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September 03, 2017

Jason Hope sees possibilities for reducing social problems through technology

Since the late 1980s, when crime rates peaked in urban locations across the country, those same crime rates have been steadily falling, all the way to the present. This has been especially apparent across some of the most serious types of crime, including burglary, larceny and homicide. While many sociologists debate the cause of this dramatic decline in criminal activity since the late 1980s, increasingly, one of the most important explanations is being viewed as the role that technology has played in both reducing the impulse to commit criminal activity as well as reducing the number of soft targets for criminals to avail themselves of.

Jason Hope is one of the nation’s leading tech entrepreneurs. After having founded dozens of successful startups, including Jawa, the first premium mobile content streaming provider in the country, he has gone on to start a career as a tech journalist and blogger, talking about the most pressing issues in the technological space.

One of the areas that Hope sees the Internet of Things dramatically changing is the overall ability of criminals to commit crime and their desire to live a criminal lifestyle. Hope points to evidence that the increased availability of things like video games, content on demand and the ability to stay in constant touch with friends and family have materially contributed to the reduction in criminals’ tendency towards anti-social behavior.

At the same time, things like smart car alarms, 24/7 video surveillance and high-tech solutions like local gunshot detectors have dramatically increased the difficulty that criminals have in getting away with anti-social acts. Hope believes the Internet of Things will continue to make the commission of criminal acts vastly more difficult while, at the same time, giving criminals many activities with which to occupy their time.

Hope sees a future in which things like the universal basic income, paid for by the vast increases in efficiency and cost reductions seen from the implementation of technologies like self-driving vehicles, will be able to provide the former criminal class with the ability to live a life of leisure, engrossing themselves in video games and other activities that, while, perhaps, not exactly pro-social, are much less costly to society as a whole.

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