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from UPCEA’s Research and Consulting Experts

Crime in the Future: Lessons Learned from Hollywood

Photo of a person (Emily West) smiling at the camera

Emily West

Jim Fong, UPCEA

Jim Fong

Although the timelines are rarely ever accurate, Hollywood has often expanded our minds to see what the future could bring us, ranging from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey predicting a future with artificial intelligence and Star Wars with robotics being commonplace, to The Simpsons predicting certain presidents. Back to the Future, The Jetsons, Blade Runner and The Fifth Element introduced us to a world with flying and self-driving cars. Hollywood also shows us that our jobs will change. While Minority Report showed a far-fetched future of special lifeforms predicting crime before it happens, the real point is, as in the television series Person of Interest, some crimes can be predicted, anticipated, and prevented ahead of the occurrence. This also requires humans to play a major role in the outcome. 

With an AI world evolving, jobs will change. They will change in the criminal justice field, much of which is dependent on many factors, including the role of government, the private sector, and the citizens it impacts. There are many technologies under development (and some fully developed) that can identify past and potential violators, as well as engage them, but the integration of these tools is not 100% accurate and potentially violates many ethical, philosophical, and societal beliefs and rights. If society were willing to accept a high margin of error and wrongful identification, facial recognition and potential criminal tracking would be legal and accepted. This shouldn’t be, as many are biased, and until a level of accuracy is reached, the integration of new tools, processes, and systems to combat, battle, and prevent crime will be slow. 

What we do know is that it will impact existing jobs in law enforcement and prevention, as well as with the corrections system. Drone technology and the use of body cameras are two examples that have high adoption rates, as does the role of predictive analytics. What is less certain is what the police officer, detective, and corrections officer of the future will look like, what skills they will have, what tools and technologies they will use, and what policies will shape their jobs. Newer roles to prevent crime will also grow in the future, such as forensic and data analysts.   

UPCEA, in partnership with Lightcast, the leading data and information company in higher education and workforce development, is producing a number of occupational briefings spotlighting professions that will be impacted by technology. The first of the series is on law enforcement, which will be followed by the legal profession. Other occupational areas will include jobs from the healthcare, education, and engineering industries, among others. 

Click here to read the Jobs of the Future…and the Present: What Will Happen in Criminal Justice? occupational briefing.

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