How can you determine if two fingerprints are merely similar or are an exact match? Is forensics as practiced currently, skill and art — or science?
I was surprised to learn from Sargur Srihari that forensics is not as scientific in its methods as one might think from watching the various TV shows. Neither are the practitioners as unbiased as one might prefer when examining the data. Srihari is working to improve forensic methodology. He writes that one way to improve the methodology is to use “pattern recognition and other computational methods [that] can reduce the bias inherent in traditional criminal forensics” [Srihari, 2010].
He wrote an article in the December 2010 IEEE Spectrum called Beyond C.S.I.: The Rise of Computational Forensics in which he gives an overview of how computational forensics can improve the methods and results of forensic investigation. For example, in the image below, he describes how computers are used to compare a shoe print from a crime scene against a database of known shoe prints.
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Do you believe that computers can make forensic investigations more science than art and skill? Why or why not?