Monday, February 11, 2019

The Criminal Mind Versus the Hive Mind...

Noticed a talk by Steven Strogatz at the World Government Summit gathering getting a lot of buzz today:

(haven’t seen the full talk though hope to find it on YouTube at some point)

Anyway, it made me think of something I’ve wondered about for awhile: the Web seems like a great place for the ‘hive mind’ of interested individuals to solve crimes long unsolved by limited, isolated police departments — about a year ago a short-lived (fictional) TV show even operated on the premise that the internet could be used to involve 1000s of people as crime-solvers. 
But I’ve looked at various Web forums, discussion sites, YouTube channels, and sites like WebSleuths and haven’t seen much success at crime-solving — one could expect lots of chaff, repetition, misinformation, wild-goose chasing, etc. at such sites, but one might still expect enough insightful observations and bits of new info to bubble to the surface for a given crime to be solved — I’m speaking here of long-unsolved crimes, not recent, in-the-news events where the internet can prove useful. (…also, NOT talking about recent technological forensic advances like genetic genealogy)

So, I’m just wondering if anyone can point to unsolved crimes that actually reached a solution largely by virtue of independent sleuthers on the Web brainstorming and aiding law enforcement, when police were stymied? And if NOT, well, why not?

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