On a random day in 2013, two policemen, a social worker, and a fourth person visited Robert McDaniel’s home in Chicago.
McDaniel had previously been cited for small issues involving street gambling and marijuana possession but had never had any serious run-ins with law enforcement. However, his visitors warned him that a computer algorithm determined that he was highly likely to be connected to a shooting in the future.
Neither the computer nor anyone else could definitively tell whether he would be an offender or a victim; only that there would likely be a shooting involving someone at his residence. As a result, a social worker visited him regularly, always offering ideas for mental health and violence prevention assistance and employment training.
Police also visited occasionally to keep tabs on McDaniel, making sure he was staying out of trouble.
Folks in McDaniel’s neighborhood started taking note of the visits and rumors subsequently spread he was a police informant. And unfortunately, those rumors got him shot in 2017 and then again in 2020.
Did the computer’s forecast result in the shootings it had predicted? Or, did the prediction trigger both shootings?
If McDaniel’s community was that suspect, perhaps he was destined to get shot with or without those visits. Either way, the prediction was impressive.