‘The Computer Got It Wrong’: How Facial Recognition Led To False Arrest Of Black Man

by | Jun 24, 2020

Check out this story from NPR about the false imprisonment of a man based on facial recognition technology.

What’s interesting to me is the first part of the headline: Ain’t nobody’s fault! The box did it!

This is a theme heavily explored by the great Neil Postman in his book Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, the diffusion of responsibility from those who possess political authority onto the sophisticated tools that they use to oppress us.

As you’ll see, the pigs went off the computer hit alone, did no other corroborative police work whatsoever before arresting this innocent man in front of his young children.

Artificial Intelligence is absolutely stupid as hell. It isn’t real. It’s just an algorithm. It’s electricity on a card. It thinks all black men look alike. But human beings invest a completely unwarranted belief in computers as superior beings to ourselves. They can detect lies, determine medical treatments and find all the bad shoplifters if only we turn over our power and decision-making to them.

And they also serve as great scapegoats for the decisions of human beings about what happens to others.

About Scott Horton

Scott Horton is director of the Libertarian Institute, editorial director of Antiwar.com, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from ScottHorton.org. He's the author of the 2021 book Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism, the 2017 book, Fool's Errand:Time to End the War in Afghanistan, editor of the 2019 book The Great Ron Paul: The Scott Horton Show Interviews 2004–2019 and the 2022 book Hotter Than The Sun: Time to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. He’s conducted more than 5,800 interviews since 2003. Scott lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Larisa Alexandrovna Horton.

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