Binge-Watching and Predictive Policing

As the world continues to fight to contain the spread of COVID-19, our team at the Boulevard Consulting Group has, like millions of others, been working remotely since mid-March and staying at home in an effort to practice social distancing. As might have been the case for you, more time at home has meant plenty of time to binge-watch. Although we tend to watch shows as an escape from current events and responsibilities — quite successfully with Netflix’s “Tiger King” — we couldn’t help but find provoking parallels between our current world and the science-fiction realities portrayed in some of our favorite new television series and classic movies. Though the fictional universes aren’t identical to the data-driven reality of today, it’s helpful to reflect on the similarities and differences, and to ponder how best we can navigate today’s challenges through this lens.

Agatha, one of the precogs in Minority Report (2002)
As eloquently said by Uncle Ben in Spiderman

While predictive modeling can be an extremely powerful and useful tool, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

  • Is data aggregation and linkage creating privacy or data security classification issues?
  • Are there any identifiable biases in the way the data is collected or used in the model? Can these issues be minimized?
  • How transparent is the model?
  • How are the model’s predictions going to be utilized? What are the consequences of such results and the associated cost-benefits?

Where advanced analytics meets creativity.