What Can Go Wrong When Police Use AI to Write Reports?


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Axon—the makers of widely-used police body cameras and tasers (and that also keeps trying to arm drones)—has a new product: AI that will write police reports for officers. Draft One is a generative large language model machine learning system that reportedly takes audio from body-worn cameras and converts it into a narrative police report that police can then edit and submit after an incident. Axon bills this product as the ultimate time-saver for police departments hoping to get officers out from behind their desks. But this technology could present new issues for those who encounter police, and especially those marginalized communities already subject to a disproportionate share of police interactions in the United States.

Responsibility and the Codification of (Intended or Otherwise) Inaccuracies

We’ve seen it before. Grainy and shaky police body-worn camera video in which an arresting officer shouts, “Stop resisting!” This phrase can lead to greater use of force by officers or come with enhanced criminal charges.  Sometimes, these shouts may be justified. But as we’ve seen time and again, the narrative of someone resisting arrest may be a misrepresentation. Integrating AI into narratives of police encounters might make an already complicated system even more ripe for abuse.

If the officer says aloud in a body camera video, “the suspect has a gun” ho

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