Roba da matti…
Quando ero in parlamento avevo proposto una mozione (bocciata) che chiedeva al governo di proporre ai nostri partner internazionali di proporre una moratoria delle armi letali autonome (LAWS).
Chiesi ad un collega “ma tu ti fidi del tuo computer ?” rispose “del mio no, ma quelli dei militari non sbagliano”.
Questo e’ esattamente l’approccio ignorante fideistico che causa danni terribili come quelli di questo articolo.
Source : The Verge
Robert McDaniel’s troubles began with a knock on the door. It was a weekday in mid-2013, as he made lunch in the crowded three-bedroom house where he lives with his grandmother and several of his adult siblings.
When he went to answer the door, McDaniel discovered not one person, but a cohort of visitors: two police officers in uniform, a neighbor working with the police, and a muscular guy in shorts and a T-shirt sporting short, graying hair.
Police officers weren’t a new sight for McDaniel. They often drove down his tree-lined street in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago making stops and arrests. Out of the 775 homicides tracked by the Chicago Sun-Times in 2020, 72 of them happened in Austin. That’s almost 10 percent of the city’s murder rate, in a region that takes up just 3 percent of its total area. The City of Chicago puts out a “heat map” of where gun crimes occur, with areas of moderate shooting numbers shaded in blue or green. Red splotches represent large numbers — and hottest concentrations — of shootings. On the map, Austin is the color of a fire engine.
Still, this visit from authorities caught McDaniel off guard: at that point in time, he had nothing remotely violent on his criminal record — just arrests for marijuana-related offenses and street gambling. And despite two officers showing up at his front door with the cohort, neither of them, nor anyone else in the cohort, accused McDaniel of breaking the law. They were not there to arrest him. No one was there to investigate a crime. They just wanted to talk.
“I had no idea why these cops were here,” McDaniel says, recounting it to me years later. “I didn’t do shit to bring them here.”
"He could be the shooter, he might get shot. They didn’t know. But the data said he was at risk either way"
He invited them into this home. And when he did, they told McDaniel something he could hardly believe: an algorithm built by the Chicago Police Department predicted — based on his proximity to and relationships with known shooters and shooting casualties — that McDaniel would be involved in a shooting. That he would be a “party to violence,” but it wasn’t clear what side of the barrel he might be on. He could be the shooter, he might get shot. They didn’t know. But the data said he was at risk either way.
McDaniel was both a potential victim and a potential perpetrator, and the visitors on his porch treated him as such. A social worker told him that he could help him if he was interested in finding assistance to secure a job, for example, or mental health services. And police were there, too, with a warning: from here on out, the Chicago Police Department would be watching him. The algorithm indicated Robert McDaniel was more likely than 99.9 percent of Chicago’s population to either be shot or to have a shooting connected to him. That made him dangerous, and top brass at the Chicago PD knew it. So McDaniel had better be on his best behavior.
The idea that a series of calculations could predict that he would soon shoot someone, or be shot, seemed outlandish. At the time, McDaniel didn’t know how to take the news.
But the visit set a series of gears in motion. This Kafka-esque policing nightmare — a circumstance in which police identified a man to be surveilled based on a purely theoretical danger — would seem to cause the thing it predicted, in a deranged feat of self-fulfilling prophecy.
McDaniel had no violent history — no reason, as far as he was concerned, that any police officer should randomly show up to his house and declare him a threat.
“I have no background, so what would even give you probable cause to watch me?” McDaniel told the Tribune in the summer of 2013. “And if you’re watching me, then you can obviously see I’m not doing anything.”
Regardless, people on the forefront of law enforcement technology eventually began to see pre-crime, person-based predictive policing as a real-world possibility.
There are horrifying implications here: identifying and arresting specific people who might commit crimes goes against the very principle upon which the US criminal justice system is based. If individuals are arrested under suspicion of potentially committing a crime, there is no “innocent until proven guilty”; there’s a supposition of guilt. Plus, there’s just so much uncertainty in the technology: What if the data is wrong?
A commander in the police force eventually told me, “If you end up on that list, there’s a reason you’re there,” implying that people on the list are criminals rather than “parties to violence.”
The program was a black box. Mocking the opaqueness of the operation and its seeming ineffectiveness, Second City Cop, a local blog written by anonymous Chicago police officers, began referring to the heat list and its team as the “crystal ball unit.”
McDaniel says that as soon as he was placed on the list, he became a target of constant surveillance by CPD.
Officers did exactly what they promised, he says, and more. Police started hanging around the bodega where he worked, looking for opportunities to go after him, often questioning his managers about his activities and whereabouts.
Everywhere he looked, it seemed, there was a police officer waiting for him, ready to search, to seize. One day, CPD officers stopped by the bodega — without a warrant, McDaniel says, and CPD declined to comment on his specific case. According to McDaniel, police demanded that he open a safe behind the counter. McDaniel didn’t have the combination to the safe, but when the proprietor arrived, he agreed to open it. Inside, the officers found a small amount of marijuana and rolling papers. They charged McDaniel with possession. McDaniel declined to fight it, he says, because he didn’t have the money to do so. Through a spokesperson, CPD declined to comment on McDaniel’s case.
“They lookin’ for shooters and instead all they find is a little bit of weed,” he recalls to me, still incredulous.
The CPD attention didn’t only serve to unnerve McDaniel and cost him fines related to the marijuana charge. Suddenly, a lot of his friends and neighbors didn’t trust him.
““A lotta muthafuckas don’t believe your story.””
It’s no secret that “snitching” is condemned in communities with significant portions of their populations behind bars. But McDaniel wasn’t snitching. He wasn’t even being asked to do so in the first place; if the cohort who showed up on his front door was to be believed, they were merely asking him to accept help and keep out of trouble. That’s not what it looked like to anyone in the neighborhood, McDaniel says, as cops seemed to follow him wherever he went.
McDaniel found himself in a kind of worst-case scenario: police were distrustful of him because of the heat list, while his neighbors and friends were distrustful of him because they assumed he was cooperating with law enforcement — no amount of assurances would convince them he wasn’t.
McDaniel became isolated. Friends stopped talking to him.
A day or two later, while hanging out at a neighbor’s house a block away from his home, McDaniel says, he got a call from someone who, he says, “was supposed to’ve been a friend.” The friend said they were outside McDaniel’s house and wanted him to come outside and explain it again — what the story was, how he’d gotten on the heat list, why people from CPD had visited his home, why he was now being documented by filmmakers.
“It wasn’t high-tech — cops would just use the list as a way to target people”
McDaniel agreed — but as he headed back to his house, a car pulled up. A man fired multiple shots from inside the car. One hit McDaniel in the knee, and his leg gave out.
In McDaniel’s view, the heat list caused the harm its creators hoped to avoid: it predicted a shooting that wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t predicted the shooting.