A company called ZeroEyes out of Philadelphia markets a system to police departments that can detect when a person is entering a given facility carrying a gun. It integrates with any number of closed-circuit surveillance systems. But machine learning algorithms don’t just come out of a box knowing how to recognize a firearm any more than a drug dog arrives from the breeder knowing the difference between marijuana and oregano. To teach the algorithm, a team from the company shows up on location and proceeds to stage mock attacks. Slowly, the algorithm begins to learn what a gun looks like in that specific setting, depending on light, angles, and other conditions. They’re currently working with New York City Schools and have a contract with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, but are not yet deployed to the border, said Kenny Gregory, a software engineer at the company.
We’ll stage mock attacks on schoolkids, shoot teachers and call it a training exercise. We’ll further stigmatize the mentally ill, suggest that everybody with a diagnosis is just a murderer in waiting. We’ll make people carry bulletproof backpacks and put dogs and guards on every train. We’ll create fucking PRE-CRIME SOFTWARE in order to watch people every second of every day.
We will do all of that, to avoid doing the one thing that might make a difference.
While some polls show that 70 percent of Americans support stricter gun laws, that number is far lower, about 31 percent, among conservatives. And so the political debate, while fiery, has stalled. Gun-detection algorithms that alert security personnel when an armed person arrives might reduce the number of victims — though likely not as much as if there were no armed shooter in the first place.
Because of the gerrymandered stranglehold the dying GOP and the fascist NRA have on our discourse, we have to have fucking mind-reading algorithms tell us if someone’s carrying a gun because literally anyone might be carrying a gun.
Let us never underestimate our willingness to avoid solving a goddamn problem. Do we really not see how stupid this sounds?