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Pentagon believes AI can predict world events. As an ex-military intelligence analyst on Iraq & USSR, I’m more than skeptical

11 19 1

As any Tom Cruise fan will tell you, claims of precognitive ability do not have happy endings. Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film, ‘Minority Report’, drove that point home in spades. But that was fiction – no, worse than fiction: Hollywood fiction, where screenwriters and directors conspire to manufacture viscerally pleasing narratives populated by picture-perfect characters who resolve some of the world’s most pressing problems in around two hours flat.

The Pentagon has been watching too many Hollywood films, it seems. Otherwise, how can one explain the attraction of something called the Global Information Dominance Experiments (or GIDE, a nod to the military’s proclivity for acronyms).

According to press reports, US Northern Command has completed a series of tests of the GIDE system – a “combination of AI (artificial intelligence), cloud computing and sensors” that, according to General Glen VanHerck, the commander of both Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, would allow US military commanders to predict events “days in advance.”

According to the article, “the machine learning-based system observes changes in raw, real-time data that hint at possible trouble.” In the example cited in the article, the GIDE system, flagged by satellite imagery depicting an adversarial submarine preparing to leave port, would flag the potential deployment, alerting all military units and commanders who would have an interest in such things. GIDE, the article brags, would be able to accomplish this “in seconds.” Military analysts, on the other hand, would take hours or even days to “comb through this information.”

General VanHerck is a believer. With the assistance of GIDE, he notes, the military will no longer be reactive when it comes to responding to global crises but will rather be able to assume a more proactive posture, nipping potential problems in the bud with a well-timed response. Civilian leadership will be better empowered as well, able to more effectively employ the tools of diplomacy to stop a crisis from becoming a conflict. According to the general, GIDE seeks “to leap forward our ability to maintain domain awareness, achieve information dominance and provide decision superiority in competition and crisis.”

As a former military intelligence analyst with no small amount of real-world experience, I have to confess to more than a little skepticism about the efficacy of a system like GIDE. I’m wary of “self-learning” machines, knowing all too well that they were all birthed by computing programs and algorithms produced by humans.

Anytime I hear a general officer, or one of his civilian superiors,........

© RT.com

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