Building a Face, and a Case, on DNA

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/science/building-face-and-a-case-on-dna.html?hpw&rref=science&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0

It is fascinating to learn about the advances in science and technology, however sometimes I feel as though technology is developed and we don’t really  think of all the implications and consequences it may bring. In this article forensic DNA phenotyping is discussed, the article starts off by using an example of a murder of a young woman and her 3 year old daughter; there were not eyewitnesses and not security cameras that could identify the suspect. However the police department was able to release a sketch of a possible suspect that was generated by a computer and it solely used DNA that was found in the crime scene. This could certainly be a powerful tool for law enforcement, however several scientist have raised concerns because they question the accuracy of the technology to recreate facial images because ultimately this technology could potentially increase racial profiling as well as infringe on privacy.

The article also talks about Susan Walsh, who is an assistant professor of Biology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis who recently won a $1.1 million grant from the Department of Justice to develop such tools. Other professors around the nation have also commented on this new development and a law professor at New York University made an excellent comment, “This is another of these areas where the technology is ahead of the popular debate and discussion,” The article goes into further detail discussing the science on how  this technology works and how it is developed.

I believe the advances in technology are remarkable however what I do have an issue with is the fact that new technology is being created without fully understanding all the implications that the technology could bring. I understand why and how it would benefit law enforcement what I have trouble understanding is why companies who develop this technology and law enforcement would use such a product if it is not 100 percent accurate. Furthermore, many experts in this field are skeptical about this technology, which to me is a red flag. Our law enforcement and our justice system is already in question so why use it unless you know it’s completely accurate to truly serve its purpose.

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4 responses to “Building a Face, and a Case, on DNA

  1. Fascinating! Classic example of “if you have it, why not use it?” I’m definitely one of those people who forgets to think about the ramifications of evolving technology. I think the whole idea of this technology increasing racial profiling could just be the first of several ethical dilemmas. I’d be interested to see what else comes from it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am going to have to say I agree with Jessica and we forget to overlook, what are the possible issues of advancing technology. I believe that all we see is how technology aids us in making work and life in general easier to accomplish, but forget negative. This reminds of a movie, which I do not recall the name right now, but it might have been a Tom Cruise movie in which the police organization see into the future and arrest those before they commit the crimes. I see the benefit in being able to stop crime by preventing it, but is it ethical to look into the future that may not be certain and make a judgement on that just like this DNA case.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. if you’re going to put me in jail through a process that is 75% accurate i might protest. So the different applications raise an issue for me. The face, race, gender, all determinable to a point. the face leading the direction of the discussion. Very many of the sources I find refute the idea that race is biological, that there are ways to differentiate between people of african ancestry and european ancestry. there is a project called african dna where they swab your mouth and tell you what region of africa you are connected to. I guess we hope too much from science.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank You a ton for writing such a wonderful piece of inotmrafion. Keep sharing such ideas in the future as well. This was actually what I was looking for, and I am glad to came here! Thanks for sharing the such information with us.

    Like

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