- NGA’s Office of Sciences and Methodologies confirms the release of the omnivorous analysis tool, Sentient.
- The project is still treated as a government secret.
- The analysis tool is said to take in all sorts of data with hopes to make sense of the past and present which humans can use to prepare for the future.
Attendees of the 2019 Space Symposium in Colorado Springs had a chance to listen to the discussion of an Air Force official and a National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency about the “Enterprise Disruption”. The discussion was vague until a question arose from one of the audiences.
“When will the Department of Defence have a real-time, automated, global order of battle?” The question was addressed by Chirag Parikh, director of NGA’s Office of Sciences and Methodologies.
“That’s a great question, and there’s a lot of really good classified answers.”
Chirag Parikh then continued with a smile, “What’s the next question?”. He also followed through on describing how “geospatial intelligence” will no longer be just pictures from satellites but it will be anything with a timestamp, location stamp, and the attempt to integrate all various types of data.
He then answered another question.
“When would that translate to near-instantaneous understanding and strategy development?”
Very soon according to Parikh, but he did not mention any specific programs that will make this possible. Sentient, a product of the National Reconnaissance Office will have similar and relevant capabilities to this autonomous, real-time interpretation. This initiative will ideally, make everything easier for human analysts in other organizations like the NGA.
Research related to this project has been ongoing since 2010 after they posted a request for the Sentient Enterprise. In 2013, the program reached it’s first research and development milestone but the details remained confidential. A presentation was posted online about Sentient in 2018 that it would go live but Karen Furgerson, Deputy Director of NRO’s Office of Public Affairs, told The Verge that the project is still under development.
The artificial brain has been in development for years but details remain scarce. According to Furgerson, “It ingests high volumes of data and processes it, Sentient catalogs normal patterns, detects anomalies, and helps forecast and model adversaries’ potential courses of action.”
Although this project is still under development, the very existence of an artificial brain that is programmed to have most answers for everything raises a lot of red flags for privacy experts.
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