BY PATRICK TUCKERREAD BIO
OCTOBER 28, 2016
Artificial intelligence will weave open-source and satellite data into useful intelligence in real time, the Pentagon’s No. 2 says.
It still takes the U.S. military too long to turn social media and other open-source information into something that operators in the field can use. Artificial intelligence is going to change that, and give U.S. troops a distinct battlefield edge, says U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work.
Take the 2014 downing of Malaysian flight MH17 over Ukraine. (A conventional investigation by a European Union Joint Investigation Team took more than a year to affix blame to pro-Russian separatists operating a Russian-made BUK surface-to-air missile.) To test the current state of machine learning applied to open source intelligence, the Pentagon hired a data integration and geospatial intelligence company called Orbital Insight, a big-data analytics company with a focus on satellite imagery and geospatial data. Most of their business is commercial — for example, they, analyze pictures of parking lots from space topredict holiday sales trends.
The company quickly scanned all available open-source media and assembled a picture of evidence, and did it instantly. He used slides to tell the story to an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies: “On the lower left is a Twitter shot ofMH17 taking off…The next one comes from ParisMatch.com. It is the picture of the Russian SA-11 launcher with a serial number on it, date and time stamped near the village where the shootdown occurred; then on Bellingcat.com, the exact sameSA-11, at the exact same location. Then there’s a Twitter shot of a contrail of a missile rising at the time of the shootdown. Then a rebel leader takes credit for the shoot down on VK.com. That was immediately taken down, by the way. Finally on YouTube, there’s a picture of the exact same SA-11 with a missile rail that is now mysteriously empty going back into Russia. Learning machines did this without any human interaction.”