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Stretching the truth

Anyone who isn’t hiding under a rock knows the media is getting a bad-rap for stretching the truth. Sometimes there’s some truth to that stretching, even in stories about Artificial Intelligence and theft prevention.

For example, in a recent article over on DailyDot.com entitled “China is using predictive AI to stop crimes before they happen” they state

The systems aren’t just being used to prevent potentially fatal offenses. As Mashable points out, petty crimes like jaywalking or stealing toilet paper are also being monitored.

That’s not exactly what Yi Shu Ng of Mashable wrote. Here’s the actual quote I suppose DailyDot.com is referencing. It’s the only time “toilet paper” is mentioned.

China continues to embraced facial recognition technology in its public services. It’s used cameras to ID jaywalkers and watch over university dorms — to even limiting how much toilet paper you can get at a time.

“limiting how much toilet paper you can get” 

Calling it a petty crime and stealing is a detour from the original context.  If we dig a little deeper, by taking less than 1-second to click a link Yi Shu Ng’s article is referencing, like a good journalist should, we find the original Mashable article is referencing a Mashable video which states

This bathroom uses facial recognition technology to ration toilet paper

There’s no mention of “petty crime or stealing”. It goes to show how quickly the truth can change and the lack of effort in checking and understanding sources.

Ethics Policy

The very first sentence in The Daily Dots ethics policy states “The Daily Dot’s first and most important responsibility is accuracy. ”

Is it now? Many news outlets use false or misleading headlines to draw you in, and it appears Daily Dot is no different, regardless of their ethics policy.

Bigger picture

Obviously, the Mashable articles are talking about controlling the overuse of toilet paper, not that people were “stealing” anything.

And if you’re really paying attention and checking my sources, you might also notice China has implemented a type of “Minority ReportWOW!

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