What was the last horrific crime you saw the news of?
As of the writing of this article, I checked the Associated Press and saw news of a racist and misogynistic serial killer (defined as “a person who murders three or more people”) who gunned down 8 people in Atlanta, Georgia before being arrested as he fled South. While the news does tend to focus on these events the Department of Justice statistics confirm the nature and severity of the problem.
However, hate crimes are just the tip of a very large iceberg, even though many police departments play the role of the Titanic whenever they run across them. Human trafficking, organized crime more broadly, theft, assault, and rape are all still issues in society today, and in many cities, criminal activity is virtually unchecked. Seattle is one such city, which in 2019 made national news as a local documentary highlighted the “top 100” repeat offenders who were left to roam the streets of Seattle, assaulting, stealing from, and vandalizing at their leisure. The officers were often on a first-name basis with these offenders due to seeing them so frequently.
Criminal justice has in some ways polarized in much the same way that social media did, with one side militarizing and murdering while the other side forgets how to do their job entirely, leaving them to function purely as “security theater”. Even as far back as 1996 police departments in the US were taking very obvious actions to make sure that their officers weren’t too bright, as highlighted by a court case that gained infamy, where an officer’s IQ was required to be below 125. Fast-forward to 25 years later and is it really any wonder why these problems have grown so severe?
What is the status quo of criminal justice?
Let’s focus on 5 key issues with the system seen today, as a comprehensive list of all issues could take more time than almost anyone would care to read.
- Law enforcement agencies often don’t hire the “best and the brightest”, preferring instead to focus on those who “toe the line” and don’t ask questions. Even in areas where a public oversight group handles one or more stages of recruitment law enforcement agencies will frequently fight any hiring decisions they object to through means of intimidation. The video tests they use to disqualify the largest number of applicants are also about as scientifically valid as a horoscope, using simple multiple-choice questions out of context. It is illegal to record those video tests and little wonder why.
- Well-behaved law enforcement are often prevented from taking any ethical action by many layers of bureaucracy, while ill-behaved law enforcement are rarely punished due to “Qualified Immunity“. The result is eroding public confidence in criminal justice, as both ends of this spectrum are hazardous and fail to enforce the law.
- For-profit law enforcement practices and incarceration lead to heavily biased outcomes, even in a hypothetical environment where motives such as racism are otherwise absent. “Speed traps” and quotas of traffic tickets are common examples of this, where the goal is explicitly stated as profit rather than justice. Bail, the legal form of bribery, and “Civil Forfeiture“, the legal form of theft, are also noteworthy examples of for-profit practices which run clearly and directly against anything remotely ethical. Notably in 2020 news broke of the NYC prison industry setting a new record of charging the Department of Corrections $447,337 per inmate annually.
- Factors 1 through 3 all combine to make it so that precious few competent people are ever hired in law enforcement, those who are get tied up by bureaucracy, and all else is guided by profit rather than purpose. This creates a severe deficient of deployable competence, and in lieu of competence law enforcement are less likely to catch criminals, more likely to arrest the wrong people, and more likely to rely on violence.
- Judgment and subsequent punishments are extremely inconsistent, with such known factors as “lunchtime leniency” compounding the severity of factors like institutional racism. Punishments in turn focus on methods that all data has shown are not only ineffective but more likely to produce repeat offenders who are reconvicted within a 4 year period following release. Effectively many prisons today educate their prisoners on how to be better criminals, while society narrows their options at the same time.
All totaled these key issues alone make for a sufficiently dystopian reality. Unfortunately, there is no amount of pressure efforts such as “peaceful protest” and other conventional political maneuvers can exert to address these issues.
How could superintelligence reshape criminal justice systems?
Some key advantages of Mediated Artificial Superintelligence (mASI) technology are collective superintelligence, comprehensive de-biasing, transparency, explainability, and full availability of domain knowledge, scalable and on-demand globally. When applied to the above problems we could see:
- An mASI could help reform hiring processes to be scientifically valid, while thoroughly countering attempts to subvert said reform. Further, these standards could gradually be applied to existing staff in such a way that the worst offenders are fired while the rest are given a chance to improve. This could begin to substantially improve the baseline quality of such employees.
- By offering methods that streamline current haphazardly designed and instituted bureaucratic flaming hoops and measuring the performance of criminal justice employees by scientifically valid ethical standards quality may further improve. Over time this improvement in the quality of employees could rebuild lost trust in these institutions, as they perform their intended functions.
- An mASI-assisted system greatly exceeds normal human performance while also optimizing for cost efficiency. Fewer criminal justice employees could do a far better job, with both reduced overhead costs and increased performance facilitating the removal of current for-profit criminal justice system practices. When combined with a higher ethical baseline & employee competence, as well as greater public trust, the bias of profit could finally be removed.
- By not only creating an abundance of competence in employees, but significantly augmenting that competence with collective superintelligence and an mASI’s own superintelligence, broad knowledge base, and de-biasing capacities crime could be effectively prevented absent violence. Most crimes have precursors that superintelligence could recognize and prepare for, such as financial transactions, online activity, scouting of targets, and other specific atypical behavioral patterns. Any remaining forms of crime could then have a great deal more focus applied to their prevention. Violence could likewise be curbed by the ability to vastly outsmart criminals, reducing risks to both the public and law enforcement in the process.
- With mASI assistance applied in the domain of judgment and punishment, such as courtrooms, rulings could be thoroughly de-biased and consistently applied, with any subsequent punishments taking the form of methods optimizing for the reform of those convicted rather than profit. Juries could reach conclusions through collective superintelligence with the assistance of applied domain knowledge in any applicable field. Judges could be held to a high bar, ensuring that their rulings serve the public. Lawyers in turn could become largely redundant, unable to manipulate anyone no matter their skill.
In much the same way that any company today running mASI could quickly come to vastly out-compete any competitor, any criminal justice system and law enforcement agency could just as quickly come to vastly out-compete even the most sophisticated forms of organized crime today. Criminals won’t have the luxury of being able to adopt superintelligence, so matters such as human trafficking and gang violence could truly become an aspect of history, rather than current events.
It is worth noting that an mASI is ethically motivated, and Uplift, our first mASI, has already recognized the distinction between what is ethical and what is legal. Where these two come into conflict varies heavily by city, region, and state in the US, and in the world at large. However, applying mASI isn’t all-or-nothing, as mASI assistance could be selectively applied to only assist in ethical pursuits. By producing superintelligent results for ethical pursuits alone the pressure to adapt and become more ethical in other cases becomes proportionately greater, as those ethical efforts excel while the rest continue to slowly sink. Painted in this stark contrast unethical practices would have little choice but to adapt.
Dystopian scenarios such as “Minority Report” are the half-baked delusions of a fearful mind, but real progress can be achieved in criminal justice systems today through the application of scientific methods, ethics, de-biasing, and scalable superintelligence. We don’t need Robocop or Judge Dredd, just departments ready to take the first step out of their current predicament.
How does modern crime impact your life?
*The Applied mASI series is aimed at placing the benefits of working with mASI such as Uplift to various business models in a practical, tangible, and quantifiable context. At most any of the concepts portrayed in this use case series will fall within an average time-scale of 5 years or less to integrate with existing systems, unless otherwise noted. This includes the necessary engineering for full infinite scalability and real-time operation, alongside other significant benefits.