The media have been flooded with reports about gun violence in the U.S. this year, particularly regarding police gun violence towards minorities. As a result, campaigns such as “Black Lives Matter” has emerged and people have taken to the streets to protest to show their resentment towards gun violence. Now artificial intelligence could potentially address this issue, and ‘digital vigilante’ “the Jester ” might know how.

The Jester, which is the Internet pseudonym that the creator of the web app goes by, has by the power of artificial intelligence, developed a Web app that analyses social media posts, police radio chatter and any feeds that come of the local airspace in virtually any region.

The purpose of this “surveillance” is to detect any signs of unrest and then alert the public, and at the time the app is focused on Baton Rouge, where protesters backed by the New Black Panther Party have gathered for a rally, Washington Post reports.

“I’m looking for any indication they are coordinating skirmishes. … I guess I’m expecting trouble in that location, so [I] have it trained on Baton Rouge preemptively,” the Jester told the Washington Post.

By the assistance of IBM’s ‘Watson’, the app does not only examine large collections of tweets and then goes through the user’s timeline and by the help of machine learning technology, offer an analysis of the user’s “trtrustworthiness, propensity toward violence [and] openness,” the Jester said. He believes that that information could potentially include clues or leads to a criminal’s intentions.

“Jester” have received praise from several law enforcement and emergency preparedness officials for the AI-powered tool now named iAWACS. The app comes with different versions, where one watches for reports about active shooter situations and another is on the outlook for Islamic extremists. In other words, it serves many purposes, and will be able to acknowledge a range of different scenarios that could potentially become dangerous.

Despite iAWAC’s versatile applicability, the technology of the app is similar. “The software, which is linked to IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence, combs through tweets and images, specific hashtags and phrases, or posts from or about a particular geographic area and then uses computer algorithms to gauge the mood of that swirling digital conversation. That mood is then expressed on a sentiment meter as a number, positive or negative”, Washington Post explains.

The thought of the app first came to “Jester’s” mind when he heard of the Boston Marathon bombings, when he saw how the police desperately searched social media for information asking if the public could assist in tracking down the suspects.

Now the app is set to operate in Louisiana, but as Washington Post says, with any luck it will not be needed. However, it appears to be a positive movement towards reducing crime, which always will be welcomed.

This article was fist published at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/07/10/how-artificial-intelligence-could-help-warn-us-of-another-dallas/

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