Police departments across the globe are embracing artificial intelligence (AI) to support decision-making in preventing crime and disorder. The use of digital technologies and the growing role of private security, tech, and consultancy companies, are reshaping policing and the ways in which we ensure social order and security, enforce law, and prevent and investigate crime. However, this ongoing radical transformation of cultures of policing is little understood. To change that, AGOPOL brings together a team of 15 established scholars and researchers from cultural and area studies, anthropology, criminology, sociology, history, literature, and law. The project is based on qualitative and ethnographic research on policing in Norway, Russia, India, Brazil, and South Africa. Drawing on these cases we will analyze the global cultural transformation of policing as an effect of the intertwined processes of datafication, securitization, and commodification of security. Our analysis will shed light on the diverse consequences of algorithmic governance for society, police forces, and those policed: from the transformation of knowledge cultures and organizations, to algorithmic injustices and their impact on legitimacy and societal trust. We will develop a comparative cross-cultural analysis of policing as a global digitized project. This will produce knowledge on the ways in which advances in artificial intelligence shape policing in different cultural, political, legal and economic contexts. The extent to which the police are affected by digitalisation, organization and management concepts plays out differently depending on logics, practices and ideas about the possibilities of digitalisation. The comparative and qualitative analysis shows that specific cultural conditions underly the uptake of new predictive policing tools and intelligent surveillance technologies powered by narrow artificial intelligence. In India, Brazil, Russia and South-Africa the technological shift seems to be a central driver for the development, but in Norway new management concepts and organisation are of greater importance. This difference may be related to legal conditions and a reluctance to change the legislation in addition to cultural traditions.
Both data acquisition and analyzes are still ongoing. Conferences and workshops have been carried out according to plan and we are well underway with planning and organizing future ones. Several articles, a book and numerous book chapters have been published. We have disseminated results both in academic settings and through popular scientific media.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the technology of the future that will radically transform the world we live in. AI and the growing role of private security, tech and consultancy companies, are reshaping policing and how we ensure social order and security, enforce law, and prevent and investigate crime. However, this ongoing radical transformation of our world is little understood. To change that, AGOPOL brings together a team of 15 established scholars and young talented researchers from cultural and area studies, anthropology, sociology, history, literature, and law and based in 9 countries, to develop a ground-breaking comparative cultural analysis of policing as a global digitized and hybrid project. Based on ethnographic research in Norway, Russia, India, Brazil, and South Africa, we will leverage comparative cross-cultural analysis and generate a novel understanding of cultures of policing – both within and beyond the police. We will analyse the impact of algorithmic governance on society and those policed – from the unintended consequences, algorithmic injustices, and harms related to these new modes of policing, to their impact on legitimacy and societal trust. Our analysis will deal with issues such as the underlying cultural conditions shaping the use of AI technologies in policing; the transformation of institutional cultures stemming from the technological change; the transformation of knowledge cultures with the increasing dominance of datafied ‘truth’; the interaction of algorithmic governance and cultures of policing; and, perhaps most importantly, the global cultural transformation as an effect of the intertwined processes of datafication, securitization, and commodification of security. AGOPOL will result in a number of scholarly publications (3 special journal issues, 21 peer-reviewed journal articles, 2 books, 16 book chapters) and events (3 international workshops, 3 international conferences), as well as a website and a series of short movies.