Minority Report was supposed to be a movie about a dystopian future, one where Big Brother went too far and started convicting criminals before they’d even committed the crime. Well, apparently somebody at the Department of Homeland Security didn’t really get the gist of it, and decided that “pre-crime” was the next Hoverboard Killer: A fictional invention that so captures the public’s imagination that great amounts of real-life resources are invested in creating it.
The difference being that in this case, they’ve actually succeeded in making pre-crime a reality. So you can now be arrested for something you haven’t done yet, but you still can’t skateboard on air. The future truly is a dickhead.
Watch out! THAT GHOST HAS A BOMB.
The device in question is called FAST, short for Future Attribute Screening Technologies, and functions by monitoring heart rate, skin temperature, breathing patterns, posture, facial expressions and body language against a database of “suspect behaviors” to weed out people with “hostile intent.” But don’t worry, the DHS insists that they won’t keep any of the data collected – they’re just going to use it to pull you out of a crowd for questioning if you’re targeted. Some stubborn experts still insist that “that’s what I was actually worried about,” and further elaborate that this is “a really fucking bad idea.”
Well, to be honest, those quotes aren’t from real experts. Do you know why?
Because there are no experts on telepathically arresting criminal thoughts! This is an entirely new field you’re introducing – untested and unproven – and you’re jumping straight to interrogation and arrest with it. Couldn’t you, I don’t know, use it in marketing for a while first? Maybe use it to see if people respond positively to the new flavor of Pringles, before you have it deciding whether or not I get a finger up my ass at the airport because I watched Enter the Dragon too many times last night, and now I can’t stop daydreaming about fist-fighting dudes in line ahead of me?
Hmm, these readouts indicate this man intends to slay a wizard and save the princess. Better call for backup.
Listen, I’m sorry to be a paranoid freak about this, but I would say that a good ten hours of my day is spent thinking those condemning ‘hostile thoughts.’ And I don’t mean to suppose too much here, but I would go ahead and posit that the majority of males in my age bracket do the same. We were raised on GI Joe, Kung Fu movies, comic books and Die Hard; I spend most of my day poised on the balls of my feet, ready to leap sideways in slow motion while screaming just in case something explodes. After which I would naturally roundhouse the nearest terrorist, and then use him as a human shield while I riddle his compatriots with bullets. Finally I would spout something pithy about how his plan was “full of holes,” and then attractive women would fawn over me. Occasionally it ends with a parade in my honor. And you know what? The guy playing the terrorist in my bizarre man-fantasies is, most likely, punching out ninjas that look a whole lot like me in his own head.
And if I’m not doing that, I’m probably internally screaming swear words and bizarre racial epithets mixed with insulting pop culture comparisons at people for minor, unintended offenses they’ve committed against me. I may appear calm on the outside, but inside I assure you I’m pretty much constantly all “WAY TO WALK SLOW ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE SIDEWALK, JAPANESE FONZIE, I’D TELL YOU TO GO FUCK YOURSELF BUT I’M SURE YOU DON’T WANT TO FLATTEN YOUR POMPADOUR,” or “SWEET FLORAL HEADBAND, GAY PEURTO RICAN JOHN COUGER MELLENCAMP, YEAH, TOTALLY JUST COME ON OVER AND STAND TWO INCHES CLOSER TO ME WHILE I ORDER MY SANDWICH, MOTHERFUCKER.”
After I get through, I’m going to tell Jenny she’s a bitch. *ALARMS*
Hostile thoughts are the secret recluse of young males, and they always have been. It’s just part of the culture. So the second you turn that thing on, don’t be surprised when it tells you that everybody in line at the bank is a sociopathic Batman, just waiting to mete out murderous justice for slight social offenses and expecting parades for it.
And don’t comfort yourself thinking it’s vaporware either; it’s not only through development, it’s being tested right now. Though maybe you can take a little solace from the fact that they ‘tested’ it at an ‘equestrian ranch’ in Maryland, where they “paid more than 140 participants $150 to walk through FAST’s sensor array; a handful of the participants were given instructions to act shifty, evasive, deceptive, or even hostile. FAST had an effective accuracy rate of “about [78 percent] on mal-intent detection, and [80 percent] on deception.”
So you know that thing really works!
It totally caught two-thirds of a Baltimore Dude Ranch’s off-season staff when they were paid to “act shifty.” I assume this thing is the very bleeding edge of technology in the burgeoning field of old-timey cartoon villain detection – with a 67% chance of catching all forms of mustache-twirling, a 55% success rate in identifying ominous hand-wringing, and up to a 30% conviction history of men wearing monocles.
Thanks to invasive telepathic searches, we finally know that this guy might be up to something!
Oh, and one more final, disturbing fact: They intend to deploy FAST to “at-risk situations” on “mobile platforms,” and not just at secure, stationary areas. By ‘mobile platform,’ they actually mean ‘the back of a van,’ and by ‘at-risk situations,’ they mean ‘sporting events, concerts, and other public gatherings.’ Seriously.
So just be careful, friends; the next time you think to yourself that this referee might be a motherfucker, Jack Bauer’s going to pop out of a magic thought-detecting van and waterboard you.