Algorithms, human decision-making and predictive policing

Phillips, Peter J. and Pohl, Gabriela (2021) Algorithms, human decision-making and predictive policing. SN Social Sciences, 1 (5):109. pp. 1-21. ISSN 2662-9283


Given their technical sophistication, it is easy to overlook the human choices that underpin predictive policing algorithms and, importantly, the basic structures of decision theory that it embeds. To make a problem amenable to algorithmic computation, the problem must be transformed, often metaphorically, and the problem space delineated. Problem space delineation is one pathway through which human decision-making processes may enter and shape algorithm design, construction, and application. We use decision theory, including behavioural economics, to highlight the choices embedded within this problem space delineation and raise awareness as to the potential effect of these choices on the outcomes of applications of predictive policing algorithms. We highlight the importance of balancing the technical-formal evolution of predictive policing algorithms with lockstep advancement in awareness and application of decision theory. Such awareness may help to mitigate some of the recognised weaknesses with this emerging technology and, also, help to identify those aspects of human decision-making that can be augmented positively by algorithms.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Business (18 Jan 2021 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 Mar 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 12 May 2021 00:53
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2021 05:13
Uncontrolled Keywords: Algorithms, Predictive policing, Human choice, Decision-making, Decision theory
Fields of Research (2008): 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1702 Cognitive Sciences > 170202 Decision Making
16 Studies in Human Society > 1602 Criminology > 160205 Police Administration, Procedures and Practice
14 Economics > 1401 Economic Theory > 140104 Microeconomic Theory
Fields of Research (2020): 38 ECONOMICS > 3801 Applied economics > 380102 Behavioural economics
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5204 Cognitive and computational psychology > 520402 Decision making
46 INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES > 4601 Applied computing > 460105 Applications in social sciences and education
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940402 Crime Prevention
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 23 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 2304 Justice and the law > 230404 Law enforcement
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