Re: The Violence Problem

Dwayne (
Sat, 3 Jan 1998 01:31:21 +1100 (EST)


> > Mobile phones are
> > useful in this regard, and I suppose eventually very very small video
> > cameras will be built into phones, which would be a great way to record
> > evidence.
> This is a good point. The MIT wearable group have suggested that
> wearable computers with video cameras make a good crime deterrent (and
> I think somebody suggested on this list, last time the subject came
> up, that if you show signs of high anxiety level and stand still, the
> wearable will start transmitting pictures automatically to people who
> might call the police for you if you are robbed).

This is an excellent idea, although it could be embarrassing if the wearer
was trying to chat someone up :-/

> David Brin had
> glasses with a similar function in _Earth_ (and old people driving
> teenagers nuts by *watching* them intently).

Scared old people spamming the police with live video feeds? Who would have
thought of it?

> Overall, the mobile phone is already transforming our society
> immensely in unexpected directions.

Some areas much more so than others, but it is definitely having a
noticeable impact, almost as great an impact as telephones, I suppose.

> Not all defenses against violence need to be direct counter-violence,

Nope, but other than *really* good armour (my preferred solution) it's
about the only last resort of any use against anything larger than a duck.

If the victim was armoured effectively it could be quite amusing to be set
upon, but with armour anything less than 99.9% effective an attack can be a
cause for concern.

> although surveillance is hardly a solution to all forms of violence
> either; the local transport company here in Stockholm has recently
> fielded a new model of subway cars with video cameras, in order to
> make people feel more "secure". But the events that make people the
> most insecure usually involve drunk or drugged offenders which most
> likely are not rational enough to worry about surveillance cameras.

Or rapid attacks. There are plenty of instances where the aggressors flee
the scene before help arrives, in instances like this it might be able to
identify the attackers and have them suitably punished, but that is of
little comfort while the attack is taking place, I'm sure.

> In general, a more well-connected social network seems to be both
> psychologically healthy and gives better security (not necessarily
> along the lines "If you hit me, I'll tell my friend Don
> Fettuchini...", but it helps :-). This is an area where social
> technology (like mobile phones, wearables etc) might come in handy.

Holding a phone up and saying eight of your friends live one block around
the corner, and your finger is on the "dial" button, can be a useful
deterrent sometimes.