Human Justice redux

posted Oct 30, 2002

In my Human Justice for Human Beings essay, I used as an example of automated law enforcement the idea that somebody could today take satellite imagery, and write a program that would attempt to detect when people do things to wetlands that they are not supposed to do, such as fill them in, or dredge them out, or drain them, etc.

Well, I still don't know if that's happening, but something similar enough to it is happening that I feel justified in claiming that the example is now firmly grounded in reality. The Mercury News reports on a project to photograph the coast of California to look for illegal sea walls. It doesn't use computers to process the photos in any sort of automated fashion, but does take advantage of computer networks to allow the problem to be conveniently partitioned amoung any interested people, which counts as something difficult to do without computers, easy to do with. I even got the "environmental" aspect right. ;-)


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