intellectual vanities… about close to everything

Crowds And Power In Computer Model

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Canetti on police computer? TEMPE, Ariz., May 22 (UPI) — A U.S. scientist is developing a three-dimensional computational model that will be able to predict patterns of human behavior and movement.

Watching into decision making by functional MR scans, and modelling human behavior and movement on computer sure can help safety, but they sure do so by increased control. Given the existing back bone of profiling software — known under the recent name of ADVISE — the following news might not exactly make feel safer those, who consider Total Information Awareness a dangerous dream of the U.S. government. As it appears, those plans are dangerous particularly to civil rights. Arizona State University geographer Paul Torrens noted it’s impractical to establish live experiments with hundreds or thousands of people to reproduce mob behavior during riots for the purposes of academic experimentation, or to expect to replicate the life and death behavior under emergency situations in a fabricated fashion.

Instead, Torrens is developing a computational model that can assist public safety and health officials, city planners, and other researchers in managing crowds.

Torrens’s research will be aided by a five-year, $400.000 National Science Foundation Career Award. While highly sought, the award is rarely given to geographers, school officials said.

“The goal of this project is to develop a reusable and behaviorally-founded computer model of pedestrian movement and crowd behavior amid dense urban environments, to serve as a test-bed for experimentation,” he said. “The idea is to use the model to test hypotheses, real world plans and strategies that are not very easy or are impossible to test in practice.”

“Crowds and Power” have come up as subject of reflection as a consequence of WWII. While an earlier entry here deals with a new form of crowds, here actual crowd’s behaviour is modelled digitally for reasons of controlling and, if possible, predicting / preventing its reactions. Torr’s uncanny sentence quoted last, sounds like an oracle of sombre augur to social freedom. Are we proceeding from “Big Brother” to the “Brave New World”?


Written by huehueteotl

May 23, 2007 at 11:54 am

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