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Behavioral analysis - not only on Criminal Minds

Everything around us begins and ends with humans and their behaviour. And the analysis of that is not only hauntingly interesting but also very useful. For everyone - sales managers, psychiatrists and even tech companies. Once you learn to use the added and obtained value, behavioural analysis becomes pretty much the most valuable study there is.

Ricardo Santos

Co-founder and CEO

Oct. 11, 2019, 2:02 p.m.

There are only few things as complex and unpredictable as human behaviour.

We are very advanced animals, as they say. But that is exactly what makes our field challenging, and we, as mentioned previously, couldn’t be happier about challenges. And the challenge in this case is not only learning to understand human behaviour - both as an individual and a crowd - but finding the right use for that, channeling it most effectively, getting something valuable out of it. What does it even mean? The newest studies in behavioural economics field say that even humans themselves can’t predict (some even use the word control) their decisions, let alone us, let alone an artificial intelligence software.

We decided that it’s all about the usage of the data, though. Not all of the decisions can and need to be predicted, but there are some certain patterns we can use to make the world a better place. They usually can be defined as everyday things (NB! this is a made-up term) - the ones that we don’t even really want to do, the ones that don’t involve any decisions, the ones we don’t think about yet do on a daily basis. They are actually the most dangerous ones, as our inner autopilot is not as strong as needed to avoid unnecessary errors. That’s the shame of human race, we are very capable of errors. Let’s take driving as an example. How many times have you, especially those of you with automatic cars, caught yourselves driving past a traffic light without realising what was the colour on it, or found yourselves in your own backyard with no memories of the last 20 blocks, or did a full make-up on your way to work? Yep, that is dangerous. But that is also human behaviour. There are patterns and there are predictions, and we can make it work.

That’s the pragmatic side of behavioural analysis - just to give a broader sense to it, the sense anyone can relate to. There is another side, though, and that, you are right, IS more like the Criminal Minds (for this and future references - I am talking about the CBS show, the one with serial killers and FBI), and that one is even more complex and even more unpredictable, but, just like the most professional gamblers, that one, too, has its tells. We all do. Researching the field and studying the materials we have - on ourselves, on streets, even on Youtube - it doesn’t really take a criminal mastermind to come up with some tells that give away potential threatening intentions by simply looking and paying attention. We, those who have a bit of sixth sense, observation skills and a vision good enough, could do it easily. But, well, we have other things to do, therefore we need someone with all the six senses plus the seventh one - the ability to never get tired and never let anything slip unnoticed. Someone - or something. Something artificially intelligent.

Just to reveal you some of what we have taught our theft recognition software and make this post more interesting, here are some hints and tells how to notice whether someone might be about to be worth taking a closer look onto:

spending way more than your usual “oh, I’m just very indecisive” time in the store. We all know, of course, how it is to not have any idea what to make for dinner or what kind of snacks will our friends crave at the movie night tonight, but even that indecisiveness has some borders and deadlines. So if you notice someone and keep noticing them for a seemingly eternity, better safe than sorry - keep observing. Nervous behaviour. To be honest, this could mean anything - excessive sweating, nervous tics, constant looking around, unusual scratching, face touching or even hair pulling - you name it, we have our own things. We would like to think that Heptasense has gathered them all (or at least as close to “all” as possible) and put together well for the machines. Of course, of course, it is normal to be nervous for the widest variety of reasons, but again - better safe than sorry. Keeping an eye on someone does not hurt. Covered faces. Even though Heptasense software doesn’t recognise faces and keep the identities protected in the real-time, the data from the cameras can later be used for identification. Therefore one of the first things we taught the software - people with covered faces are suspicious. We all have our concerns about the privacy and identity protection but studies show - most of the crimes could have been done only with a help of the clothing adjustments. That is worth paying the attention to.

In conclusion -

everything around us begins and ends with humans and their behaviour. And the analysis of that is not only hauntingly interesting but also very useful. For everyone - sales managers, psychiatrists or even tech companies. Once you learn to use the added and obtained value, behavioural analysis becomes pretty much the most valuable study there is.