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FROM THIS EPISODE

Tech companies claim that analyzing big data can predict crime and help to prevent it. That sounds like science fiction, but police agencies around the country are buying into it — with federal assistance. Critics say it's science fiction after all — with the risk of violating civil rights and eroding public confidence. Is it making law enforcement more efficient and more effective or reinforcing the biases that are leading to the erosion of public trust? 

Later on the program, three months ago, nobody had ever heard of the two-wheeled, motorized scooters called hoverboards. Now they're on millions of American holiday wish lists. We hear how they went from the Internet to the factory floor in record time.

Photo: Cory Doctorow

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney
Jared Morgan
Evan George

Bowe Bergdahl on Trial for Desertion 6 MIN, 30 SEC

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will be headed back to a military court martial in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, early next month, facing charges of desertion. He disappeared from his post in Afghanistan six years ago and was captured by the Taliban. James Culp is a military attorney who represented a soldier facing similar charges — 40 years after he was captured and imprisoned by North Korea. 

Guests:
James Culp, Law Offices of James Culp

Using Big Data to Stop Crime Before It's Committed 34 MIN, 47 SEC

Every cop and sheriff's deputy dreams of the day that law enforcement can stop crimes rather than solving them after the fact. Now many are buying programs from tech companies like Hitachi and IBM which claim that analyzing big data can predict crime before it happens. But garbage in means garbage out, and critics are asking where all that data comes from. Is it information that beat cops and investigators already know? Is it making law enforcement more efficient and more effective—or reinforcing the biases that are leading to the erosion of public trust?

Guests:
Jack Smith, IV, Mic (@JackSmithIV)
Daniel Burrus, tech futurist and innovation expert (@DanielBurrus)
Cathy O'Neil, data scientist (@mathbabedotorg)
Tom Casady, Lincoln Nebraska Office of Public Safety (@TCasady304)

More:
Smith on predictive policing and the Constitution
Smith on predictive policing and minorities
Burrus on predictive analytics' success in preventing crime

Where Are All These Hoverboards Coming From? 8 MIN, 47 SEC

Hoverboards are on millions of wish lists this holiday season, a development that's taken retailers and customers by surprise.


Photo: Ben Larcey

In just a few months, the two-wheeled, motorized scooters have gone from an Internet meme popularized by celebrities to a common sight on American streets and sidewalks. How did that happen so fast? It's all about Chinese "memeufacturing." That's according to Joseph Bernstein, senior tech reporter for BuzzFeed, who went all the way to the Chinese city of Schenzehn to research the story, "How to Make Millions of Hoverboards Almost Overnight."

Guests:
Joseph Bernstein, BuzzFeed News (@bernstein)

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