My following article below was originally published by SERIOUS WONDER:
Science-Fiction is a magical genre, filled with ideas and imagination, long sought to materialize in the real world. One of the more popular plots of sci-fi are those that affect our justice system – from RoboCop to Minority Report, Almost Human to Persons of Interest. Either we’re handing over the justice system to robots to do our bidding, or we devise an artificially intelligent program to help us instead. Both are certainly within our midst, but what I find most interesting is the latter.
Two companies are on a warpath to help combat human sex trafficking: Google and DARPA. Both known for their work in robotics, A.I., and cybernetic implants, their next venture is in helping the justice system find justice for victims of sex crimes using Machine Learning – a scientific discipline that uses A.I. to help study algorithms of data.
“According to the U.S. Trafficking In Persons Report, there may be more than 20 million trafficking victims at any time in the world, but only about 40,000 victims are identified each year. To connect victims of human trafficking to the organizations who can help them, we recently launched a new feature that displays human trafficking hotline numbers when users type in relevant keywords in search.” – Google
Operating in 14 different languages, Google is currently working with several different organizations based in the United States, Japan, and South Korea to help implement this A.I.-class crime fighter. Using an algorithm to collect search query data on specific keywords, Google has said that they’ve helped the National Human Trafficking Resource Center identify 25 different cases of human trafficking in the United States alone.
“DARPA intends to develop Memex to address a key Defense Department mission: fighting human trafficking. Human trafficking is a factor in many types of military, law enforcement and intelligence investigations and has a significant web presence to attract customers. The use of forums, chats, advertisements, job postings, hidden services, etc., continues to enable a growing industry of modern slavery. An index curated for the counter-trafficking domain, along with configurable interfaces for search and analysis, would enable new opportunities to uncover and defeat trafficking enterprises.” – DARPA
Inspired from a hypothetical device described by Vannevar Bush, director of the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) during World War II (see image above), DARPA is a year in the making of what is known as Memex – a machine learning, A.I. algorithm cataloging subsets of information via search queries in order to, in theory, pinpoint those with interest, or attains an active role, in human trafficking. As a result, Carnegie Mellon University has gifted DARPA with a $3.6 million research grant to help in the development of Memex.
Google and DARPA’s work in the fields of STEM are leading us to a whole new revolution of thinking and ideas. From robotics to A.I., these companies are at the forefront of a new paradigm shift – one which’ll create, not necessarily a utopian nor dystopian society, but a world better than our own today.
In this case, similar to the TV show Persons of Interest, Google and DARPA are dedicating their time, funding, and efforts into ensuring a safer world is upon us, using modern day A.I. as the harbinger of change. Eventually we’ll be using superintelligent A.G.I. (artificial general intelligence) to not only combat human trafficking, but a whole variety of crime throughout the world. What this means for our current justice systems is unclear, but one can be certain that it must adapt to our future A.I. “overlords” if it ever wishes to survive.