Could Computers Predict Crimes Before They Happen?

One of the most intriguing (though highly flawed) shows of the new TV season is "Person of Interest," the CBS crime show built on the back of our new surveillance state.

The premise: A mysterious genius invents a massive computer for the government that analyzes unfathomable amounts of electronic surveillance data (phone calls, emails, security camera footage) to predict terrorist attacks before they happen. However, the program is so good that it also predicts more mundane crimes like domestic disputes and police corruption that the government ignores. So the genius hires a equally mysterious ex-Special Forces badass and they become a crime fighting duo for the little guy.

The reason it's intriguing is that the idea isn't that far-fetched in the real world. The Los Angeles Times reports on researchers at UCLA who have been working with the LAPD on a computer model that analyzes data of past crimes to identify the perpetrators of gang activity, including which gangs and members are likely to be responsible for certain crimes.

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

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