A CIA-backed Swedish-American company claims that it’s new technology can predict disease, terrorist threats, economic swings and resource shortages. The Local’s Karen Holst explores.
A look into the future may no longer require palm readings, star alignments or tarot cards after the release of a new technology purporting to be an all-encompassing oracle of the future.
The Swedish-American software company, Recorded Future, has developed a program that specialises in predictive analysis and with backers including the CIA investment arm In-Q-Tel, it is hoped that averting terrorist attacks could be one of its uses.
“It is a useful aid but prediction is always difficult. The world we face has wicked problems, and it’s important to understand that people like (Anders Behring) Breivik and Al-Qaeda are pretty savvy in concealing themselves through code words and disguised meanings,” says Magnus Ranstorp, Research Director of the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College (Försvarshögskolan) and one of Sweden’s foremost experts on Islamic terrorism.
Using what they coin as a ”temporal analytics engine,” their forecasting tool helps analysts predict events and trends by scanning hundreds of thousands of high-quality news publications, blogs, public niche sources, trade magazines, government web sites, financial databases and more.
The program then sifts through the myriad of publicly available information, looking to identify links, extract information, measure data and visualize information that reveals patterns of the past, present and the future probability of almost anything.
The company claims its tool to be so sensitive to data changes that it could even ”beat the news” and anticipate political crises, disease outbreaks, major market fluctuations, resource shortages and natural disasters, to a name a few.
And the world is listening. Both Google and the United States intelligence agency, the CIA, are financial backers of Recorded Future through their investment arms by In-Q-Tel and Google Ventures, respectively.
The Massachusetts-based Recorded Future’s concept appears to be a close cousin to similar data analysis tools that Dow Jones, Thomson Reuters and Selerity are building for the financial industry. Their idea is to develop a program that analyzes the news to predict how it will affect individual stocks and markets.
While the company offers tailored approaches to the financial arena, it extends its ability to harness the predictive power of the web and can provide analysis for almost any sector or industry.
In this new era of redefined terrorism and the threat of seemingly random attacks around any corner, could such software alter history and evade or thwart evil plots?
“It’s important to have this technology, to use it, and to understand its limits. In the end, it’s not going to be enough though – we need human interaction to sift through data,” says Magnus Ranstorp.
Recorded Future claims it can monitor terrorist activity by tracking the individuals who are attracting attention, who are connected and where they are travelling, to cite a few examples.
Ranstorp, who CNN named its principal terrorism expert following the September 11th attacks and who was invited to testify before the first hearing of the 9/11 Commission, concurs that this type of network analysis can reveal strengths in patterns of different types of relationships between individuals and entities but he points out it is also always limited to open source data.
“Terrorist related operators know what not to say and use closed chat rooms. But, even when trolling open source information, one still needs to know exactly what they are looking for,” says Ranstorp, adding that due to the complicated nature of terrorism, one small change can change and effect many other facets in a blink of an eye.
“No intelligence service has the man-power or man-hours to go through the tsunami of information that is on the web, but it is still a useful tool to indicate broad-based trends and patterns,” he concludes.
Other sectors Recorded Future can assist relate to marketing and branding, public relations, business intelligence and more.
For example, it can monitor the impact of an advertising campaign or view the momentum of online discourse over a period of time for brand analysis.
Naturally, the program transcends language barriers with the ability to understand all the ingenious devices of the human language, amplifying its effectiveness.
Not only does Recorded Future review events and entities, it has the capacity to analyze time and space dimension, meaning references to where and when an event has taken place, or even where and when it will take place.
This is only the tip of its soothsaying abilities. The rest lies buried in the endless undulation of open source information swirling online.
Of course, it is not a perfect tool as some phenomena, like the spontaneous volcano eruption in Iceland, are truly impossible to predict.
While admitting their algorithms are not perfect, Recorded Future believes that by gathering, interpreting and linking the information available to the world, it can effectively reveal all that mankind really does know about the future.
Operation Mountain Guardian – largest terrorism drill ever takes place in Denver as Obama visits on the 27th. This is when we have a Elenin-Earth-Sun-Merucry alignment happening. Worth keeping an eye on.
Operation Mountain Guardian is a terrorism-based full-scale exercise sponsored by the North Central All-Hazards Emergency Management Region, Denver Urban Area Security Initiative, and Front Range Metropolitan Medical Response System. The exercise is a Homeland Security Grant funded event made possible due to grant funding from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through FEMA Region VIII and the State of Colorado Governor’s Office of Homeland Security.
The North Central All-Hazards Emergency Management Region is one of nine emergency preparedness and response Regions within the State of Colorado. The North Central Region (NCR) is organized around ten counties: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin and Jefferson.
One purpose of the NCR is to improve Region-wide emergency preparedness, response and homeland security capabilities through coordinated planning, training and exercise efforts. This exercise is evidence of the growing public safety partnership between regional emergency response agencies.
Operation Mountain Guardian is part of a Regional Training and Exercise Plan established in 2009. Planning for Operation Mountain Guardian began in January 2010 and has included several building-block events designed to prepare responders to effectively participate in the full-scale exercise.
The overall Operation Mountain Guardian exercise objectives are:
1. Communications: Assess the ability to establish and maintain multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional communications in response to a terrorism incident.
2. Hazmat Response and Decontamination: Evaluate the capability to coordinate multiple hazmat response teams and assess their ability to perform initial response actions.
3. Public Safety & Security Response: Evaluate the ability to establish scene security and crime scene preservation, coordinate a multi-jurisdictional response, and manage intelligence information in order to mitigate the effects of the event.
4. Explosive Device Response Operations: Evaluate the capability to manage and coordinate explosive device response operations using regional bomb squad teams.
5. Onsite Incident Management: Evaluate the ability to implement the Incident Command System (ICS) and establish multi-jurisdictional command and control.
6. Triage and Pre-Hospital Treatment: Examine the ability of EMS to provide effective pre-hospital emergency medical care in response to a terrorism incident.
7. Medical Surge: Evaluate medical surge capability at area hospitals.
The CIA Really Wants to Make Hollywood’s Next Blockbuster
By Mark Riffee | Gizmodo.com
Are you an aspiring filmmaker who wants to produce a spy thriller? Well, you’re in luck because the CIA has a pile of script ideas lying around.
Ironic, you say, that an organization known for secrecy is doling out helpful hints to Hollywood? The CIA doesn’t think so. For them it’s all about image control. And they’re just the start of it. The Department of Defense and just about every branch of the military has an entertainment industry liaison similar to the CIA’s.
If you want to make a war film and need a fleet of F-22s, a crowd of Marines, or a Navy aircraft carrier, just call up the Department of Defense’s entertainment media office and they’ll tell you if the Army can spare that M1A1 Abrams tank you’ve always wanted for a day or two of filming.
“The scripts we get are only the writer’s idea of how the Department of Defense operates,” Vince Ogilvie, deputy director of the Defense Department’s entertainment liaison office, told Danger Room. “We make sure the Department and facilities and people are portrayed in the most accurate and positive light possible.”
News reports are saying that this is a ‘near earth asteroid’. Watch the videos I’ve posted. Does that look like typical meteorite behavior to you? The object seems to be rocking to and from in the sky. And a news reporter said this: “A lot of people said this was moving horizontally too, which might rule out a meteor.”
By R.U. Sirius | HPlusMagazine.com
Transhumanists seek enhancement in all aspects of existence. Or so they say. The average H+ers want better bodies, better and more deeply embedded tools for living, smarter brains and so on. But do the supermen and women want enhanced knowledge or awareness of themselves?
“The rush to invade Iraq had elements of social hysteria. After an event like 9/11, fear took hold and Saddam Hussein was inflated to a sort of witch-like mythical figure who was weeks away from launching attacks on America. The lack of questioning of the war could be seen as a sort of social hysteria.”
Hysteria describes unmanageable emotional excesses. People who are “hysterical” often lose self-control due to an overwhelming fear that may be caused by multiple events in one’s past that involved some sort of severe conflict; the fear can be centered on a body part, or, most commonly, on an imagined problem with that body part.
The term also occurs in the phrase mass hysteria to describe mass public near-panic reactions. It is commonly applied to the waves of popular medical problems that “everyone gets” in response to news articles. A similar usage refers to any sort of “public wave” phenomenon, and has been used to describe the periodic widespread reappearance and public interest in UFO reports, crop circles, and similar examples. Hysteria was often associated with events like the Salem Witch Trials, or slave revolt conspiracies, where it is better understood through the related sociological term of moral panic.