Crime and Punishment in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Today’s Prisons are Barbaric


As horrific as prison conditions in medium and maximum security US prisons are, it is not difficult to find prisons elsewhere with much harsher conditions. The 5 most barbaric prisons in the world can be found in North Korea, Rwanda, Georgia (Black Sea), Venezuela, and Russia — according to this article.

We can use homicide rates as useful proxies for violent crime rates. The map below shows where most of the worst violent crimes take place in the world. People who behave like barbarians outside of prison are not generally likely to clean up their acts when thrown into overcrowded prison facilities with hundreds of like minded men.

And most of these high-violence countries cannot afford to fund prisons that are at least semi-effective at controlling the violent behaviours of inmates. It is no wonder that impoverished high-crime nations have the most barbaric prisons on the planet.

Even China — which claims to have the second-highest national GDP in the world — harvests organs from living political prisoners without anesthesia, leaving them to die without further attention. Now that is rather barbaric!

North Korea likewise imprisons large numbers of prisoners of conscience, many of whom never again see the outside of prison walls. Venezuela and Cuba, of course, have worked hard to join this elite rank of barbarians — seemingly without any real effort on their part.

What Can We Do to Replace These Barbaric Places?

For political hellholes such as China, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, and to some degree Russia, there is nothing that we in the west can do to humanise their world-class barbarism. But prisons in Europe and the Anglosphere have nothing to brag about if the truth were told. As violence-prone, low-IQ immigrants flood into Europe and the Anglosphere, the need for more prison space grows more acute — which just makes the entire problem worse. There is no way to build enough conventional prisons to meet demand, there are not enough people in society who could serve as effective custodial guards and staffers for this rising tide of incarcerated.

Of course lax immigration, weak border enforcement, and “sanctuary” policies are increasingly to blame for the rise of crime in Europe and the Anglosphere — whether governments and police forces care to admit it or not. Nevertheless, the problem of violent crime is being imported at an accelerating rate, and something has to be done if normal people want to be able to live normal and productive lives — building an abundant and expansive future for our progeny and their descendants.

A Few Ideas

1. Deport foreign nationals who are habitual criminals
This policy should be automatic in any civilised nation, but we see criminal justice and legal systems from Sweden to the US to the UK to Germany refusing to take this common-sense first step. Citizens of those countries are paying the price.

2. Perpetrators of particularly heinous crimes should receive expedited trials and prompt execution.
This should apply to criminals regardless of race, religion, sex, IQ, or psychiatric diagnosis.

3. The concept of “penal colonies” needs to be re-worked and put into practise for those who cannot ever be released, but are not eligible for deportation or execution.
Some readers may recall that Australia was once home to a large penal colony. As an alternative to hanging, transportation to Australia for less dangerous prisoners seems to have worked out rather well in the long run. But where on Earth could modern “lifers” be placed where they would be no threat to peaceable persons?

That is a good question, which we will be exploring in more detail over the coming months and years.

4. For those who will eventually be released to live among the general population, better forms of behavioural modification are needed in order to minimise the likelihood of repeat offenses and incarcerations.
Behavioural modification is where artificial intelligence and advanced cognitive science come in. Different criminals have varying motivations for committing their crimes. Some are too impulsive and are easily led into offending by their associates. Some are prone to fits of violent rage if pressed or crowded. Some seem to have nothing better to do than to steal a car, and many just need to steal to feed a drug habit.

The key word for many criminals is “habit.” And so it is the job of cognitive scientists and advanced artificial intelligences to come up with almost fool-proof behavioural modifications capable of substituting “less bad habits” for the “criminal habits” that keep these offenders so often in front of a judge.

Of course it should go without saying that in lieu of effective behavioural mods, it may become necessary to utilise “exile” for many of the relatively non-violent offenders — the number of criminals is becoming so large and prisons becoming so overcrowded, thanks to immigration policies.

I Am Most Interested in Behavioural Modification and in Advanced Methods of Exile

If behavioural modifications are good enough, the criminal behaviour itself is quenched, albeit replaced by other behaviours which may not be particularly attractive or savoury. No matter. As long as they are not hurting innocents or disrupting normal life for non-criminals. We need to become far more sophisticated with our behavioural modifications and engineered incentive structures.

Exile, or penal colonies, is a matter of great interest to me as a means of alleviating overcrowding in conventional prisons for those serving life sentences. Finding a suitable location is a significant obstacle, but failing the discovery of an undiscovered continent much like Australia, we must work with what we have and what we can engineer.

Antarctica is indeed a continent that is mostly unused for human habitation. But treaties governing the use of Antarctica by the nations of Earth may hamper its use as a site for penal colonies.

The oceans are another matter, and it is said that the US already uses ships as prisons for high value terrorists. It should not be difficult to envision custom-made seasteads which could serve as either effective penal colonies, or less imaginatively as floating prisons in international waters. But floating prisons require the same kind of oversight and civilian infrastructure that land-based prisons do. So keep seasteads as a last resort except as unguarded penal colonies monitored from a distance.

It is possible that some arrangement could be made to use the Greenland ice cap for several dispersed dome-covered penal colonies. Conditions outside of the camp would be fatal much of the year, making escape less likely.

Seabed penal habitats would likewise be difficult to escape, depending upon nearness to inhabited land masses. Simple acclimation to breathing air of higher barometric pressure makes escape less likely for all but the most diving-savvy exiles.

Eventually, space-based penal colonies will be orbited around the sun — in orbits much like the one that Elon Musk’s “Starman” was placed in. By the time they return to this neighborhood, the colony should be ready for a re-fit and a new “crew.” Space science and medicine could learn a lot from such sol-orbiting penal colonies.

It is None too Soon to Plan Better Prison Solutions

Today’s prisons are overcrowded and barbaric. The problem with most research into the future of prisons is that such research takes too little notice of the effect of habitual crime on normal society, while conveniently disregarding the innate barbarism of overcrowded prisoners placed together in an irrational manner — a process almost custom-made for violent gang structures and the corruption of custodial guards and other prison staff.

Capital punishment is vastly under-utilised for the worst of the repeat killers and child killers and mutilators. As long as such barbarians are alive there is always the chance that they may be released or escape to rejoin the general population. The blame for any further death and mayhem from such persons rests entirely on the shoulders of the systems and individuals that take such gambles with the behaviour of the homicidal unpardonables.

The first two recommendations in the above list — deportation of foreign nationals, and prompt executions of the worst of the worst — are keystones to allowing any genuine and lasting mitigation of the disastrous overcrowding of prisons and worsening endangerment of public areas.

This issue is too crucial to leave in the hands of politicians, activists, academics, and journalists. The proliferation of sanctuary cities where public defecation and littering with used hypodermic needles are common, should be testimony to the need for strong and decisive public involvement in future planning of solutions to the barbaric prison overload.

Important afterword:

The ability of brain imaging and brain monitoring technologies to reveal underlying states of mind, emotional content, and underlying “mind pictures,” casts a different light on the investigative, prosecutorial, and judicial enterprises.

Crime hoaxes — such as we have seen from Jussie Smollett, Tawana Brawley (with the help of Rev. Al Sharpton), and many others — will not occupy so much of the public and news media’s time when high tech lie detectors can reveal the hoax almost immediately.

Likewise, criminals who can easily defeat modern polygraphs will find it much more difficult to defeat ever newer generations of “mind readers” that can expose the very emergence of trains of thoughts along with their underlying emotional and visual foundations.

Today’s technology is light years ahead of the primitive polygraph, but still lags behind what is needed to provide a foolproof report of brain intent.

More:

https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-have-invented-a-mind-reading-machine-that-can-visualise-your-thoughts-kind-of

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00038/full

The second article seems to open the doors to an entirely new approach to seeing what the brain is actually “up to.” With time, even better tools are likely to emerge and be perfected to the necessary task at hand.

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2 Responses to Crime and Punishment in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

  1. info says:

    I think getting a functional judicial system in place. And competent detectives to do their work is the 1st few steps.

    Aside from that I would be in favor of:
    http://freenortherner.com/2015/01/16/abolish-prison/

    Since I believe that especially the 3rd world wouldn’t have a lot of money for prisons and modern tech in the modern day.

    A caning in public like in Singapore and execution(perhaps by drug overdose Fentanyl) would be far cheaper in comparison.

    Its only we make the death penalty so expensive deliberately that its such a problem.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Yes, we certainly need to get serious about devising alternatives to the established penal system.
      I suspect we have not stumbled upon the best solutions yet, but the more we get intelligent and serious people to discuss the problem, the more viable alternatives we are likely to dig up.

      Modern prisons are corrupt, cruel, and expensive in many ways to society. Things will come to a head soom, as immigration pressures combined with sanctuary policies create conditions that ordinary people can no longer tolerate.

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