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AI United States Government

America's Data-Swamped Spy Agencies Pin Their Hopes On AI (phys.org) 62

An anonymous reader quotes Phys.org: Swamped by too much raw intel data to sift through, US spy agencies are pinning their hopes on artificial intelligence to crunch billions of digital bits and understand events around the world. Dawn Meyerriecks, the Central Intelligence Agency's deputy director for technology development, said this week the CIA currently has 137 different AI projects, many of them with developers in Silicon Valley. These range from trying to predict significant future events, by finding correlations in data shifts and other evidence, to having computers tag objects or individuals in video that can draw the attention of intelligence analysts. Officials of other key spy agencies at the Intelligence and National Security Summit in Washington this week, including military intelligence, also said they were seeking AI-based solutions for turning terabytes of digital data coming in daily into trustworthy intelligence that can be used for policy and battlefield action.

America's Data-Swamped Spy Agencies Pin Their Hopes On AI

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  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Sunday September 10, 2017 @12:41PM (#55169625) Homepage

    "The Skynet Funding Bill is passed. The system goes on-line August 4th. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    the CIA currently has 137 different AI projects,

    *gets worried*

    many of them with developers in Silicon Valley.

    Those privileged moronic dipshits? We got nothing to worry about...

  • by ytene ( 4376651 ) on Sunday September 10, 2017 @01:04PM (#55169765)
    It's a while since Edward Snowden's documents were released on line, but I vaguely remember one - a memo between two employees of one of the contractors employed by the US Government [logically that would be BAH, but I do not recall for sure] in which one person was basically saying,

    "This is madness - the proposal we've got here would generate so much data that the analysts simply wouldn't be able to assimilate it, much less find anything of value!"

    The response was, essentially, some "Management Speak" to the effect of, "Look, our job is not to question our most important client when they want to spend money. You and I both know that they won't be able to make sense of all of this data, but as long as they are paying us, today, to collect and store it, then tomorrow they can pay us to develop the technology to help them make sense of it. Remember, our role here is to maximise shareholder value - in our company..."

    If I can find the link to the piece [I am pretty sure it was one of Greenwald's articles] then I'll post it as a link. But if this is vaguely true, then the OP makes complete sense.

    It is also worth noting what isn't being said. At no point [in this coverage] is anyone saying, "Wait - if we can't cope with the amount of data we're collecting today, maybe we should scale back what we collect - apply some filters and narrow our search criteria - until we get a more precise data set." Well, maybe that option was reviewed and discarded. Even so, it's quite remarkable that nobody thought to figure out how they were going to analyze all the yottabytes of data that they knew would be generated by the collection systems...

    Definitely sounds like a contractor-led initiative to me...
    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      It's probably not that nobody thought of it, but rather of strong perverse incentives...as you indicate in the first part of your post.

  • A few rules (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sandbagger ( 654585 ) on Sunday September 10, 2017 @01:06PM (#55169779)

    1) If you need to collect everything, it's because you don't know what you want.
    2) Collecting everything is expensive and usually wrong because data ages differently.
    3) A pile of inaccurate data does not become more accurate the more data you have.
    4) Confirmation bias is an omnipresent risk.
    5) Priming is an omnipresent risk.
    6) The sub group of people who make up the defence and intelligence communities have their own outlooks, biases and foibles, like the rest of us.
    7) The 'we must do something with this since data we have it' is a variant of the sunk costs fallacy.

  • by MostAwesomeDude ( 980382 ) on Sunday September 10, 2017 @01:07PM (#55169781) Homepage

    Because this is how you get The Patriots. Just wait; before long, they'll be posting memes, funding private armies, and injecting senators with nanomachines.

  • Does this mean that Google is going to be asking me to identify what is, and is not espionage?
  • Central Artificial Intelligence Agency
  • Too much data is just as useless as not enough if you lack the means to read through it all.

    A monumental failure on the intelligence community for not realizing this before implementing the systems designed to catch it all.

    • You're presuming that the IC somehow came up with the data. Not so; the data came up with itself: http://www.eetimes.com/author.... [eetimes.com] (one of a multitude of articles about this).

      Ok, someone created that data, it didn't *really* create itself; but it wasn't the IC. Nor (for better or for worse) is the IC the only organization that wants to sift through data.

  • Combined with the following story about AIs writing fake reviews, I see a bright future for fake intelligence reports that support the intent of intervention in some country of choice.
  • All decent freedom-loving Americans pin our hopes on these unamerican neo-stasi peeping toms getting defunded and disbanded.

All this wheeling and dealing around, why, it isn't for money, it's for fun. Money's just the way we keep score. -- Henry Tyroon