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Mark Hammer

Well you’re a busy boy today, Henry!

You know, on the one hand, the safety of a community should not depend solely on how many people it can employ to provide that safety. This is why we have things like cameras at intersections to catch folks speeding through red lights; it’s a public endangerment and we don’t need folks in patrol cars waiting around to recognize that. At the same time, as municipal, regional, state, and federal budgets for public safety get tightened, we turn ever more to technological solutions to our inability to have enough people to patrol, oversee, etc. In the defense domain, we turn to drones, and such, to provide something that functions more or less like troops on the ground, but without the cost or cost in lives…at least to “us”.

But technology without human intervenors has a way of of making less wise decisions, or perhaps leading any humans that ARE involved, to make less wise decisions.

We have all experienced the exasperation of being ticketed by those folks who simply walk around mindlessly issuing tickets according to the letter of the by-laws. I understand fully that they are not paid, nor were they hired, to have the wisdom of Solomon. But we expect justice to be the embodiment of wisdom, and when we rely more and more on technology and simple algorithmic systems to assure safety and justice, I can’t help feeling that wisdom is leaking out, dripping, and departing that domain. And that’s not what we wanted…at all.