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Are we moving closer to the dystopian society envisaged in Minority Report?

That is what a former cybersecurity advisor to Barack Obama has claimed.

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Are we moving closer to the dystopian society envisaged in Minority Report?

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Society is moving closer and closer to mirroring science fiction film Minority Report, a former cybersecurity advisor to Barack Obama has claimed.

The movie, which stars Tom Cruise, sees police use artificial intelligence (AI) to predict crimes before they happen.

Melissa Hathaway, speaking the European Cybersecurity Forum in Krakow, raised concerns about AI, which is where computers are used to carry out human tasks such as decision-making.

The technology is already being used in many different ways, from recognising faces in photographs and driving autonomous cars to monitoring the stock market for suspicious trading activity and managing highly-complex logistics systems.

“I feel that more and more around the world we are starting to see Minority Report come about,” she said

“Is that really what I want out of my society? Where an algorithm will determine whether I turn left or right or how I am going to vote or whether I am going to commit a crime.

“So I look at AI and how it is manipulating society and being used for order and being used for what we might consider good. There is upsides to innovation but who is looking at the downsides of innovation?”

Her comments come after police in Durham, England, announced they would use AI to assess whether a person is likely to re-offend.

It is intended to help officers decide whether to keep an individual in custody or release them on bail.

But research has found AI systems are learning prejudices from humans.

One report found an AI algorithm used in the US was twice as likely to incorrectly flag black suspects as future criminals than white suspects.

AI can however also used to benefit society, such as in cases where it used to analyse patient data and spot early signs of disease.