Psycho-Pass Writer, AI Researcher Discuss Fact vs. Fiction of Sibyl System

posted on by Kim Morrissy

Psycho-Pass script writer Makoto Fukami and artificial intelligence researcher Kō Ishiyama appeared on an online program streamed on SKY PerfecTV! Animax on Demand on December 18, where they discussed the plausibility of creating the Sibyl System depicted in the anime. Animax posted excerpts of the program on YouTube across four parts:

In the program, Ishiyama indicates that some aspects of the Sibyl System are already possible, such as using a combination of artificial intelligence and big data (e.g. predictive analytics) to estimate a person's likelihood of committing crime. This technology is being applied to counter-terrorism by analyzing the movements of those who may be suspected of becoming terrorists. The issue is how to deal with this data, and what kind of actions should be taken based on it, bringing up the dilemma of how we define a "good person" (is "good" defined only as a lack of criminal acts? What about thoughts that aren't acted upon?) He also mentioned that facial recognition technology has about a 70% accuracy rate at the moment, and will probably get higher in the future.

As for whether artificial intelligence can be developed to the degree depicted in Psycho-Pass, he said that such a thing may be possible one day if scientists manage to reverse engineer the human brain. On the other hand, Fukami brought up the theory that the brain is like a radio receiver which "tunes" into the frequency of other body parts, so therefore human consciousness does not just reside in the brain. In other words, the two concluded, the study of artificial intelligence will need to encompass not just the human brain but also other factors outside of it.

Fukami states that Gen Urobuchi, who created the concept behind the series, intended Psycho-Pass not as "a mere dystopia" but as an earnest exploration of how such technology would affect all aspects of life. Ishiyama said that he found the series very interesting because of its emphasis on mental health, which has many aspects which are still being researched by scientists.

Around the world, police are increasingly using data to predict crime before it happens. Police in the UK are currently developing an artificial intelligence that will predict how likely a person is to commit or be the victim of a violent crime. PredPol, developed at Santa Clara University in California, is a software that identifies future crime hot spots. Last year, Human Rights Watch criticized the Chinese authorities for preemptively detaining people in the province of Xinjiang using predictive policing.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan-Web

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