Is future-crime really a crime?
Yeah, so a big question.
If anybody’s seen the movie “Minority Report”,
where people are arrested for crimes,
before they actually commit them,
just because the data suggests they’re going to commit a crime.
Are we entering this world with so much data available?
And there definitely are clues on the Internet
that people are considering committing a crime.
I mean people really do type
“how to kill your girlfriend” on Google,
or “how to commit a murder”.
And so what should we do with this information as a society?
I think we have to be really, really careful.
There’s an ethical and privacy reason to be careful.
作为社会公民 我们不应违法 产生一些邪恶的念头
As a society, it’s not supposed to be illegal to have bad thoughts.
But I think there’s also a data science reason for this.
One of the things that you do see in this data
is that a lot of people have horrific thoughts,
or make horrific searches,
without ever going through with a horrific action.
So it may be that when we have all this data,
we think we’re just going to be able to figure out like exactly
who is a risk of committing a crime or doing something bad,
but it may be that it’s just really, really hard,
because a huge percentage of people look really, really bad on paper,
but never go through with the action.
There is a study of Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending firm.
So people can apply for loans,
and scholars analyzed the loan application,
what people wrote in their loan application,
and whether they paid back their loan.
And they found that
you could predict whether someone will pay back the loan,
based on the words that person used in their loan application.
So if a person uses the phrase “I promise”,
they’re much less likely to pay back a loan,
because I guess everybody lies,
so “I promise” is a clue
that you’re not going to pay back the loan.
And one of them, one of this more striking indicators,
one of the single highest indicators
you’re not going to pay back the loan,
is if you use the word “God” in your loan application.
And this is kind of a little bit eerie,
and suggests a potentially dark future.
It means that someone, a lender,
would be “wise” to not give a loan
to anybody who mentions God.
If someone says, “God bless you” in a loan application,
they’re put together in a large group of other people,
who tend, on average, not to pay back their loans.
So there’s real danger to some of this big data,
where a lot of the correlation,
everything kind of correlates with everything else,
and sometimes for reasons that we don’t understand,
some words people use, or likes they have on Facebook,
predict that they’re going to do bad things,
even if they’re not really going to do bad things,
and they may be punished without even realizing why.
One thing you see in the Google search data related to religion
is the questions people have,
and they’re usually concentrated in the Bible Belt.
But people have kind of loaded questions about God.
So “why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”,
or “why does God allow suffering?”,
or “why does God need so much praise?”.
These are questions that people might not raise aloud
because, you know,
they don’t want to share their doubts with others.
But they turn to Google,
and ask some really, really loaded questions
about some of the stories that they hear related to religion.