Benjamin A.T. GrahamaLauren BrownGeorgios Chochlakis
Interactions between the government officials and civilians affect public wellbeing and the state legitimacy that is necessary for the functioning of democratic society. Police officers, the most visible and contacted agents of the state, interact with the public more than 20 million times a year during traffic stops. Today, these interactions are regularly recorded by body-worn cameras (BWCs), which are lauded as a means to enhance police accountability and improve police-public interactions. However, the timely analysis of these recordings is hampered by a lack of reliable automated tools that can enable the analysis of these complex and contested police-public interactions. This article proposes an approach to developing new multi-perspective, multimodal machine learning (ML) tools to analyze the audio, video, and transcript information from this BWC footage. Our approach begins by identifying the aspects of communication most salient to different stakeholders, including both community members and police officers. We move away from modeling approaches built around the existence of a single ground truth and instead utilize new advances in soft labeling to incorporate variation in how different observers perceive the same interactions. We argue that this inclusive approach to the conceptualization and design of new ML tools is broadly applicable to the study of communication and development of analytic tools across domains of human interaction, including education, medicine, and the workplace.