The “war on Terror” is just a warm up on the playground for Future Robotic Warfare. We all thought the Terminator was pure Sci-Fi, well the sick folks at the N.S.A/C.I.A. are taking AI, Big Data, and Robotics to the next level. Using these tools for training, of how to kill current and future enemies. It’s not enough that they can use Data, and Supercomputers to spy on the whole world. The world is now there Battlefield playground. Today A.I. and unmanned drones are killing “terrorists” halfway around the world, Tomorrow They’ll be taking on “insurgents” and Dissidents in order to preserve the public “peace” and “Democracy”.
A recent examination of National Security Agency documents previously released by whistleblower Edward Snowden shows that the CIA and other U.S. agencies may be killing innocent people as a result of their reliance on metadata. The NSA’s SKYNET is a program that surveils phone metadata in order to track suspected terrorists. Through SKYNET, the security agency engages in mass surveillance of Pakistan’s mobile phone network, affecting 55 million people — but that’s not all. Once the data is gathered, it’s run through a machine learning algorithm that attempts to rate whether a particular individual is more or less likely to be a terrorist.
According to Human Rights Data Analysis’ executive director Patrick Ball, the NSA’s methods are “ridiculously optimistic” and “completely bullshit.” If Ball is correct, SKYNET’s methodology may be putting thousands of innocent lives in danger because they are being falsely identified as terrorists. The documents made available by The Intercept show the NSA works with the data of only seven known terrorists. NSA officials reportedly feed six of the terrorists’ information into the machine, tasking SKYNET with the duty of finding the seventh in a random group of 100,000 citizens.
Somewhere between 2,500 and 4,000 people have been killed by drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, and most of them were classified by the US government as “extremists,” the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported. In the years that have followed, thousands of innocent people in Pakistan may have been mislabelled as terrorists by that “scientifically unsound” algorithm, possibly resulting in their untimely demise.
SKYNET works like a typical modern Big Data business application. The program collects metadata and stores it on NSA cloud servers, extracts relevant information, and then applies machine learning to identify leads for a targeted campaign. Except instead of trying to sell the targets something, this campaign, given the overall business focus of the US government in Pakistan, likely involves another branch of the US government—the CIA or military—that executes their “Find-Fix-Finish” strategy using Predator drones and on-the-ground death squads.
Similar apps, like the one used by Facebook, are prone to making major mistakes, but the consequences of Facebook’s errors are relatively innocuous. When SKYNET makes similar mistakes by wrongly identifying a terrorist, the consequences are deadly.
President Barack Obama has been under heavy scrutiny for authorizing drone campaigns that result in gross mistakes, killing a great number of innocent people while targeting “confirmed terrorists.” Since 2004, there have been 401 US drone strikes in Afghanistan, alone, killing 3,058 people total. In Pakistan, hundreds, including children, have died in pursuit of a mere two dozen declared terrorists.