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CIA to Spy on Earth Using Artificial Intelligence

Aug 26, 2016 12:56 AM EDT
Endeavour Orbits Earth Docked To International Space Station
CIA-linked firm partners with Amazon to create artificial intelligence to spy on earth from space.
(Photo : Paolo Nespoli - ESA/NASA via Getty Images)

Private conversations and moments might not be so private anymore following CIA's latest plan. A CIA-linked firm is reportedly joining forces with Amazon. This is to spy on earth in an unprecedented detail.

The firm known to be closely associated with the US Intelligence agency, CosmiQ Works, is working with Amazon and DigitalGlobe, a satellite mapping firm. The trio will be training artificial intelligence with an algorithm to find out what exactly is happening on the surface of the earth.

"Each minute something is happening in the world. While commercial constellations are poised to collect imagery at global scale, we must advance our ability to analyse data to realise its full potential. SpaceNet is key to unlocking a huge explosion of new AI-driven applications that ultimately will help us better respond to natural disasters, counter global security threats, improve population health outcomes, and much more. The industry is coming together to power smarter algorithms so we can see and learn things from imagery about our planet that we simply cannot know today through manual techniques," said Tony Frazier, senior vice president at DigitalGlobe.

While NASA already has satellites up in space that can capture detailed images, the project by the CIA-linked firm hopes to take it one step further. They'll be using artificial intelligence to analyse the photos taken. The images would be stored in a database called SpaceNet, which surprisingly will be accessible to the public.

The trio will be joined by another firm, NVIDIA. NVIDIA will be in charge of training the AI with "DIGITS deep learning," a tool that will automatically work out what is occurring in the images. Information taken from the images could greatly help in terms of infrastructure and even health aid programs.

As for the CEO of Descartes Labs, Mark Johnson, the new data taken from the images would definitely aid researchers and startups. It could also help in estimating the economic output from the activity in urban areas as well as guiding governments to improve services.

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