems last month said the analysis of geo-tagged tweets can be useful in predicting 19 to 25 kinds of crimes, especially for offenses such as stalking, thefts and certain kinds of assault.
Gerber said even tweets that have no direct link to crimes may contain information about activities often associated with them.
“The computer algorithm learns the pattern and produces a prediction.”
The study was funded by the US Army, which Gerber said uses similar techniques to determine threats in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan. (source)
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