Despite advances in forensic techniques, criminal investigations still rely on age-old tools such as eyewitness testimony, which can be biased and unreliable. But what if we could take advantage of other human abilities, such as sense of smell or a talent for facial recognition? Researchers are exploring that possibility and other crime-fighting techniques that rely less on human judgment and more on big data crunching such as an algorithm that predicts an offender's risk of committing another crime. These approaches need to be validated before we put them to use, but research suggests they could be a boon to the criminal justice system.
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