Class Warfare Blog

February 19, 2020

Whoa! Really … Whoa!

An article in the most recent issue of Scientific American had this title and subtitle: Will Past Criminals Reoffend? Humans Are Terrible at Guessing, and Computers Aren’t Much Better A new study finds algorithms’ predictions are slightly superior but not under all circumstances

I don’t give a rat’s ass about the predictability of recidivism. Even if we had perfect predictions, what would we do with those predictions? Keep someone in jail because our AI says that he is just going to go out and commit another crime? Is it no longer “three strikes and you are out?” Is it is one strike and a computer’s say so?

So, a person gets picked up for littering or vagrancy and the judge was feeling grumpy and sentences them to a month in county jail. Then the counties AI says there is a 100% chance this guy will go out and commit another crime. Then what? Then fucking what?

Why is any one investigating this ability? Are we going to go all in with precogs like in the Tom Cruise movie The Minority Report?

Where are the small government people screaming to get the government out of our lives? Is this another situation like the anti-abortion people being also pro-death penalty? Life is sacred until somebody pisses me off? We’re in favor of small government except. . . .

Does anyone seriously want this ability?


  1. Yeah, no.


    Comment by john zande — February 19, 2020 @ 1:23 pm | Reply

    • Effing A. What are these people thinking? I guest it has been a common trope since the invention of Golems and Frankenstein’s monster, that we will trip over our own feet to meet our doom.

      On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 1:23 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 19, 2020 @ 1:26 pm | Reply

  2. It’s almost like a story by Kafka, isn’t it? Even more scary is that some police departments are experimenting with “predictive” AI which the makers claim can predict if a person will commit a crime in the future based on some criteria. “Officer, why am I being arrested? I didn’t do anything!” “True, but our computer says you will shoplift a bottle of catsup next month so we’ll just lock you up now.”

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by grouchyfarmer — February 19, 2020 @ 10:41 pm | Reply

    • Soon to be followed by ‘Who are you gonna trust … us or your lying eyes?”

      On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 10:41 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 20, 2020 @ 7:36 am | Reply

  3. I’m pretty sure an algorithm may be able to predict the recidivism rate for a certain large group of people. I don’t think it will ever be accurate in predicting the behavior of a specific person.


    Comment by List of X — February 21, 2020 @ 2:54 pm | Reply

    • And you trust that algorithm to be used that way? This is my main point. People take a “function” and misrepresent, then mis-use it. Often this is based upon claims made, rather than claims demonstrated and tested. Th eprime example I have in memory is Bill Gates debuting Windows 1.0. He had no code that worked yet so he made up a series of screen shots and portrayed the computer as if it were working.

      On Fri, Feb 21, 2020 at 2:54 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 22, 2020 @ 11:21 am | Reply

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