Minority Report is reality, kinda (and APIEpicFail)

By Richi Jennings. July 27, 2010.

Tom Cruise source:MTV Live (cc:by-sa)
Science fiction becomes reality in today's IT Blogwatch. Minority Report is here -- no, not the arm-wavy user interfaces, but pre-crime analytics, courtesy of IBM's Blue CRUSH. Read on to find bloggers getting to grips with Armonk's precogs.

Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention Error'd...


    Rebecca Lefort gets analytically retentive:

The system, known as Crush ... evaluates crime records, intelligence briefings, offender profiles and even weather reports, to identify ... where a crime is most likely to occur. ... Criminal Reduction Utilising Statistical History ... has been developed by IBM which has invested $11 billion in analytics over the past four years.


[CRUSH] has been credited as a key factor behind a 31 per cent fall in crime and 15 per cent drop in violent crime in Memphis, Tennessee.

Tony Thompson tells all:

[It can] identify potential hot spots and flashpoints, so police ... can allocate resources to areas where particular crimes are most likely to occur. ... The system has also been credited with improving morale among officers of the Memphis police.


The names of the two UK forces using the software have not been revealed. ... [It] has sparked inevitable comparisons with ... Minority Report in which police "pre-crime" units use predictions made by psychics. ... Critics say the use of such technology ... could destroy centuries of legal precedent, leading to a generation who are innocent only until predicted guilty.

Darren Allan wants the UI technology from the movie:

Now all the police need is to get Microsoft’s Kinect installed in incident rooms around the country, so they can do all that Minority Report style arm waving stuff to navigate through computer menus, and they’ll be golden. Perhaps.

But Patrick Goss remembers the original book, not the Tom Cruise flick:

Philip K Dick's Minority Report ... saw a troika of precogs making predictions as to who would offend and where it would happen, but IBM's Criminal Reduction Utilising Statistical History (Crush) software is very much computer based.


Of course, the computer is essentially looking for patterns – a technique used by the police for years. ... But as long as they are developing sicksticks to slow down the 'pre-offenders' when they get to them we're all for it.

Lucian Constantin adds:

IBM explains that the CRUSH system does what police officers were already doing, but on a whole new level and with much more speed. ... [The company] aims to increase the number of sources the program can process, with CCTV camera feeds and Facebook posts being strong candidates.

Meanwhile, Sophie Curtis looks for other applications:

The trials follow successful testing in the US by the Memphis Police Department of its own system called “Blue CRUSH”. ... IBM is now working with more than 250,000 clients worldwide on predictive analytics, including commercial banks, telecommunications operators and retailers.

And Finally...

APIEpicFail, and more Error'd

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com.

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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