‘Minority Report’ software now available to Law Enforcement

The software is also crammed into Microsoft’s Kinect Console to map human body physiology and movements.

AFP | JULY 23, 2012

The software behind the film “Minority Report” — where Tom Cruise speeds through video on a large screen using only hand gestures — is making its way into the real world.

The interface developed by scientist John Underkoffler has been commercialized by the Los Angeles firm Oblong Industries as a way to sift through massive amounts of video and other data.

And yes, the software can be used by law enforcement and intelligence services. But no, it is not the “pre-crime” detection program illustrated in the 2002 Steven Spielberg sci-fi film.

Kwin Kramer, chief executive of Oblong, said the software can help in searching through “big data” for information. It can also create souped-up video-conference capabilities where participants share data from multiple devices like smartphones and tablets, integrated into a large video display.

“We think the future of computing is multiuser, multiscreen, multidevice,” Kramer told AFP.

“This system helps with big workflow problems.”

A key part of the system is the gesture interface, which the company calls the “g-speak” spatial operating environment.

That grew out of a project by Underkoffler — then a scientist at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology — for “Minority Report,” before he became chief scientist at startup Oblong.

“We have demo versions of this kind of software which show exactly the ‘Minority Report’ user experience, allowing you to move back and forth in time, or to zoom in to look at details,” Kramer said.

He said the same software can help businesses to “allow better collaboration, visualization and analysis of large amounts of data.

“You can have a lot of data but it’s hard to make use of that,” Kramer said.

“It can be on different machines and hard to access. This allows multiple people to look at that.”

Gestural interfaces have been developed for other firms including Microsoft’s Kinect but Oblong says it has far more sophisticated systems which can use Kinect and more.

Some highly sensitive systems use a data glove which can be more precise than ordinary hand movements.

Oblong has contracts with firms such as Boeing, General Electric and Saudi Aramco to help in analyzing large amounts of data. It is also developing a gestural interface for onboard computers with automakers.

It has raised an unspecified amount of venture capital from investors including Foundry Group, Energy Technology Ventures and Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners.

Brad Feld, managing director at Foundry Group, said Oblong offers “a path to fundamentally change the way we interact with computers.”

Yet the question Oblong often gets is how users can get the “Minority Report” software.

David Schwartz, the company’s vice president for sales, said “We get calls from people in the military who say, ‘I want the ‘Minority Report’ interface.”

He said the systems could be used for a realistic version of high-tech software interfaces on TV shows like “CSI.”

“They would like to get it for free,” he added.

What makes the real-life version of the software different from the one seen on film is that Oblong does not supply the analytics of the futuristic “pre-crime” division.

That does not prevent a company or law enforcement agency from using the software and adding its own analytics.

“We think law enforcement and intelligence are big data users and we think our technology is the leader,” Kramer said.

He said Oblong currently has no government customers in the United States or abroad but offers itself as “a core technology provider.”

Still, Oblong leverages its role in the movies to get in the door, even if the software is not quite the same.

“I think most people look at those ‘Minority Report’ interfaces and imagine how they could use that flexible system in their own office or designs studio,” Kramer said.

“It isn’t science fiction, it’s real.”

Framing people just got easier: IBM, Police Using Pre-crime Predictive Software

Did anyone say Minority Report?

IBM

Armonk– – 14 Apr 2010: SPSS, an IBM (NYSE: IBM) Company, today announced that the Florida State Department of Juvenile pre-crime predictive softwareJustice selected IBM predictive analytics software to better understand, predict behaviors and properly assign rehabilitation programs for the state’s juvenile justice system.

More than 85,000 youth enter the juvenile justice system in Florida each year for varying degrees of offenses – from drug abuse to robbery or property crimes. As each youth enters the system for a different reason and with varying backgrounds, the best program for positive rehabilitation is very specific – what may work for one juvenile may not work for another. The goal of the collaboration with IBM is to apply analysis to predict the best programs and rehabilitation for each juvenile offender based on their crime and background.

Mark Greenwald, chief of research and planning at the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, said, “The State of Florida believes that if youth are rehabilitated with effective prevention, intervention and treatment services early in life, juveniles will not enter the adult corrections system. Our goal is to ensure juveniles do not return to the system. IBM SPSS predictive analytics will allow our organization to refine our current practice and better intervene in juvenile lives earlier to help them become — and stay — law abiding citizens.”

The organization selected IBM predictive analytics to improve its existing screening and placement process. With the new analytics system in place, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice will analyze key predictors such as past offense history, home life environment, gang affiliation and peer associations to better understand and predict which youths have a higher likelihood to reoffend.

With that information, the organization can more effectively place specific segments of juveniles into the best programs for rehabilitation. For example, juveniles identified as having a higher likelihood for re-offense can be placed in a more focused program, such as one that addresses issues on substance abuse or mental health, if appropriate to the need. Additionally, the organization will direct those youth with a lower chance of re-offense to a less restrictive program, again providing services better tailored to meet their rehabilitative needs.

Prior to predictive analytics, the organization used Excel for basic analysis on projections for the number of delinquency cases they would take in, which had limited functionality. They selected IBM SPSS predictive analytics due to the ease of use and the advanced analytic capabilities.

The organization will now utilize the new predictive analytics system as a component in many of the performance measurement analyses conducted and distributed to agency staff throughout the year. These reports assess the future of delinquency cases to evaluate what juvenile crime trends may look like in the immediate future. This information will help the organization to better plan and project staffing and other resource needs.

IBM recently also announced that the Ministry of Justice in the United Kingdom uses predictive analytics to assess the likelihood of prisoners reoffending upon their release to help improve public safety. With predictive technology from IBM, the Ministry of Justice is analyzing hidden trends and patterns within the data. IBM SPSS predictive analytics has helped identify whether offenders with specific problems such as drug and alcohol misuse are more likely to reoffend than other prisoners.

Deepak Advani, vice president of predictive analytics at IBM, said, “Predictive analytics gives government organizations worldwide a highly-sophisticated and intelligent source to create safer communities by identifying, predicting, responding to and preventing criminal activities. It gives the criminal justice system the ability to draw upon the wealth of data available to detect patterns, make reliable projections and then take the appropriate action in real time to combat crime and protect citizens.”

IBM has invested more than $12 billion to build an analytics portfolio which includes organic innovation and acquisitions. In addition, IBM has assembled 4,000 analytics consultants with industry expertise, and opened a network of seven analytics centers of excellence. Today, IBM is working with more than 250,000 clients worldwide on predictive analytics, including 22 of the top 24 global commercial banks, 18 of the world’s top 22 telecommunication carriers and 11 of the top 12 U.S. specialty retailers.