Talk:Technologies in Minority Report

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Hardly prescient[edit]

There seems to be a desire by sensationalisers to play up the "prescience" angle. In fact pretty much all of the technologies that have since appeared were "predicted" because they were already being worked on at the time. Multi-touch, for example, had first been proposed at least as early as 1982 if not before, and had been under active development since the early 90s. By the time of the "think tank summit" there was at least one prototype that was only months away from being publicly demoed. Consider the examples from the linked Fast Company articles:

  1. Blue CRUSH: when I did IT support for a police department back in the early 1990s, they already had crime prediction software -- and it was a MS Windows front end on a very much older main-frame app. The basic idea isn't actually all that high-tech, and the mathematical theories behind it (Bayesian inference) have been around for over a century, and widely applied to computer analysis of this sort of problem since the early 1980s. Note that neither "Blue CRUSH" nor that older software actually predict crime; they suggest the probabilities of future patterns to enable stretched resources to be allocated more efficiently.
  2. Facebook: although now largely crushed by their more successful rival, the first social networking sites went up in the early to mid 90s. By 1999 it was already obvious that they presented a severe privacy risk, erm, investigative opportunity.
  3. Google Maps: satellite imagery has been available to goverment officials and scientists for decades. What
  4. OnStar: started up in 1995! The similar LoJack service is even older.
  5. Facial recognition scanners: invented in the 1960s. Gradually getting better, but still highly unreliable in less-than-perfect situations.
  6. UAVs: Been around since WW2. Miniature surveillance UAVs similar to modern versions were widely used in the 1991 Gulf War.

I could go on, but I think I'm already belabouring the point; these "predictions" came true because the engineers and scientists who "predicted" them knew they were already in development or limited release. -- (talk) 11:37, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

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