Afrofuturism, Critical Race Theory, and Policing in the Year 2044

Privacy and Security and Artificial Intelligence

Article Snapshot


Bennett Capers


New York University Law Review, Vol. 94, pp. 1-60, 2019


In the future, more than half of the population of the United States will be people of color. Afrofuturists foresee a world in which egalitarian policies and technology reduce crime and bias in criminal justice.

Policy Relevance

Surveillance technology can be used for good.

Main Points

  • By 2044, over half the population of the United States will be comprised of people of color, making the U.S. a "majority-minority" country.
  • In an Afrofuturist future, crime would drop dramatically.
    • Much crime arises from frustrations with wealth inequality and capitalism.
    • Surveillance and big data would make it nearly impossible to commit crime in public without detection.
  • In the future, technologies will allow a reduction in the use of force by the police, and reduce the interactions that lead to “blue on black” violence.
    • Technology will enable police to detect illegal firearms remotely.
    • Police will stop vehicles remotely, and driverless cars will be perfected, reducing traffic stops and car chases.
  • Some fear surveillance technologies, but Afrofuturists' commitment to equality would mean that, in a majority-minority future, technology will be put to good use.
    • Surveillance cameras now function as tools of survival and proof of the reality of racism.
    • Mass surveillance will be a welcome change from race-based surveillance.
  • The future Supreme Court will be technology-friendly, and will continue to permit nontargeted surveillance in public, recognizing that surveillance reduces unequal policing and furthers the goal of equality.
  • Algorithmic sentencing will be individually tailored, and its main goal will be rehabilitation.
    • Prisons will be used only as a last resort.
    • Legislators or the Supreme Court will abolish the death penalty.

Get The Article

Find the full article online

Search for Full Article