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CIA 'Siren Servers' Can Predict Social Uprisings Several Days Before They Happen (sociable.co) 174

Through a combination of machine learning and deep learning, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is using powerful supercomputers, dubbed "Siren Servers" by computer philosophy writer Jaron Lanier, to predict social unrest days before it happens. The Sociable reports: CIA Deputy Director for Digital Innovation Andrew Hallman announced that the agency has beefed-up its "anticipatory intelligence" through the use of deep learning and machine learning servers that can process an incredible amount of data. "We have, in some instances, been able to improve our forecast to the point of being able to anticipate the development of social unrest and societal instability some I think as near as three to five days out," said Hallman on Tuesday at the Federal Tech event, Fedstival. The CIA deputy director said that it was "much harder to convey confidence for the policymaker who may make an important decision from advanced analytics with deep learning algorithms." Now that the CIA claims to be able to predict social unrest days in advance, there are some interesting theoretical possibilities that can come of this. One is that the CIA's siren servers will become so efficient that they will predict all social uprising and will be able to prevent it. If they are successful in doing that, there would be no need for the CIA as their technology could predict and prevent any societal upheavals, and the agency would be obsolete. Another potential outcome would be that the CIA could use the data and not tell anyone, just like the finance sector did, and then make calculated decisions on whether or not to intervene in any socially distressing situation.
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CIA 'Siren Servers' Can Predict Social Uprisings Several Days Before They Happen

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  • Bullshit (Score:5, Funny)

    by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Friday October 07, 2016 @11:35PM (#53036029)

    They can't predict shit. Not social unrest, not the weather, and not Pokemon Go.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by burningcpu ( 1234256 )
      +1, excellent first post. Shit, we might as well close the comments and move to the next story. We've already gotten to the meat of it.
    • Of course they can.
      Most of the dissidents in this country are well known and tracked as closely as if they had implanted GPS transmitters.

      The same people show up at every protest, get arrested and let go by every city they visit by liberal judges. A phone call from Washington, a hint of a under cover arrangement, and a get out of jail free card.

      Dozens if not hundreds of arrests, and they just walk.

      Why? The Feds get more information from them running around loose than they would if they were in jail.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Define dissident? The people protesting gun shootings are not the ones protesting gun control. The people protesting police shooting unarmed blacks are not the ones protesting Clinton.

        All they've done here is the classic trick of defining the thing being predicted as so vague, you can always claim success.

        "social unrest" is whatever we say it is. And "social unrest = true" is whatever we post-hoc define it to be.

        It's really a puff piece in a no-views psych journal claiming some undocumented data mining nons

        • "Social unrest" is more than just a bunch of people getting together and complaining about something, or every ball game where an official makes a bad call and the fans yell "BOO" would be social unrest. There has to be violence or significant property damage, coming about in a fashion that at least hints at organization. For this to occur for more than one day requires funding, planning, and leader(s) - someone like Soros paying for chartered buses and Al Sharpton's plane tickets. Without money and malicio
      • by johanw ( 1001493 )

        Yeah, how dare they protesting against our dear supreme Leader. They must have some brain disease or so, lets lock them away as dangerous, maybe it's contageous.

      • The same people show up at every protest, get arrested and let go by every city they visit by liberal judges. A phone call from Washington, a hint of a under cover arrangement, and a get out of jail free card.

        Dozens if not hundreds of arrests, and they just walk.

        Why? The Feds get more information from them running around loose than they would if they were in jail.

        Liberal judges? Hardly. You know what gets those people out of jail? Two things. First, cost. You know what it costs to arrest hundreds of people and then put them through trial? Thousands of dollars each resulting in millions that was no doubt not budgeted at the beginning of the fiscal year. Second, conservative cops. They're not equipped to arrest hundreds of people, don't have the resources, and simply cannot do it while maintaining policy. So, they don't care about maintaining policy. Who cares if they

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When predicting weather the false positives matter.
      When predicting the people standing up against the government it doesn't. You just shut them down hard, regardless of if they are actually trying or not.

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Informative)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Saturday October 08, 2016 @05:19AM (#53036695) Homepage Journal

      Nah, it's easy. Systemic racism, poverty and an unarmed black guy gets murdered by cops, then a few days later there is unrest.

      • But what about when an armed black guy gets shot by a black cop in a city with a black police chief? Why is there unrest after that?

    • by johanw ( 1001493 )

      Even I can predict it: cop shoots $random n igger, 2 days later there are riots.

      Stupid filter on n*gger, as if I can't find alternate writings like n1gger, nlgger, etc. etc.

      • When did Slashdot implement filtering like that? Testing: Nigger.

        Filter error: Lameness filter encountered

        Wow, fuck you Slashdot.

    • The only reason they can predict it, is because they're causing it through acts like paying people to attend protests and start riots, pushing laws that favor small minority groups over the majority, pushing laws that remove power from the people and transfer it to the government, vindictively prosecuting regular people while ignoring crimes by their own, and so on.

      They've been pulling this social upheaval crap in foreign countries for decades, now they're doing it here. A public divided won't stand up to t

  • Of course (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 07, 2016 @11:37PM (#53036033)
    It's easy to predict things you are the cause of.
  • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Friday October 07, 2016 @11:48PM (#53036067)

    Assumes that you can -- in fact -- rapidly prevent societal upheavals with anything but force, which still leaves the root cause unresolved.

    • by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Saturday October 08, 2016 @06:04AM (#53036765)
      In the olden days, the solution was to let James Brown play live on TV.

      Somehow Justin Beiber just does not have the same effect.

  • I don't think so (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Friday October 07, 2016 @11:57PM (#53036113)

    If they are successful in doing that, there would be no need for the CIA as their technology could predict and prevent any societal upheavals...

    The authors are utterly naive if they think that the CIA's primary role is intelligence gathering, or that they even care overly much about quelling "societal upheavals". The spooks are at least as much about manipulating situations and people, and about spreading disinformation, (not to mention ensuring the Agency's continued existence), as they are about preventing any grief except their own. "Anticipatory Intelligence" is just a tool that allows them to carry on a faster, more efficient, more effective, more lucrative version of 'business as usual'.

    I'd be very interested to hear Edward Snowden weigh in on this.

    • im not sure about satan or sheytan or where it waits but , but but but ... isnt this like from a movie or a science fiction series ? where the guys go back in time to prevent crime ? cos thats how realistic.
      this means they can predict which cop is going to shoot which guy of whatever ethnic minority or sensitive subculture in exactly what spot so they can drop the swat on em before it happens ...
      the omega point is broken ... REJOICE!
      pardon my sarcasticat for its filled with what you put in it o lords
    • by Anonymous Coward

      See this talk by Former national security advisor, their purpose is to keep the public misinformed and sow distrust so the public can't come together and confront corporate power.

      See this talk by national security advisor the upper classes of the world are afraid of the political awakening of the masses.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7ZyJw_cHJY [youtube.com]

      Our brains are much worse at reality and thinking than thought. Science on reasoning:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYmi0DLzBdQ [youtube.com]

      "Intended as an internal document. G

      • by khallow ( 566160 )

        See this talk by Former national security advisor, their purpose is to keep the public misinformed and sow distrust so the public can't come together and confront corporate power.

        What is up with this obsession over "corporate power"? Government is the power in "corporate power". A large corporate can monetize government power far better than a poor person can.

        I think all the ranting about evil corporations is blame deflection from the true culprits.

    • Does something like the heisenberg uncertainty principle apply here? i.e. if you are watching for an event and the people who might cause the event know you are watching for an event will they change what they do in some manner to invalidate the data you collected? But if they change the event time or place will the watchers pick that up and if you know that will you try to change where and when you do the thing that would cause the event?
    • The authors are utterly naive if they think that the CIA's primary role is intelligence gathering, or that they even care overly much about quelling "societal upheavals".

      AFAIK the part the CIA has been blurring the boundaries of is the distinction between foreign and domestic, not so much foreign action/foreign intelligence gathering.

    • Well, gathering intel is at least half of what the CIA does. It's also as interested in taking advantage of social upheavals as it is in preventing them (really a matter of where).

      Still, the idea that predicting upheavals is so much of what they do that this would make the agency obsolete is nonsense.

  • What if... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Saturday October 08, 2016 @12:00AM (#53036121)
    Hypothetical...if this is possible..

    What if the 'social upheaval' is justified? What if it is technically allowed by the 1st amendment? What if they tell the president that riots are due to start in xyz town and move in the National Guard, even though those riots are due to true injustice that needs to be addressed?

    Can the government stop speech before it happens? What does that leave for the already shattered remnants of democracy?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Check your historical record. Rebellions have been crushed violently. Speech is persuasion not coercion, and at the time the first amendment was written, speech meant publishing pamphlets to promote your cause. Today speech means blogging. Get thee to Twitter.

    • I'm going to pretend they'll use this information to instate proactive reforms to placate the people before uprisings occur. Which still leads us down the path of totalitarianism, but more slowly.
    • Re:What if... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday October 08, 2016 @07:26AM (#53036917) Homepage

      What do you mean if? Go back and watch "Selma" and you'll see that even in the 1960s they were looking to identify the movers and shakers and where they were going to stir up trouble with wiretaps. This is the same on steroids, same way stock robots try to analyze if people generally talk positive or negative about a stock without really understanding the news. If it's building up to a frenzy and a riot, there will have to be a lot of buzz in social media up front. Without knowing what they exactly are, I'm sure that with big data you'll find the words or phrases that indicate it's really going down and not just a bunch of keyboard warriors talking big. And the level of coordination required means you'll have the where and when repeated many times to many different people.

      What you choose to do about it really depends on who you are, what you want and what you're capable of. Maybe you just want to keep the situation under control, maybe you want it to get out of control so you can justify coming in to crush it, maybe you want to arrest a few leaders and scare people from showing up in the first place. The last one would actually be the creepiest, crushing riots is public and messy. Snuffing them out before they even start is silent but deadly. If you're a foreign intelligence agency though, would you like to warn about it to allies? Incite riots in unfriendly states? Who knows. On the other hand, the speed information spreads might also lead to bigger and faster flash mobs than before so I'm not sure if it's really easier or harder to get the word out.

    • What if the 'social upheaval' is justified? What if it is technically allowed by the 1st amendment? What if they tell the president that riots are due to start in xyz town and move in the National Guard, even though those riots are due to true injustice that needs to be addressed?

      I've got two words for you to google: WTO PROTEST. If that doesn't tell you everything you need to know to drop the "What if", then nothing will — but compare and contrast the French response to a protest. French SWAT cops wear masks so that they cannot be identified later, and this is the country that's banned the burkini... but they'll tolerate mass protests in the streets any day of the week.

      Freedom is incredibly unevenly distributed. The only rhyme or reason to it is that some groups are easy to t

    • by tsuliga ( 553869 )

      Please ignore this comment. I mistakenly down modded the above comment and cannot undo it so posting to lose my previous mods.

  • by chromaexcursion ( 2047080 ) on Saturday October 08, 2016 @12:01AM (#53036127)
    Asimoz first wrote about in Foundation close to 50 years ago. Perhaps some should read it. it's still applicable.
  • Not again... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Saturday October 08, 2016 @12:02AM (#53036131)
    First they take 1984 and treat it like a user manual and now they are attempting to go full on minority report pre-crime? It's getting harder and harder to just laugh off that dystopian future.
  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Saturday October 08, 2016 @12:03AM (#53036133)

    honest question: how does this help general society? the way i see it, if people are so pissed off all the time that you can't tell if you are about to fubar things then you have no business being in any position of authority.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The US can save its freedom fighters, king, general, theocracy from grass roots democracy from civil society.
      With a few days warning any form of US friendly gov can be fully protected from its own people.
      Efforts by the working class or patriotic right can be discovered, tacked and removed before any international media finds out about domestic calls for change. No calls for democracy gain traction, no international media, no counter coup.
    • by UPZ ( 947916 )

      honest question: how does this help general society? the way i see it, if people are so pissed off all the time that you can't tell if you are about to fubar things then you have no business being in any position of authority.

      Basically this. If there are social uprisings, that's because people are discontent. The rational and more healthier approach would be to address the cause of discontent when these uprisings occur. Rather, the focus here seems to be on squashing the uprising itself. Approaching the problem like this is dangerous for the society because it means that government places a priority at silencing citizens. This approach is also dangerous for the government, because it will only make citizenry angrier and the upri

    • When things get to the point of an upheaval your aren't going to stop it. But you can evacuate people, circle the wagons, etc.

      There were plenty of warning that things were about to blow up in Libya a few years ago, but the ambassador in Benghazi was still caught in the middle and murdered. That could have been prevented.

  • With the right dictionary list and voice to text hardware that would have been easy with a more limited set of leadership phone numbers in any nation.
    Tap all the political leaders, mil, gov, industrial leaders, media, banking elite, celebrities and one productive hop beyond them.
    As reports of industrial action, protests, riots, cost of living spread fast amount the left or right political base so a few days warning in most nations would have been possible given actual local events.
    Most nations do have
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I have an earthquake detector that works 100% of the time. Unfortunately, it's terrible at detecting days when there won't be an earthquake. Publish the quantitative data or STFU.

    Sounds like somebody went data dredging and hasn't bothered to validate its predictive utility. My bet is the false alarm rate makes it equally useless to the DHS color-coded threat alert system.

  • Wouldn't it be totally god-like if they could predict uprisings but chose to do nothing to prevent them.

    • by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Saturday October 08, 2016 @02:06AM (#53036365)
      They wouldn't prevent the uprisings, but maybe they could just short a bunch of stocks and make a lot of money.
    • Wouldn't it be totally god-like if they could predict uprisings but chose to do nothing to prevent them.

      No. It would be totally aristocratic. Those Who Rule have been doing this shit since forever. The reason? They're not actually that smart. They're not actually capable of doing the best job of leading, and they don't see coming a mile away what ought to be obvious. This is not a problem for them, because they are not interested in leading.

  • I smell vendor hype.

  • If a prediction prevents an event, the model of prediction fails and can no longer predict if it is self-learning.

    • Exactly! The whole thing is based on tracking civil unrest. Its entirely focused on predicting bad things. Wouldn't acting on these predictions and then feeding that information back into the machine then continuing to act on the predictions blindly basically cause a feedback loop where the AI slowly goes mad as it directs its caretakers to stage the systematic disassembly of society?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        dude, put the bong away. The machine learning thingy they use, does not take predictions as input. It takes illegally intercepted data as input, and produces a prediction. Its more like simulating a hurricane, or something. It analyzes a metric assload of data, and produces some metrics, which can be used to visualize the situation somehow and comparing the new picture to the old picture, one can see changes in trends in system... There's probably a third algo, that actually alerts humans to changes that th

  • NOV 8 will be flagged and marshal law may need to used to shut down the vote if they feel that Hillery will lose.

  • After analysis of the AI system it was found that the impressive predictive results were to a large extent explained by the input parameter: Police officer shoots unarmed man and the police tries to cover it up with lies.

    Bert

  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Saturday October 08, 2016 @02:55AM (#53036445)

    Most "social uprisings" result from unforeseeable impulsive events (like a shooting). How are you going to predict those?

    Maybe, just maybe, you could give a weather report like "chance of uprising is X%," but I would want to see some verification of these probabilities (are they better, for example, that just saying that riots are more probable in hot, humid weather than immediately after a snowstorm?).

  • make calculated decisions on whether or not to intervene in any socially distressing situation.

    As long as it fit within the budget,

  • It is a bit like the output from the Enigma machine, if you used the knowledge too much, the Germans would have worked out that they were being 'Hacked' and then start doing something else that could not be 'hacked' in the same way.

    however, you can be better placed to pick up the pieces.

    US citizens may be able to correct me, but I thought that the CIA was only allowed to snoop outside the US

  • "We can predict the future" ...says the agency founded with the sole purpose of watching the Soviet Union, who watched it for nearly five decades, yet managed to entirely miss its collapse.

    Sure.

  • Jaron Lanier invented hipsters.

  • We've got to march on Langely Virginia right now!

  • Used to use people. Really smart guys that could predict this. They'd yank out people before things went to hell. Cuba, Iran are famous examples. Goes back about 100 years. They probably had ways even back then. Old police style work. The US used to send in people to fix things. Some people didn't like that. Guys like Castro, who is a monster. Look it up sometime, see what he used to do to people.

    This is just part of the matrix. The real matrix. They're coming to get you aha, oho, ahee, ahoo.
    https://www.you [youtube.com]

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