Saturday, August 24, 2019

Ivanka Trump to Head New Agency of Precrime


A Precog capable of predicting future crimes in the film version of Minority Report.


In a strange twist suitable for the dystopian reality show broadcast from the West Wing dining room, a charity formed to fight pancreatic cancer has morphed into project SAFE HOME — “Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes”.



After three highly publicized mass shootings killed 34 people in the US, a variation on the “guns don't kill people...” trope was issued by President Trump: “mental illness and hatred pulls [sic] the trigger, not the gun.” He was right about hatred: two of the shooters espoused white supremacist views, the other was a misogynist. But rather than anger the NRA with tiny incremental changes to control access to firearms, a better approach is to develop a national plan to stigmatize people with mental illnesses, who are more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators:
White House considers new project seeking links between mental health and violent behavior

Bob Wright, the former NBC chair and a Trump friend, is one of the proposal’s supporters.

The White House has been briefed on a proposal to develop a way to identify early signs of changes in people with mental illness that could lead to violent behavior.

Supporters see the plan as a way President Trump could move the ball forward on gun control following recent mass shootings as efforts seem to be flagging to impose harsher restrictions such as background checks on gun purchases.

The proposal is part of a larger initiative to establish a new agency called the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency or HARPA, which would sit inside the Health and Human Services Department. Its director would be appointed by the president, and the agency would have a separate budget, according to three people with knowledge of conversations around the plan.

The Suzanne Wright Foundation, started by Bob Wright to fight pancreatic cancer after his wife died from the disease, has advocated for the formation of a DARPA-like federal agency called HARPA. The original vision for HARPA was to “leverage federal research assets and private sector tools to develop capabilities for diseases, like pancreatic cancer, that have not benefited from the current system.”



91% of pancreatic cancer patients die within 5 years– often because the cancer is too advanced to treat by the time of diagnosis. An early detection test for pancreatic cancer would be the most effective weapon to save lives from this disease. ... CodePurple advocates for HARPA ... as the most promising vehicle to develop a pancreatic cancer detection test.



According to the Washington Post:
The HARPA proposal was initially pitched as a project to improve the mortality rate of pancreatic cancer through innovative research to better detect and cure diseases. Despite internal support over the past two years, the model ran into what was described as “institutional barriers to progress,” according to a person familiar with the conversations. 

So why not flip your game by seizing a tragic moment in time to transform yourself into legacy-making material?
“[Trump is] very achievement oriented and I think all presidents have difficulties with science,” Wright said in an interview. “I think their political advisers say, ‘No that’s not a game for you,’ so they sort of back off a bit.”

He added: “But the president has a real opportunity here to leave a legacy in health care.”

The newly-realized HARPA would use artificial intelligence, machine learning, commercial surveillance technology (e.g., Apple Watches, Fitbits, Amazon Echo, Google Home), and “powerful tools [NOT] collected by health-care provides like fMRIs, tractography and image analysis.”
HARPA would develop “breakthrough technologies with high specificity and sensitivity for early diagnosis of neuropsychiatric violence,” says a copy of the proposal. “A multi-modality solution, along with real-time data analytics, is needed to achieve such an accurate diagnosis.”

And because of her vast experience in these technologies and her theoretical contributions to the neuroethics of predicting violent behavior, Ivanka Trump is the best person to lead such an effort:
“It would be perfect for her to do it — we need someone with some horsepower — someone like her driving it. ... It could get done,” said one official familiar with the conversations.

Further Reading

Oh Good, White House Reportedly Considering Dystopian Plan to Try to Detect the Next Mass Shooter

The Minority Report, by Philip K. Dick


Further Watching

Person of Interest, created by Jonathan Nolan (Memento)

   ( How Person of Interest Became Essential Science Fiction Television )

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