Robert Williams, who is Black, spent over a day in Detroit police custody in January after Rank One’s face recognition software connected his driver’s license photo to surveillance video of someone shoplifting, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) said.
I want to talk about this line from the article:
In a video shared by the ACLU, Williams says officers released him after acknowledging “the computer” must have been wrong.
This shows some of the stupid thinking behind this mess. Anyone who thinks the computer should be the one to be “right” or “wrong” about identifying a person is very confused. Computers can help you do analysis, and might support a conclusion, but they should not determine who committed a crime or who goes to jail.
Trusting software (which is always buggy and about two wrong variable states away from falling apart completely) to decide people’s guilt or innocence is not only stupid, but a well known sci-fi trope that ALWAYS ends badly, especially in the hands of organizations who are generally lazy, racist, corrupt, and/or ignorant.
Apparently people think “defund the police” is a bad slogan and needs to be reworded to be more attractive as a policy.
But you know what? I don’t give a shit. Defund the police.
A three-word slogan is not a detailed policy agenda, and not everyone using the slogan agrees on the details. The basic idea, though, is less that policing budgets should be literally zeroed out than that there should be a massive restructuring of public spending priorities.
By the time the evening’s protests were over, the frustration of the New Yorkers gathered had run headlong into the aggressive mass-arrest protest-policing tactics of the NYPD. Some protesters were in the hospital. Police vehicles were on fire. And with more protests scheduled over the weekend and in the days ahead, there was every indication that the outpouring of anguish over police violence, and the violent police response to it, will only continue.
The implied terms of the racial contract are visible everywhere for those willing to see them. A 12-year-old with a toy gun is a dangerous threat who must be met with lethal force; armed militias drawing beads on federal agents are heroes of liberty. Struggling white farmers in Iowa taking billions in federal assistance are hardworking Americans down on their luck; struggling single parents in cities using food stamps are welfare queens. Black Americans struggling in the cocaine epidemic are a “bio-underclass” created by a pathological culture; white Americans struggling with opioid addiction are a national tragedy. Poor European immigrants who flocked to an America with virtually no immigration restrictions came “the right way”; poor Central American immigrants evading a baroque and unforgiving system are gang members and terrorists.
Every single map of NYC that shows some kind of negative effect (violence, poverty, sickness, food availability, etc) on New Yorkers always looks exactly the same. The same “poor” and “wealthy” regions are always highlighted in exactly the same way. Inequality is how the city operates. It’s how the country operates. This is America.
We have to be the ones who double-check information from valid sources, picking through every headline and paragraph — because nobody will do it for us. Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough of us who have either the media literacy or the internet know-how to spot the jig. That’s why I’m so disappointed by the people who should know better — who already understand the invisible hands stirring up fear and distrust. Watching these people share articles from ThisNewsIsFakeDotCom is the truly infuriating and inexcusable new development to come out of all of this.