Technology

CIA ‘Siren Servers’ can predict social uprisings 3-5 days in advance

Siren Servers
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The CIA claims to be able to predict social unrest days before it happens thanks to powerful super computers dubbed Siren Servers by the father of Virtual Reality, Jaron Lanier.

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.

This Minority Report-type technology has been viewed skeptically by policymakers as the data crunching hasn’t been perfected, and if policy were to be enacted based on faulty data, the results could be disastrous. Iraq WMDs?

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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.”

Jaron Lanier’s Siren Servers

Computer science philosopher and author of “Who Owns the Future?” and “You are not a Gadget,” Jaron Lanier, coined the phrase “Siren Servers” to describe these types of giant computer networks that can crunch huge amounts of data.

“A siren server is the biggest and best computer on a network. Whoever has the most powerful computer would be the most powerful person, whether they plan to be or not,” said Lanier in an interview with the Huffington Post.

Lanier’s siren server definition was conceived to describe how companies with the most powerful computers can gain wealth by collecting and processing free, unorganized data, and turning that around to make a profit, but the concept can apply to the intelligence community as well.

In certain sectors such as finance, it can be self-detrimental as in the case of the financial meltdown in 2007-2008. When a predictive system becomes too efficient, it undermines the very foundation upon which it stands.

If you’ve gathered enough wealth and your services are so efficient that their values skyrocket, but there’s no money left for anyone to afford them, then you’ve fallen victim to the seductive power of siren servers.

What will the CIA do with the new-found data?

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.

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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.

“I called it a siren server because there’s no plan to be evil. A siren server seduces you,” said Lanier.

In the case of the CIA; however, whether the agency is being innocently seduced or is actively planning to use this data for its own self-sustaining benefit, one can only speculate.

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Given the Intelligence Community’s track record for toppling governments, infiltrating the mainstream media, MK Ultra, and scanning hundreds of millions of private emails, that speculation becomes easier to justify.

44 Comments

    1. Oh how cool! Although a little warning might have been nice for you.You should move cattle on horse. They still do cattle drives out west, the82&#re17;s one that takes a half day that cuts through my small town once a year. They shut down the highway.

  1. They predicted we’d be greeted as liberators in Iraq, that Osama would help us if they funded him and that the theocratic would hand us their oil once they took over Iran.

    Oh yeah, they also predicted that their conditioning would turn the Unibomber into a trained assassin against the enemies of civilization.

    So I guess they got 1 out of 4 right.

  2. “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.”

    Um, the CIA’s mission is not only dealing with social unrest. And many times, they are the instigators of social unrest outside of the USA.

  3. i noticed how well the prevented the riots in furgerson and charolette and a few other places. well heck they haven’t stopped any riots.

  4. I’m confused how “Iraq, WMDs” relates to predicting social uprisings. Perhaps a better example would have been the actual uprising in Benghazi. Which was actually an uprising, and occurred at an actual *CIA Annex* as well as a US Embassy.

  5. It’s hard to get excited about this, since it will be used to increase the 1%’s wealth and power. The 1% and their corporations have absolute control over government, and use it for their interests. There’s a word for this seamless corporate-government symbiosis: FASCISM.

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Tim Hinchliffe
Tim Hinchliffe is a veteran journalist whose passions include writing about how technology impacts society and Artificial Intelligence. He prefers writing in-depth, interesting features that people actually want to read. Previously, he worked as a reporter for the Ghanaian Chronicle in West Africa, and Colombia Reports in South America. tim@sociable.co