Is it just me, or does this sound like the creation of the Pre-Crime Unit from the movie Minority Report? The Rutgers newspaper reports that the Department of Homeland Security is working with Rutgers University to develop a computer program that can monitor suspicious
social networks and opinions found in news stories, Web blogs and other
Internet content in order to identify terrorist crimes before they are even committed:
software and algorithms could rapidly detect social networks among
groups by identifying who is talking to whom on public blogs and
message boards, researchers said. Computers could ideally pick out
entities trying to conceal themselves under different aliases. It
would also be able to sift through massive amounts of text and decipher
opinions - such as anti-American sentiment - that would otherwise be
difficult to do manually.
The program is designed to sift
rapidly through huge amounts of data. It has also been described as a
sort of "Super Google" researchers such as Eduard Hovy at The
University of Southern California, to explain the scope and quickness
of the technology. One of the ideal results would be for
Homeland Security officials to be able to "find a suspicious group
based on its pre-event communication activity before they act,"
according to a PowerPoint presentation used by researchers to explain
As one professor from Rutgers points out, such a computing system would have "the potential for abuse" if people knowingly or unknowingly expand the definition of "terrorist" to include "anyone who is opposed to the current administration and wants to form a protest group." Anyway, as with most things, the overall idea is good, but it's the implementation that's tricky. Just ask Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Russian organization that eventually became the KGB. (When he founded the group, it was called the "All-Russia Extraordinary Commission to Combat Counter-Revolution and Sabotage.")
[image: Minority Report spoof]
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."
- A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
- In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
- The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.
Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.
Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.
- Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
- Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
- But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.