The CIA Claims They Are Psychic

November 2, 2016

Today’s headline sounds like something one would read printed on a grocery store tabloid or a conspiracy Web site.  Before I start making claims about the Illuminati, this is not a claim about magical powers, but rather big data and hard science…I think.  Defense One shares that, “The CIA Says It Can Predict Social Unrest As Early As 3 To 5 Days Out.”  While deep learning and other big data technology is used to drive commerce, science, healthcare, and other industries, law enforcement officials and organizations are using it to predict and prevent crime.

The CIA users big data to analyze data sets, discover trends, and predict events that might have national security ramifications.  CIA Director John Brennan hired Andrew Hallman to be the Deputy Director for Digital Innovations within the agency.  Under Hallman’s guidance, the CIA’s “anticipatory intelligence” has improved.  The CIA is not only using their private data sets, but also augment them with open data sets to help predict social unrest.

The big data science allows the CIA to make more confident decisions and provide their agents with better information to assess a situation.

Hallman said analysts are “becoming more proficient in articulating” observations to policymakers derived in these new ways. What it adds up to, Hallman said, is a clearer picture of events unfolding—or about to unfold—in an increasingly unclear world.

What I wonder is how many civil unrest events have been prevented?  For security reasons, some of them remain classified.  While the news is mongering fear, would it not be helpful if the CIA shared some of its success stats with the news and had them make it a priority to broadcast it?

Whitney Grace, November 2, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


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