Why We Need AI to Study America’s Gun Violence Epidemic


Shootings are an epidemic in the US, but federal funding for research into gun violence has been in a deep freeze since 1996, thanks in part to the NRA-backed Dickey Amendment, which prevents the Center for Disease Control from pursuing research “to advocate or promote gun control.”

By Jordan Pearson | MOTHERBOARD

Basically, humans can’t get money to research the problem of gun violence in the US. To get around this, some scientists want machines to do the job.

On September 25, University of Pennsylvania computer scientists Ellie Pavlick and Chris Callison-Burch unveiled a new, human-annotated database of gun violence incidents in the US at the Bloomberg Data for Good Exchange Conference in New York. The database was created by workers on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform, and carefully highlights information from thousands of news articles over the course of several years, Pavlick told me in an interview.

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