Pentagon reveals plans to use big data and machine learning in fight against ISIS


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Big data and machine learning are used in a number of ways: Better AI, improved malware detection, smarter messenger apps, and much, much more. Now, they’re being utilized by the military to aid in its fight against Islamic State.

On Monday, the Pentagon announced the establishment of the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team (AWCFT), codenamed Project Maven. Its main objective is to use big data and machine learning to shift through the thousands of hours’ worth of IS surveillance tapes, which are currently overwhelming military and civilian intelligence analysts.

“We have to tackle the problem a different way,” Air Force Lt. Gen. John N.T. Shanahan, director of defense intelligence for warfighter support, told Defense One. “We’re not going to solve it by throwing more people at the problem. That’s the last thing that we actually want to do. We want to be smarter about what we’re doing.”

It’s hoped that Maven will enable analysts to make better use of their time, 80 percent of which is currently spent doing mundane, administrative tasks like entering data into spreadsheets.

60 percent of drone video consists of the craft flying to and from the points of interest. There’s also the problem of clips that show little more than hours of impenetrable bad weather. Automation could allow analysts to examine only the important content without having to trawl through all the footage.

AWCFT has 90 days to develop or acquire the data labeling algorithms. The next two phases, both of which are also 90 days long, entail procuring the required hardware and software before implementing the system into existing intelligence projects.

“Once we show success, people are going to say what else can we apply this to,” added Shanahan. “To me that breaks things wide open and we’re going to figure out how we really, at scale, bring in some of these capabilities into the department.”

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Raoul Duke

I cannot fathom why the human tragedy playing out in Syria, Iraq, etc., is still going on. It seems I am being asked to believe that some of the most powerful militaries in the world cannot defeat Daesh.
Its ongoing nature means a continuing refugee crisis and the continual spending of money without knowing if it is helping or harming both the people of the affected countries and those in the West.
Something smells real bad here.


Posts: 68   +24
TechSpot Elite
Stop supporting Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain by selling weapons.
Cut off supply lines and funding for terrorists.
Support Assad regime.

If U.S really wanted to get rid of Daesh, they would be eliminated by now.
It is all about politics, money and power.

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,001   +6,775
It's the same old message that has resonated since two centuries ago. Good vs. Evil with the US always seeing itself in the role of "good". After all these years you would think we would finally learn to keep from sticking our noses into the business of other countries. Just because we don't agree with them is little reason to jump in with both feet. Once again we going head to head with the Russians via our surrogates and unfortunately we are not willing to use the same "no holds bar" approach as our enemy and in recent wars we have not been willing to get out of the way of the generals and let them finish the job. There is simply too much money to be made in war and the politicians and war industry giants are reaping all the profits. It's one thing to go to war for a reason, it's quite another to go just to improve the bottom line .....


Posts: 187   +105
This process has been ruling our lives for a long time now. I was first aware during the Vietnam farce. Young lives wasted, families divided, etc. The problem remains that "We the people" are powerless to do anything about it. Some people think that voting is the answer but they are deceiving themselves. Politicians are just puppets that distract the public from what is really going on. The arms industry and others like "Big Pharma", and the agri-chemical companies are really running things and mainstream (controlled) media shape the way the man in the street thinks. Like the OP says above, how is it that the so-called most powerful military force on the planet can't defeat a few hundred religious nutters?

Raoul Duke

Well, regarding government I see three big problems.
First, dictatorship doesn't work, because the benevolent dictator doesn't exist
Second, democracy isn't serving us well because many things in society that need to be dealt with won't be touched because they are controversial/complex and touching them would jeopardize their chances of re-election.
Third, government has become so big that the President/PM or leader is isolated and dependent on what their advisors are telling them. By the time (for example) it comes from an intelligence agent on the ground to the Oval Office it has been through so many people (many with own agendas) that it scarcely resembles the original report. Iraq and WMD come to mind.