The final session of the Space Symposium in Colorado was a grand event. While on the path, some of the more interesting audience went to hear a discussion. A chief discussion that was not meant to be public, at least for now. The Air force official and NGA were discussing an artificial brain. This did not come to clear out until one of the audience made it. An NGA or National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Executive was discussing something too cool to be true. As the US Intelligent Programs developed the new brain Sentient, that could the work of a human.
US Intelligent Programs developed the new artificial brain Sentient
The NGA’s Director got questioned out by the audience in a good way. As they asked when will be an actual real-time and automatic system be governing the watch. Has the military and intelligence community working system algorithms have gotten any better? Can they do a better analysis? We know how they keep track of ships and cargo and traffic systems already.
Parikh’s Answer On Better Analysis
Chirag Parikh, who is the director of the NGA’s Office(Sciences and Methodology) answered that it is a very good question indeed. And there is a good amount of proper answers. One of them being as he said, is nothing near to a computer. As we are dealing with AI, we can do better. And we are doing.
Geospatial Intelligence regarding just taking photos is an old aged analysis. We have been working on something new. This can analysis a whole pile of different types of data and integrate them all.
Parikh got fired up with another one. He was asked, “when would this be able to analyze data instantaneously and develop the results quickly? “
Sentient, The New Artificial Brain
He replied, “it will be available very soon”. Adding, he mentioned that this requires a whole lot of data to be plunged in. A proper analysis tool has been in development. It can take in a lot of data similar to taking geospatial photos. And even analyzing them.
Parikh was clear, any sort of such tech has not been yet mentioned in the public. Such a kind of technology or a program would require a lot of training to handle an enormous amount of data. The integration and analysis of geospatial photos can be intriguing for an AI to understand and process it.
While he mentioned a cool futuristic name, that made sense as he spoke of it. An initiative by the name of Sentient can do something that the audience wanted to hear. It does go near the name of a Sentinel. That is a cool word in Sci-Fi movies and futuristic TV series. While for now, Parikh said this could be our advancement towards data analysis to great heights.
Sentient and AI
He added that it is a developed program of the NRO (National Reconnaissance Office). Sentient aims to be a proper data analysis tool, using the power of an AI. It is capable of analyzing the pile of data, procuring predictions, detecting patterns shifts. Understanding past and present data to detect future occurrences. It can be deployed with satellites and even control them. The artificial brain Sentient might just succeed in aligning the satellites to the right positions.
How Sentient Will Help For Better Analysis
This makes the work of the human analysis far easier to handle. Satellites will be times efficient. They can do a lot of work in a small-time (which has been our goal for centuries).
Why It Hs Not Been Mentioned Yet
Parikh added, that until now, it has been kept as government secret. As to present less awareness and terrors among executives that simply don’t care about Artificial Intelligence. At all.
While until now, it has only been specified to be just on papers. Parikh classified it to be highly confidential and also a top classified information. Although he listed out how Sentient is going to work, its goals and applications.
The Research and development that were to be done were already started 8-9 years ago. In the year 2010, An agency requested for such a program. Although at that time, there was no sort of Artificial intelligence being developed at that state. But over the years, technology became more advanced. Impossible seemed possible.
Deputy Director Karen Furgerson did not mention any such thing at all. She tried to mostly keep it a secret. As for another meeting, she insisted that Sentient was just only in the development stage.
While the comment was reasonable. As the sentient program was a piece of highly classified information. That is something not to be disclosed to the common public and the media. As they won’t be taking it accurately.
What Sentient Does With The Data
The attendees demanded more explanation to this secrecy. She said that the artificial brain Sentient is a program made to analyze a lot of data. Well, not just any data, but enormous amounts of it. It digests and then analyses them. That’s all. It does not have any sort of choice on this to deny.
Sentient is quite able to disclose patterns, detect anomalies, shift, forecast the correct data in the right place. This is something that is mostly related to satellite data. At once, it would be helpful to the satellites to retrieve better data.
Although the NRO governing it did not prove or present any such observed data. As it is just under operational. They stated that Sentient could certainly help in guiding missiles or at least turning them down for good. It understands that kind of data. It interprets those too. Furgerson also added that Sentient is not just a program, it is rather a thinking system.
Satellites Guidance By Sentient’s Program
NRO did not completely mention that this artificial brain Sentient could be driving satellites in the best way. Or at least help them to find the right data. But the work of the human analysis could be brought down. Less time can be spent on the satellites and more on the research.
It could free scientists up from the tiny data search. But as complying to work as a human mind which it is not, it won’t remain perfect. As there are a lot of problems that could arise, NRO mentioned. They don’t anything at all about those, as they did not deploy Sentient.
Why Sentient Was Highly Classified
Furgerson mentioned finally why it was classified. As they must keep such highly precious information to the core secret. It becomes a question for national security, as this sort of technology has a huge advantage.
And it can be illegally applied for personal uses. Thus the info remains classified for the best. Public information is much minimum available that can be disclosed.
Looking back at history, NRO was established after the 1960s. The office started sending keyhole grade satellites to space. Those were highly similar to the Hubble Space Telescope. But those satellites had a different purpose. While the Hubble Telescope spied on the near galaxies, these satellites spied on earth. NRO mostly operates around 40-50 satellites of the total known near 150. (That’s a lot of satellites).
The BlackSky Program Back Then
The BlackSky’s satellites, which is one of the private intelligence agencies’ ones, spies on earth too. As there are a lot of satellites orbiting the earth’s upper atmosphere, there are many of them. Most of them are owned by private companies.
During the attack of 2 oil tankers in Hormuz on June 13th, BlackSky was up and it sent its satellites to work. It did capture most of the incident including the smoke. While the local news got a hold of it, BlackSky’s analysis experts turned their looks on to Iran.
How BlackSky Might Work Opposed Sentient
The whole process just goes on like a complete loop. Being called as the tipping and cueing technique, this is a very ideal tactic to use. The satellites can pick up data from a place. An automatic system program does all of the work of capturing all the data.
It then analyses those deeply. Checks for anything too confidential and turn their analysis loop back to the continued point. It even sometimes let go of the original data (after keeping a copy). The whole broadcasting system that is being done by the satellite remains unaltered.
While the system analyses the data. Matches it with previous ones and nearer ones. Sees anything unusual and then points to a conclusion. This is what was built in those years for a quick check on incidents with data recovery.
NRO’s Gathering Of Tracking Data For Sentient
NRO better contacted all of the agencies and imposed an agreement to all of them. To get hold of all the data. While the NGA that only analyzed those data did comply with it. As there were three contracts made with three agencies.
It was made with the commercial GEOINT program to get hold of those data, while NRO took full responsibility. One was with Maxar, a private that sold satellite images to NRO. The second was BlackSky (which you know already). And the third was Planet, which took earth’s land images daily. All of these agencies have their group of satellites. Well, very high tech and powerful satellites possible in those ages.
The sentient program is designed just to deal with such kind of data. While it takes in those as inputs, with geospatial intelligence with location and a time tag. It then analyses all of it, creates a high amount of information to be dealt with.
While the engineers leave that to the power of AI. Sentient combines those data helping analysts to understand them better, which Furgerson added at last.
Can Sentient Deal With Such Amount Of Data
While it is still being discussed, as to how Sentient is supposed to be dealing with those data? As the presentations and the documents do not mention anything about data complying. Steven Aftergood answered that Sentient can deal with any kind of data.
He added that it is true, as long as its purpose remains intact and clear. It can be weather data or geospatial dots. Or electronic disturbances, intercepts, even imagery. Even human sources too. Imagery dealing, comparison, dot shifts and patterns, lot more. And almost every kind of data. Even Medical cases and related anomalies.
Sentient vs BlackSky
Comparing to what BlackSky can do, it is not that relevant. As it has been a popular program for intercepting data. Assume, it can capture data. Data from satellites, internet resources, mobiles and computers, vehicles and aircraft.
Thus using that sort of information it can reach out to people right using this sort of information only. The program can process the whole of the data to recognize anomalies. As 30% of the data can be imaged. And images represent a lot of information from the internet.
It can recognize places been under a calamity. Scott Herman being the CTO of BlackSky mentions that all that data goes into a huge analysis engine. It can then notify scientists and engineers about something that can happen. Like another calamity.
BlackSky’s In Real-Time
Although in real-time, it can keep track of aircraft. As imagery is an easy thing to do, pattern recognition always works with AI. It can keep a track of aircraft being landed over and taken. Just by using the imagery, on a countries’ aircraft.
Programs can easily take a picture, match the pattern, detect the position in less than a second. That’s all need to be done physically. Imagine satellites with these programs. They can easily keep track of almost everything from above.
Aside, patterns can be made for everything, including flight landings, timings, trajectories too. Monitoring these data can provide the agency the first hand on pinpointing their locations anytime.
As a time-flight based pattern can be easily generated by the programs. Using those patterns to monitor aircraft timing, flying trajectories and routes can be done. As this can help some clients to pinpoint the location of their aircraft (like during a hijack or for some other purposes).
Sentient Still Needs Lot Of Development
Comparing that with this artificial brain Sentient, it still has a lot to develop on the tracking side. Training an AI that intelligence is not a time work, as it requires a lot of data to be intercepted. That too, by the program itself.
As the success aside the performance of the system has to be proved on one side. Relevant, another employee suspected that Sentient might have more goals similar. But till now it is not clear how well Sentient is.
Questions still stuck the agency employees right after too. As one of them commented on the Algorithms to be infused. Are they worth and working? Are they going to be biased? How much false data can be predicted to occur? Will sentient even work with the satellites?
How Sentient Will Be Made Perfect
Furgerson noted a seemingly important point. As the engineers and designers who are working on the Sentient will do this job. The job for keeping an eye on the algorithms.
As they are responsible for making sure, The program works properly with the data. As human minds behind the actual program are the only way to make them work. Work properly and without errors.
Biasing Errors And Occurences
Biasing from the side of this artificial brain Sentient might be prevalent. As expected a machine, which is merely 0 and 1 to provide truth is reasonable. But not at the level of micro-vision. As one plus one equals two. So does 1 when 1.01 and 1.01 are added in grounds for integers.
To make an AI-infused program to eliminate biasing is a wrong thing to ask for. An AI works based on data. Asking it to provide different data every time is foolishness, Afterward added. As anomalies, dot shifts and patterns can be similar sometimes. The prediction of the false data is far away from an occurrence. Unless the input is given in the right manner.
Apart from analyzing, training an AI is the worst part. As you need data for an AI to understand and trace that pattern. Artificial Intelligence keeps a record of data to identify something. It is kept in bulk. When you deal with something like the artificial brain Sentient, you need piles of confidential data. Something that an AI can integrate and understand.
And those are not just available at online shopping. NRO seems to have access to those, but still, time is required. The program should be able to infuse data on by itself. You want an AI to work properly, you supply the right data. As a phot of an apple will appear red, so is the red spectrum of a rainbow. But it needs to understand the difference between those two.
Problems Regarding Spying And Tracing
While allowance for data collection is still on. Provided that they follow proper procedure and do the work within limits. As of Executive order 12333, the NRO obeys it with respect. And so does other agencies.
The intention of capturing such kinds of data remains unknown. Agencies like BlackSky, Maxar can easily have a watch over wherever they like. With their own guided satellites roaming around the earth. Those images have a very high value in the market. But as Aftergood mentioned for artificial brain Sentient’s data track, the usage will be in some sort of work-related. Or military-grade assignment related that needs to be accomplished for good. They won’t be looking over your house just like anything. Sentient’s goals remain inactive for the time now but soon will get active.