Monday, November 21, 2016

BAE Systems Drones and Big Data

BAE Systems produces these unmanned machines called Taranis.  The Taranis is an autonomous combat aerial vehicle that is manufactured by BAE Systems, a British defense company.  Militaries can implement these machines more easily to survey and spot mines and submarines and provide humanitarian aid, which is more efficient than convoys.  However, the general public don’t favor governments funding programs designed to search and destroy key strategic points.  Generally, people aren’t receptive of change and new technology

This is where big data comes into play.  Battlefields aren’t fought physically, but through the digital world.  Allow me to explain.  As a society, we have become more reliant on the internet and wireless communications.  Here’s the catch.  What if there is a possibility of terrorist organizations to disrupt our way of living.  To critique Bernard Marr’s cynical outlook on these possibilities is an extreme in that he’s comparing apples to oranges.  However, Marr isn’t exactly off.  To give a concise example, Chinese hackers managed to hack into Federal Office of Personal Management’s networks and steal approximately 4 million federal workers’ personal information (SSN, contact information, names) in 2015.  This shouldn’t have happened in that foreign hackers bypassed our “secured” networks and steal sensitive information from American citizens. 

Bernard Marr also primarily argues against the use of big data and drones together may not be beneficial.  In stating so, Marr carefully explains it is difficult to tell how much insight people would have over big data given these circumstances.  Adding along to his point, he implies that many people assume these machines and the usage of big data is solely used to fight.  In addition, these machines may be used as a means of intimidation.  However, I firmly believe we need more government intervention and funding with big data and drones.  If you want to know more how big data is analyzed, you can watch the YouTube link below, which discusses about BAE Systems Applied Intelligence CyberReveal’s process.  CyberReveal is a multi-threat monitoring product, that allows security analysts to detect and eliminate cyber threats efficiently. 

Marr did not mention the challenges of implementing big data with drones.  These problems are high input rates, numerous small data files to consider, precise timing to stream data, and the supply chain.  In addition, the footage taken from the drones is one of the first steps in the data collection process.  That means data analysts need to calibrate correct, process, store, and evaluate the images/footage.  BAE Systems is far off from using big data and drones more efficiently, but it’s certainly a start.


1 comment:

  1. I think Kevin makes some good points in his reflection however I wanted to expand on potential ethical issues that come with utilizing big data in anonymous drone programs. I think it is a very dangerous line that military technology is quickly approaching when there is no longer a human taking responsibility for acting upon strategic military targets. The united states already has the largest unmanned drone program in the world, using remote control links pilots can be anywhere in the world controlling these machines. Already we have seen issues with the disconnect between having a manned vehicle versus an unmanned vehicle. By removing the human element you are removing the judgement and ultimate decision to take a life. While I understand the benefits of no longer needing a live pilot and that there is still a human controlling the machine, you are removing accountability that comes with engaging a military target and this gap will increase tenfold once these machines are autonomous. Instead of trusting this process to a person you are putting it in the hands on a system particularly big data systems as the amount of information that needs to be processed is immense. The outputs you get from a big data system is highly dependent on the inputs you are using as well as the decision making capabilities of the system itself. The ethical dilemma is that you are now completely removing the human from potentially taking another humans life which removes accountability. It will be interesting to see how these systems advance moving forward and more importantly seeing how these systems are implemented in military engagements. Hopefully they are designed well enough so that they end up saving more lives due to pilot error then what may occur with a system error.


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