A new tidbit of information from the US Military’s Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, or DARPA, has revealed more information than intended. According to a recent release, artificial intelligence is being developed that will run the government’s future video, audio and written surveillance systems in the United States.
You don’t have to look too far ahead to see the path we’re on will eventually end in the complete surveillance of all American citizens. The NSA leak from Edward Snowden revealed—unfortunately for the Obama administration—the first stage of this process that the government had hoped to keep concealed from public knowledge.
The government is already creating massive centers where servers are stored that will eventually operate the country’s visual surveillance system. Public companies with shady background have been exposed to have already created the technology and are continually developing their networks of interconnected cameras whose feed runs to a centralized database or storage center.
Of course the government uses the cover saying that their intentions are to ensure the security of the American people, but this remains yet to be determined. There is no reason that high ranking officials one day will not seek to abuse the power of their offices and access these surveillance systems with more sinister motives in mind.
DARPA has announced that they are seeking to remedy this possibility by encrypting the server that would house the hours and hours worth of video feed so that only a type of artificial intelligence would be able to access the data—acting more as a warden.
Data would only be able to be accessed through proper channels all looked over by the artificial intelligence for any wrongdoing. DARPA also explains that this AI will also act as a learning entity that will suit the needs of users better as time goes on similar to Apple’s SIRI.
Director of the Information Innovation Office at DARPA, Dan Kaufman, explains, “Imagine someone stationed at an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance facility looking for visual data of interest. Today this looks like one person in front of a bank of screens, not really seeing anything. In the future, it looks like a person interacting with an algorithm that becomes smarter about you and what you’re looking for as you interact with it.”
Trying to convey the intentions behind the AI all the while justifying their illegal surveillance program, Kaufman states, “We feel like there’s a slider that goes back and forth. Where, either we should collect everything, which feels bad, or we should collect nothing. And that also feels bad. What if there was a way to collect the data but encrypt it so that people couldn’t use it in a way that wasn’t approved?”
It’s not incomprehensible why DARPA would be boasting its newest government program to act similar to that of Apple’s SIRI, after all they did pioneer the technology behind SIRI in the first place. Back in the 90’s, DARPA was working on a program called PAL (Perceptive Assistant that Learns) that was set to act as a retrieving assistant for data within military databases. It was intended to do all the heavy lifting for computer operators allowing for users to focus specifically on the task at hand—and this is what SIRI spun off of.
With the rumors that Apple has been in league with the NSA when it comes to their snooping, these two facts, while hand in hand, raise a question. How long has the government been intent on creating an entire surveillance network? For a government agency to help create a private company’s operating assistant back in the 90’s it would appear that this plan has been in the works for quite some time.
This all aside, the AI technology sounds like it comes directly from the movie “Eagle Eye,” and we all know how that movie ends, don’t we?
Let us know what you think of the government’s intentions in a comment below!