Values and Consequences in Predictive Machine Evaluation. A Sociology of Predictive Policing

  • Bilel Benbouzid LISIS-UPEM

Abstract

Predictive policing is a research field whose principal aim is to develop machines for predicting crimes, drawing on machine learning algorithms and the growing availability of a diversity of data. This paper deals with the case of the algorithm of PredPol, the best-known startup in predictive policing. The mathematicians behind it took their inspiration from an algorithm created by a French seismologist, a professor in earth sciences at the University of Savoie. As the source code of the PredPol platform is kept inaccessible as a trade secret, the author contacted the seismologist directly in order to try to understand the predictions of the company’s algorithm. Using the same method of calculation on the same data, the seismologist arrived at a different, more cautious interpretation of the algorithm's capacity to predict crime. How were these predictive analyses formed on the two sides of the Atlantic? How do predictive algorithms come to exist differently in these different contexts? How and why is it that predictive machines can foretell a crime that is yet to be committed in a California laboratory, and yet no longer work in another laboratory in Chambéry?  In answering these questions, I found that machine learning researchers have a moral vision of their own activity that can be understood by analyzing the values and material consequences involved in the evaluation tests that are used to create the predictions.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Anderson MJ (1990) The American Census: A Social History. :Yale University Press. Result score too low

Beer D (2009) Power through the algorithm? Participatory web cultures and the technological unconscious. New Media & Society 11(6): 985–1002. DOI: 10.1177/1461444809336551.

https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444809336551

Benbouzid B (2015) From situational crime prevention to predictive policing. Champ pénal/Penal field (Vol. XII). DOI: 10.4000/champpenal.9066.

https://doi.org/10.4000/champpenal.9066

Bernard P (2003) Qu’est-ce qui fait trembler la terre ? A l’origine des catastrophes sismiques. Les Ulis, France: EDP Sciences. Result score too low

Boltanski L and Thévenot L (2006) On Justification: Economies of Worth. Princeton University Press. Result score too low

Cambrosio A, Keating P, Schlich T, et al. (2006) Regulatory objectivity and the generation and management of evidence in medicine. Social Science & Medicine (1982) 63(1): 189–199. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.12.007.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.12.007

Cardon D (2016) Deconstructing the Algorithm : four types types of digital calculations. In: Algorithmic Cultures. Routledge. Result score too low

Daston L (1995) The Moral Economy of Science. Osiris 10. 2nd Series: 2–24. Result score too low

Deleuze G (2006) The Fold. New edition edition. London ; New York: Continuum. Result score too low

Desrosières A (2002) The Politics of Large Numbers: A History of Statistical Reasoning. Harvard University Press. Result score too low

Diakopoulos N (2014) Algorithmic Accountability Reporting: On the Investigation of Black Boxes. Available at: https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:2ngf1vhhn4 (accessed 28 September 2017). Result score too low

Domingos P (2017) The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World. 01 ed. Penguin Books Ltd. Result score too low

Dourish P (2016) Algorithms and their others: Algorithmic culture in context. Big Data & Society 3(2): 2053951716665128. DOI: 10.1177/2053951716665128.

https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951716665128

Hacking I (1990) The Taming of Chance. 1 edition. Cambridge England ; New York: Cambridge University Press. Result score too low

Hacking I (1999) The Social Construction of What? Harvard University Press. Result score too low

Hofman J, Sharma A and Watts D (2017) Prediction and explanation in social systems. Science 355. Available at: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/publication/prediction-explanation-social-systems/ (accessed 2 January 2018).

https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aal3856

Ingold T (2013) Making: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art and Architecture. Routledge. Result score too low

Latour B (1987) Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society. Harvard University Press. Result score too low

Latour B (2010) Prendre le pli des techniques. Réseaux 163(5): 11–31. DOI: 10.3917/res.163.0011.

https://doi.org/10.3917/res.163.0011

Latour B (2012) Enquête sur les modes d’existence: une anthropologie des modernes. La Découverte.

https://doi.org/10.3917/socio.041.0095

Latour B and Venn C (2002) Morality and Technology. Theory, Culture & Society 19(5–6): 247–260. DOI: 10.1177/026327602761899246.

https://doi.org/10.1177/026327602761899246

Latour B, Woolgar S and Salk J (1992) Laboratory Life – The Construction of Scientific Facts. Reprint. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press. Result score too low

Mackenzie D (2004) Mechanizing Proof – Computing, Risk and Trust. New Ed. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. Result score too low

Main I (1999) Is the reliable prediction of individual earthquakes a realistic scientific goal? 397(1). Available at: http://www.nature.com/nature/debates/earthquake/index.html?foxtrotcallback=true (accessed 29 September 2017). Result score too low

Manning PK (2008) The Technology of Policing: Crime Mapping, Information Technology, and the Rationality of Crime Control. NYU Press. Result score too low

Marsan D and Lengliné O (2008) Extending Earthquakes’ Reach Through Cascading. Science 319(5866): 1076–1079. DOI: 10.1126/science.1148783.

https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1148783

Mittelstadt BD, Allo P, Taddeo M, et al. (2016) The ethics of algorithms: Mapping the debate. Big Data & Society 3(2): 2053951716679679. DOI: 10.1177/2053951716679679.

https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951716679679

Mohler GO, Short MB, Brantingham PJ, et al. (2011) Self-Exciting Point Process Modeling of Crime. Journal of the American Statistical Association 106(493): 100–108. DOI: 10.1198/jasa.2011.ap09546.

https://doi.org/10.1198/jasa.2011.ap09546

Mohler GO, Short MB, Malinowski S, et al. (2015) Randomized Controlled Field Trials of Predictive Policing. Journal of the American Statistical Association 110(512): 1399–1411. DOI: 10.1080/01621459.2015.1077710.

https://doi.org/10.1080/01621459.2015.1077710

Ogien R and Tappolet C (2009) Les concepts de l’éthique : Faut-il être conséquentialiste ? Paris: Editions Hermann.

https://doi.org/10.7202/045204ar

Olazaran M (1996) A Sociological Study of the Official History of the Perceptrons Controversy. Social Studies of Science 26(3): 611–659. DOI: 10.1177/030631296026003005.

https://doi.org/10.1177/030631296026003005

O’Neil C (2016) Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy. New York: Crown.

https://doi.org/10.12957/rmi.2016.25939

Pease K and Tseloni A (2014) Using Modeling to Predict and Prevent Victimization. Springer Science & Business Media. Result score too low

Perry WL (2013) Predictive Policing: The Role of Crime Forecasting in Law Enforcement Operations. Rand Corporation. Result score too low

Porter TM (1996) Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life. Princeton University Press. Result score too low

Robbins J (2010) On the Pleasures and Dangers of Culpability. Critique of Anthropology 30(1): 122–128. DOI: 10.1177/0308275X09360136.

https://doi.org/10.1177/0308275x09360136

Rouvroy A and Berns T (2013) Gouvernementalité algorithmique et perspectives d’émancipation. Réseaux 177(1): 163–196. DOI: 10.3917/res.177.0163.

https://doi.org/10.3917/res.177.0163

Sandvig C, Hamilton K, Karahalios K, et al. (2014) Auditing Algorithms: Research Methods for Detecting Discrimination on Internet Platforms. Data and Discrimination: Converting Critical Concerns into Productive Inquiry. DOI: {{{doi}}}. Result score too low

Shmueli G (2010) To Explain or to Predict? Statistical Science 25(3): 289–310. DOI: 10.1214/10-STS330. Result score too low

Simondon G (2012) Du mode d’existence des objets techniques. Paris: Editions Aubier. Result score too low

Simondon G (2016) On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects. Univocal Publishing LLC. Result score too low

Teil G and Latour B (2017) The Hume machine. Can association networks do more than formal rules ? Stanford Humanities Review 4, 4(2, 2). Available at: http://prodinra.inra.fr/?locale=fr#!ConsultNotice:153889 (accessed 9 February 2018). Result score too low

van Stiphout T, Zhuang J and Marsan D (2012) Seismicity declustering. Available at: http://www.corssa.org. Result score too low

Walker S (2004) Science and Politics in Police Research: Reflections on Their Tangled Relationship. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 593(1): 137–155. DOI: 10.1177/0002716203262699.

https://doi.org/10.1177/0002716203262699

Weisburd D and Braga AA (eds) (2006) Police Innovation: Contrasting Perspectives. Cambridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press.

https://doi.org/10.1177/0734016808314543

Weisburd D, Bernasco W and Bruinsma GJN (2009) Putting Crime in Its Place: Units of Analysis in Geographic Criminology. Springer.

https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-09688-9

Zarsky T (2016) The Trouble with Algorithmic Decisions. Science, Technology, & Human Values 41(1): 118–132. DOI: 10.1177/0162243915605575. Result score too low

Ziewitz M (2016) Governing Algorithms: Myth, Mess, and Methods. Science, Technology, & Human Values 41(1): 3–16. DOI: 10.1177/0162243915608948.

https://doi.org/10.1177/0162243915608948

Published
2019-12-13