The Future of Crime

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Narrating fictional scenarios may set the pertinent context for deliberations on ‘The Future of Crime’. Popular movie ‘Minority Report’ directed by Steven Spielberg builds around the premise; if criminals can be stopped before they even act. Crimes are predicted based on leveraging mutated humans, known as “Precogs” who can “Previsualize” crimes by receiving visions of the future. The future criminals are imprisoned in their own cheerful virtual reality. From a common man’s perspective, we yet don’t have the knowledge of existence of visionary mutated humans. But imagine, if this becomes reality and all federal governments globally plan to adopt it. More than enough to digest!

Let us look at one more scenario from the movie ‘Judge Dread’ which revolves around the time when Earth becomes an uninhabitable wasteland to live in the age of 2080. In this movie, traditional justice system is replaced by corps of judges who are responsible to perform the role of police officer, judge, jury and executioner. In brief, it depicts a dystopian world. There is no harm in learning from fictional scenarios like these, as someday they may come out to be true. Scenarios like these can help us to chart out the crimes of the future, how they will be conducted, and what steps we can take to stop them proactively and not reactively.

The human race stands at the crossroads with numerous questions such as but not limited to: (I) Do we need to be afraid of techno-utopia? (II) How do we decipher darker underbelly of future criminal societies? (III) What happens if the technology we marvel at, goes into wrong hands? (IV) Are we ready for Robo-Apocalypse? Citing few examples which would assign gravity on why prediction on future of crime is imperative: in Mexico, drug cartels built their own national encrypted mobile ecosystem; during 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, terrorists leveraged modern communication systems connected to a command and control centre and were equipped with night vision glasses; in contrast of traditional knife & gun loots, a person was able to rob 100 million through Sony PlayStation. Hackers have already started to work on hacking life by cracking DNA codes, as if it’s an operating system, through which one would be able to print bio-viruses and build personalized bio-weapons. It is also believed that in the information age, with more connections, we are getting exposed to more vulnerabilities, resulting in the situation ‘if you control the code, you control the future’.

Nat Geo’s ‘Year Million’ is not just a fiction but will hold reality soon. Are we equipped to tackle the dark side of it? Because the preparedness may set the future course of our lives; either we will become the ultimate species with minimum or no crime or we will end up being on the losing side in the game of handling crimes. Technological evolution has gifted our world with uncountable possibilities. Every new technology or innovation has its detrimental flip side but still we fail to imagine how they can be used against us. At the same time, criminals are canny enough to understand the emerging technology landscape and leverage it for their benefits. This warrants deliberations on the landscape of probable future crimes which may haunt us in upcoming times.

Where does even one begin to imagine the crimes of the future? The list is never ending with examples such as avatar hijacking, kidnapping via self-driven cars, remote hijacking of airplanes, murders via Smart Cars, mass 3D printing of advance weapons for illegal use, cartels delivering drugs with pocket size drones, bio-terrorism recipes available online, etc. The dissection of future of crimes may prime us in understanding how future criminals may make use of technologies of tomorrow, including robotics, synthetic biology, nanotechnology, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. Humans need to prioritize their understanding regarding the future of crimes if they do not want to be exposed to a large set of risk and vulnerabilities.

Register Now for AISS 2017 to attend this interesting session and be apprised of what the future holds for us. https://www.dsci.in/aiss-2017/

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