Since human nature is sometimes unpredictable, there are certain situations in which we can only react to as opposed to acting early and preventing them from happening. However it has not stopped researchers from trying to predict events before they happen, like creating algorithms to detect when/where terrorists might attack.
However it seems that a lot of the data could already be in front of us that has yet to be fully tapped into. In a recent study conducted by Cardiff University (via CNET), it seems that Twitter might actually hold the key to predicting events such as riot, and apparently it does a better job of detecting when a riot might happen even before police do.
According to co-author of the study Pete Burnap, “In this research, we show that online social media are becoming the go-to place to report observations of everyday occurrences — including social disorder and terrestrial criminal activity.” One of the examples in the study found that with a computerized system in place, it managed to determine an incident in the town of Enfield an hour and 23 minutes earlier than police.
However instead of law enforcement having to worry about their jobs being replaced, Burnap states that social media will never replace traditional resources. Instead it sounds more like police should start turning to these new channels of information that could help keep them ahead of situations before they escalate.
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