Can the future be predicted? The answer to that age-old question could soon be ‘yes’, if a recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Defense is to be believed. One of its agencies is currently developing artificial intelligence that analyses internet data to predict global events. Designed to enhance national security, the project has met with some opposition.
Photo credits: DARPA
The USA’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is currently working on a project that would not look out of place in a sci-fi film, as reported by the website Clubic.com. Famed for its development of the ARPAnet in the 1960s, DARPA announced on 4 January that it is developing artificial intelligence capable of predicting global trends and events.
Identifying causal links between events
The experimental programme goes by the name of KAIROS, which stands partly for Artificial Intelligence Reasoning Over Schemas and refers to the Greek god of opportunity. Its aim, as DARPA explains, is “to create a schema-based AI capability to enable contextual and temporal reasoning about complex real-world events in order to generate actionable understanding of these events and predict how they will unfold.”
In practice, KAIROS will involve a partly automated system capable of identifying and establishing causal links between a whole series of events. Its artificial intelligence will be fed on a continual basis by internet-driven multimedia information.
A controversial project
According to DARPA, the new programme will improve national security, provide a better understanding of political events, and enable the forecasting of financial and real estate crises and even disasters. However, the project does not enjoy unanimous support, particularly among privacy organisations, who are have already expressed their opposition to what they see as yet another tool for monitoring the everyday lives of millions of people.
The U.S. government has announced that it will invest a minimum of $2bn in research into artificial intelligence.
Cover photo credits: U.S. Army photo by Lt. Col. John Hall
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