Oppose AI in crime solving

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (sentience@pobox.com)
Tue, 01 Jun 1999 17:54:45 -0500

Re: http://www.wired.com/news/news/technology/story/19940.html

"Thinking Like a Serial Killer"

> The Washington state attorney general's office is
> currently testing neural network software designed to
> comb through thousands of crime reports to track down
> serial killers and rapists. Neural networks are computer
> systems designed to find patterns in data by mimicking
> human thought processes.

Do these guys have any idea how easy it is to fool an AI? Even a human-equivalent mind wouldn't have any of the defenses humans evolved over the generations, and a neural network is deterministically misleadable. While I strongly support the development of AI, I categorically oppose the use of any AI in social structures; it's just too easy to abuse or outright crack. Opaque AI like neural networks is even worse.

Imagine the following scene in your local courtroom:

Prosecutor: You're accused of killing eight nuns with an icepick. Defendant: What's the evidence?
Prosecutor: Our neural network says you did it. Defendant: Why does it say that?
Prosecutor: Um, nobody knows.
Defendant: That's it? That's your evidence? Prosecutor [to jury]: Hey, look at all these cool blinking lights!

                       Technology!  Whoo-ah!  It's never wrong!
Jury:       Guilty.
Judge:      I sentence you to death.

But that would require government stupidity, right? So I'm sure it will never happen.

           sentience@pobox.com          Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Running on BeOS           Typing in Dvorak          Programming with Patterns
Voting for Libertarians   Heading for Singularity   There Is A Better Way