There may be a big flaw in the US government’s AI system to identify terrorists in Pakistan

Artificially intelligent programs can learn to walk like we do, beat game shows and board games, and even drive cars. But are they ready to find and fight enemies for us? A new report from Ars Technica suggests that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has been using a machine learning program to identify potential terrorists in Pakistan—but its methodology may have lead to thousands of innocent Pakistanis being mislabeled. The NSA’s program—inexplicably named SKYNET, like the homicidal AI program of the Terminator film franchise—was first unveiled by documents leaked by Edward Snowden to The Intercept in 2015. According to a leaked 2012 government Powerpoint presentation, SKYNET uses “analytic triage” to calculate the probability that individuals are terrorists, using an 80-point analytical test, that evaluates factors like a person’s phone…


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