Pre-Crime Detection System Now Being Tested in the U.S.
The Future Attribute Screening Technology project (FAST) was not dreamed up by Philip K. Dick, but it could have been. Lead by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the initiative aims to use sensor technology to detect cues "indicative of mal-intent," defined by the DHS as intent or desire to cause real harm -- "rapidly, reliably, and remotely." It would be used, they say, to fight terror.
The FAST system has the capability to monitor physiological and behavioral cues without contact. That means capturing data like the heart rate and steadiness of gaze of passengers about to board a plane. The cues are then run through algorithms in real-time to compute the probability that an individual is planning to commit a crime. According to the science journal Nature, the first round of field tests for the program was completed in an undisclosed location in the northeast several months ago. In lab tests, the FAST has a reported 70% accuracy rate.
Dystopian as that may sound, there is at least one clear improvement on the system we have now: the sensors are "culturally neutral," says the DHS, which may help eliminate the racial profiling which is allegedly allowed by the TSA screening process in American airports today.
"It is encouraging to see an effort to develop a real empirical base for new technologies before any policy commitments are made," Tom Ormerod, a psychologist in the Investigative Expertise Unit at Lancaster University told Nature.
For a nuanced discussion on the intuitive nature of crime and punishment, watch our interview with Sam Gosling, a professor of psychology at University of Texas Austin, who argues that investigators solve crimes by developing sensitivity to "the residue of our acts that we leave inadvertently on our space."
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Neuroscience is working to conquer some of the human body's cruelest conditions: Paralysis, brain disease, and schizophrenia.
- Neuroscience and engineering are uniting in mind-blowing ways that will drastically improve the quality of life for people with conditions like epilepsy, paralysis or schizophrenia.
- Researchers have developed a brain-computer interface the size of a baby aspirin that can restore mobility to people with paralysis or amputated limbs. It rewires neural messages from the brain's motor cortex to a robotic arm, or reroutes it to the person's own muscles.
- Deep brain stimulation is another wonder of neuroscience that can effectively manage brain conditions like epilepsy, Parkinson's, and may one day mitigate schizophrenia so people can live normal, independent lives.
As Game of Thrones ends, a revealing resolution to its perplexing geography.
- The fantasy world of Game of Thrones was inspired by real places and events.
- But the map of Westeros is a good example of the perplexing relation between fantasy and reality.
- Like Britain, it has a Wall in the North, but the map only really clicks into place if you add Ireland.
A recent study gives new meaning to the saying "fake it 'til you make it."
- The study involves four experiments that measured individuals' socioeconomic status, overconfidence and actual performance.
- Results consistently showed that high-class people tend to overestimate their abilities.
- However, this overconfidence was misinterpreted as genuine competence in one study, suggesting overestimating your abilities can have social advantages.
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