In my last article, I described an advanced form of Natural Language Processing (NLP) system that underpins an "interrogation in a box" solution. Today, thanks to the BBC, we have an insight into similar technology deployed by the FBI. The following quote is from the BBC article:
It picked up a posting showing a picture of a gun being held above a scrawled note, which read "tomorrow - last day of school" and went on to mention bullies and "leaving this world".
Whilst this may not seem a lot to go on, it does reveal a lot in terms of technical capability and demonstrates that the technology I had described used to conduct automated interrogations exists. Let's examine the technical requirements needed to make the above analysis in an automated fashion.
To begin with, we have image recognition that can identify a firearm. Most likely, such a system would need to be able to identify the particular type of firearm, as it would need to rule out any other type of object. Next we have the ability to recognise handwriting, analyse the content and all without prior training.
Now, given the wide range of contexts available and the numerous postings that would likely include such phrases, the fact that this was brought to the attention of investigators points to one thing. The system performing the "scanning" was not a simple keyword analysis system.
To be able to comprehend such disparate sources of information, or phrases and images, requires the ability to comprehend the context of the overall text and images. That is, such a system needs to be able to connect the dots between the image, the text and the basic profile of individuals likely to target schools.
That takes an advanced form of Artificial Intelligence. We're not talking a simple bot here either, but rather, the amalgamation of image recognition, natural language processing and behavioural analysis. Essentially, an "artificial analyst in a box", or expert system.
Also, what is important to note is that this would be classified as "foreign intelligence" and not the "domestic intelligence" that is the remit of the FBI. This either leads to the conclusion that the FBI is illegally monitoring foreign nations, or more likely, that the system that picked up this information was in the hands of either the CIA or NSA.
Either way, it shows that the various agencies are not fully forthcoming on their usage of modern technology and that the backend of the Synthetic Telepathy system I described in my last article, really does exist.
As such, the stories of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay may be the tip of the iceberg in terms of scandals involving torture and these activities may expand across the Atlantic to the British government.