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Governments And Businesses Are Becoming Inebriated By Technology


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“Intechication” is not a real word, but it is a real problem. Simply put, “intechication” is a term I’ve come up with to describe the intoxication-like effects of widespread over-reliance on technology throughout society today. We are all constantly reminded that distracted driving is as dangerous as drunk or drugged driving. Having developed predictive real-time technology to identify, document and disrupt crime, terror and piracy online, I have found that it’s better to treat technology as a force multiplier than to treat it as a turn-key total solution. When data flows of online copyright infringement, criminal activity and terror recruitment reach millions of streams with billions of viewers the data funnel must be sufficiently screened to allow manageable data inflow while allowing humans to multiply their efficacy in scale. It is a fine balance. Too many screens and too much data causes burnout. If an analyst’s brain is exposed to too many inputs and too much data, it will quickly need to be defragmented. In looking for a solution to this problem, I have found that one screen is optimal, two screens are less effective and three or more are essentially a source of distraction.

Today we provide so much technology to law enforcement that they are often in a work environment populated with multiple screens and devices which, in turn, leads to a constant river of data that needs to be absorbed and analyzed. In 2015, Stephen James, an assistant&nbsp;research professor at Washington State University,&nbsp;published a study on distracted driving among police officers in which he “found that driving was worse when fatigued, but the negative effect of distraction was even greater,” he said. “And when they were distracted and fatigued at the same time, it was even worse than that.”

So what’s the problem with too much data? Pirates, criminals, terrorists or other bad actors seek to hide and erase any evidence of their activities. What’s more, clues are often difficult to identify even when police are fully focused. In today’s online world, analysts are confronted with exponentially larger haystacks containing smaller needles that may also be masked as something else online. This problem is only getting worse. Experts predict a 4300% increase in big data output by 2020.

A number of recent events seem to indicate that analysts are missing pieces of actionable intelligence because there is so much new technology and data. What’s more, these mistakes could lead to a great level of public danger.

The London Bridge terror attack in June of 2017 is one example where the terrorists were known to government authorities well before the attack. A failure to connect the dots was in part blamed upon a lack of a sufficient number of analysts to assess the amount of big data intelligence being provided by technology. Clues were missed, improper risk assessments were made and the result was a terror attack that could have been prevented.

Moreover, the Orlando nightclub massacre, the San Antonio church shooting and the tragic Parkland shooting which left 17 dead all have something in common with the London Bridge attack. All of these attacks might have been prevented if not for a series of cascading failures on almost every level of government as the result of apparent failures to document, synthesize, analyze, communicate and react to significant indicators of the clear and present threat presented to the public by each of the perpetrators.

Intechication&nbsp;is one cause of this failure or delay in recognizing critical information. This can and apparently has caused failures to proactively mitigate actual threats.

Certainly, the recent Parkland school killings stand as a clear and convincing example of the deadly consequences of intechication. I think analysts, police, school officials and many others charged with protecting the public have become far too comfortable telling callers to hotlines to “submit an email to our tip line” or “fill out our online tip form.” As a result, there’s a higher chance of the form or submission being overlooked as an inanimate piece of code or paper. In many ways, intechication has numbed authorities by digitizing real-world clues into files, emails and spreadsheets.

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Shutterstock

“Intechication” is not a real word, but it is a real problem. Simply put, “intechication” is a term I’ve come up with to describe the intoxication-like effects of widespread over-reliance on technology throughout society today. We are all constantly reminded that distracted driving is as dangerous as drunk or drugged driving. Having developed predictive real-time technology to identify, document and disrupt crime, terror and piracy online, I have found that it’s better to treat technology as a force multiplier than to treat it as a turn-key total solution. When data flows of online copyright infringement, criminal activity and terror recruitment reach millions of streams with billions of viewers the data funnel must be sufficiently screened to allow manageable data inflow while allowing humans to multiply their efficacy in scale. It is a fine balance. Too many screens and too much data causes burnout. If an analyst’s brain is exposed to too many inputs and too much data, it will quickly need to be defragmented. In looking for a solution to this problem, I have found that one screen is optimal, two screens are less effective and three or more are essentially a source of distraction.

Today we provide so much technology to law enforcement that they are often in a work environment populated with multiple screens and devices which, in turn, leads to a constant river of data that needs to be absorbed and analyzed. In 2015, Stephen James, an assistant research professor at Washington State University, published a study on distracted driving among police officers in which he “found that driving was worse when fatigued, but the negative effect of distraction was even greater,” he said. “And when they were distracted and fatigued at the same time, it was even worse than that.”

So what’s the problem with too much data? Pirates, criminals, terrorists or other bad actors seek to hide and erase any evidence of their activities. What’s more, clues are often difficult to identify even when police are fully focused. In today’s online world, analysts are confronted with exponentially larger haystacks containing smaller needles that may also be masked as something else online. This problem is only getting worse. Experts predict a 4300% increase in big data output by 2020.

A number of recent events seem to indicate that analysts are missing pieces of actionable intelligence because there is so much new technology and data. What’s more, these mistakes could lead to a great level of public danger.

The London Bridge terror attack in June of 2017 is one example where the terrorists were known to government authorities well before the attack. A failure to connect the dots was in part blamed upon a lack of a sufficient number of analysts to assess the amount of big data intelligence being provided by technology. Clues were missed, improper risk assessments were made and the result was a terror attack that could have been prevented.

Moreover, the Orlando nightclub massacre, the San Antonio church shooting and the tragic Parkland shooting which left 17 dead all have something in common with the London Bridge attack. All of these attacks might have been prevented if not for a series of cascading failures on almost every level of government as the result of apparent failures to document, synthesize, analyze, communicate and react to significant indicators of the clear and present threat presented to the public by each of the perpetrators.

Intechication is one cause of this failure or delay in recognizing critical information. This can and apparently has caused failures to proactively mitigate actual threats.

Certainly, the recent Parkland school killings stand as a clear and convincing example of the deadly consequences of intechication. I think analysts, police, school officials and many others charged with protecting the public have become far too comfortable telling callers to hotlines to “submit an email to our tip line” or “fill out our online tip form.” As a result, there’s a higher chance of the form or submission being overlooked as an inanimate piece of code or paper. In many ways, intechication has numbed authorities by digitizing real-world clues into files, emails and spreadsheets.

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