Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Total Information Awareness & Combat Zones that See : How do you manage that data ?

I just finished reading a very interesting article in the Village Voice: Big Brother Gets a Brain. Noah Shachtman provides a very good overview of the technology aspects of these new DARPA projects. I'm just wondering how they're going to track all the data they get! Shachtman points out that the military will focus on extracted meta-data rather than raw footage but what data will they use? Will researchers attempt to use pure number crunching genetic algorithms to produce meaning from a mass of jumbled data? Is this just a way of justifying American-Christian teleology by proving that there is order to Chaos and that God does exist (as per Bayes)? Given the scope of the problem and the amount of data involved, another approach may be required.

Maybe researchers should give good old fashioned library science a try and incorporate either the Dewey Decimal System or the Library of Congress Classification system... although I don't seem to recall the subject classfication for "Suspicious swarthy man of middle eastern decent driving a red '95 Ford Explorer with California plates on a Sunday afternoon on I-75 at Wilkes-Barre." If not pre-coordinated systems, maybe they should give colon classification a try. Using our example we have: PERSONALITY: Man--Swarthy--Middle Eastern MATERIAL: SUV--Ford Explorer--Red--1995 ENERGY: Driving--Aggressively SPACE: Wilkes-Barre PA--I-75 TIME: Sunday afternoon. Hmm... that seemed too easy!


I'm sure that Ranganathan would be proud to know that his great project is a great tool for Orwellian surveilance!

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