“…in five years, there may be a million times more than the amount of geospatial data that we have today. Yes, a million times more… If we were to attempt to manually exploit the commercial satellite imagery we expect to have over the next 20 years, we would need eight million imagery analysts.”
At a conference last year, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) Director Robert Cardillo summed up the largest challenge that the agency is currently facing today. It was during this speech that Cardillo introduced the concept of AAA technologies.
AAA stands for Artificial Intelligence, Augmentation and Automation, and it defines the tools and strategies that are able to make use of all of the information available in order to anticipate opportunities and threats.
Is manual analysis enough?
The volume of information available is too much for people to handle manually. Since it’s impossible to hire “eight million analysts,” how can agencies like the NGA and any organization who must manage data effectively capture what has already happened, as well as what is currently happening and what might happen next?
Enterprise organizations are experiencing the same issues and are struggling to manage their unstructured data. While analysts are (and always will be!) at the front line of intelligence analysis, they can’t do everything manually. Consider the fact that 1) analysts must process and structure at least 20 pages of information daily and this involves reading it, highlighting areas of interest and then entering it in a system and 2) the average text requires about 20 minutes each for processing. Therefore, analysts must be able to rely on systems that can automate as much of this work as possible, and this requires a combination of human-level intelligence and contextual knowledge, and the ability reach to access every possible piece of information. It’s a tall order.
Imagine if AAA technologies could automate 75 percent of an analyst’s tasks? This would allow them to focus on more complex problems, the 25 percent that require more attention.
The advantage of AAA technologies
We have seen too many organizations try to manage unstructured data by buying additional storage capacity. That was until they realized that simply having more information was not the solution; what they were really lacking was a real, intelligent solution.
This is where AAA technologies come into play.
1. Artificial Intelligence, or AI
Despite the hype about AI technologies with extraordinary capacity, there are some real and concrete algorithms that can perform certain tasks quite effectively, for example, categorizing a text, identifying entities and relationships, extracting emotions. Analysts need such tools that can help them clearly see the information that matters and understand the various levels of complexity they encounter to support every phase of the analysis process.
When correctly used, AI technologies can support analysts by automating the most repetitive, boring and time-intensive processes with a combination of human-level intelligence and contextual knowledge. These systems can automatically process millions of pieces of information by selecting the items that matter for analysts and proactively and methodically highlighting correlations between data, reducing the time and costs typically incurred. In a nutshell, they help analysts discover those complex nuggets they need to find.
Augmentation makes analysis more accurate with a contextual understanding of information. Thanks to the metadata extracted through AI technologies, analysts can see the data from their perspectives (intuitive visualizations, highlighting, etc.), exploring the data with with a drill down approach and clustering it around specific targets.
A tool able to make use of the huge amount of unstructured information organizations manage already exists. Cogito Intelligence Platform (CIP) is based on Expert System’s cognitive technology and is proven to efficiently support analysts in anticipating opportunities and threats. CIP is a great example of AI, Augmentation and Automation.