Big Data and Machine Learning
We were discussing big data and machine learning recently in class and people was giving examples of some of the implications of their uses. One thing I didn’t get a chance to mention to the larger class that came to mid was the military uses for big data and machine learning. Over the last several years I have been privileged to serve in several units that have used big data and machine learning to achieve significant military objectives. One unit looked at big data to project where satellites would be and avoid possible collisions or other conflicts in orbits. In another unit we used big data and machine learning to fill intelligence gaps and look for suspected ISIS terrorists.
Big data and machine learning techniques are powerful tools for the military…but they are also powerful tools for enemies as well. As more of our lives shift to using connected devices, I continue to think about how much information is available on each and every person. The vast amounts of data available make it possible to have pinpoint advertisements…but what else can that data be used for? As we saw in 2016, the data was used to targeted political purposes as well. Over the next several years, big data will become more important as well. As designers and engineers, we’ll have to keep in mind that user data can be used in ways we have not yet imagined and take care to protect it.