Dirk Knemeyer

Social Controls to Reduce Crime

Social Controls to Reduce Crime, March 10, 2016

It’s easy to dismiss this as a China thing. Right? Totalitarian state regularly oppresses the liberties of the citizens. For me what’s compelling about this story is the fact that it’s a foreshadowing of things that we’re going to be dealing with in the United States, both in ways similar to what are being outlined here in a Chinese context, but also things far, far beyond that I believe. We are likely headed for a future where the government is using data to predict future behavior and takes preemptive action to control [criminal] behavior. Look, even thirty years ago we knew very little about the human animal. We would rely on things like characteristics that go back to classical times that we would bestow upon people. That’s a person with character. That’s a person with self-control. That’s a person with honor. That’s a person who is trustworthy.

I think we’re heading for this sort of tipping point, if you will, where we are going to have so much knowledge around human motivation and behavior, scientifically, not armchair theory, that comes together with our finally saying, “You know what? It is not acceptable for one in four women to have to deal with an attempted sexual violence.” These things are going to come together, and I think it’s going to result in at least the consideration, at the highest levels, and potentially in public forums, of prediction and control, and controlling people from doing those things that once upon a time were tolerated. Now they’re not tolerated, but they’re still not being forcefully addressed. I think we’ll forcefully address them, and I think something akin to pre-crime may be part of that.

The fact is, if you go above humanity and you look at it in some objective way and you say, “You know, for one of these two genders, this super high percentage is being abused by the other one in ways that can fundamentally shatter their sense of self and the rest of their lives,” that ain’t acceptable. It’s not acceptable. Up to now we haven’t been able to see it. We haven’t been able to understand it. We haven’t been able to control it, but science is moving so fast that we’re going to understand the human animal very well. We’re going to grok what it is that results in that stuff happening, the combination of physiology, psychology, sociology, the whole nine yards. We’re going to be able to control it. That control is going to look invasive and intrusive and like something out of a science fiction movie, but is it better to put those controls on to protect the half of the people who are being imposed upon and violated? To me it’s a no brainer. It’s just a question of what does that look like when the time comes.