After a flurry of police brutality cases this year and protests swarming the U.S. streets, thousands of mathematicians have joined scientists and engineers in calling for boycotting artificial intelligence from being used by law enforcement.
Over 2,000 mathematicians have signed a letter calling to boycott all collaboration with police and telling their colleagues to do the same in a future publication of the American Mathematical Society, Shadowproof reported.
The call to action for the mathematicians was the police killings of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and many more just this year.
“At some point, we all reach a breaking point, where what is right in front of our eyes becomes more obvious,” says Jayadev Athreya, a participant in the boycott and Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Washington. “Fundamentally, it’s a matter of justice.”
The mathematicians wrote an open letter, collecting thousands of signatures for a widespread boycott of police using algorithms for policing. Every mathematician within the group’s network pledges to refuse any and all collaboration with law enforcement.
The group is organizing a wide base of mathematicians in the hopes of cutting off police from using such technologies. The letter’s authors cite “deep concerns over the use of machine learning, AI, and facial recognition technologies to justify and perpetuate oppression.”