I’ve been contracted to write monthly blog posts for Stabilitas IO and consult on communications strategies. Here are two samples:
Artificial Intelligence: Force Multiplier for Your Team
There’s a lively debate today about whether artificial intelligence (AI) will replace security analysts. Can increasingly powerful computer algorithms pick up where human judgment left off? We believe this is a false dichotomy – and one that misses the point of AI-powered intelligence.
The question isn’t whether AI is better than humans; it’s whether humans are better with AI. When you consider the rapid changes taking place in the world of security and operational intelligence, the inescapable answer is: Yes.
Over the past twenty years, three key changes have propelled critical event monitoring to a scale that exceeds the capacity of humans to keep up:
BROADER SCOPE. Companies are increasingly distributed in their operations. Competitive pressures have given rise to a global presence and complex, just-in-time supply chains. Through its employees, partners, and vendors, a company may have operations in 24 time zones. That diffusion drives real economic benefits, but comes at the cost of monitoring critical events everywhere in the world.
EVENT VOLUME.The last two decades have seen a steady increase in the frequency and intensity of critical events. This trend applies both to man-made events like political unrest, terrorism, protests, and crime; and natural disasters such as fires, floods, hurricanes, and maritime incidents. There’s simply more happening that can impact a company’s people, facilities, and operations.
DATA EXPLOSION.With this increasing volume of events and the exponential growth of sensors via IoT, has come a proliferation of available data and data sources. The 24-hour news cycle, combined with ubiquitous social media and the billions of sensors and subsequent data has meant an overwhelming tonnage of information to sort through.
It’s vital to have eyes on every situation that can impact your organization. But when your analysts are spending the majority or their time gathering, reading, and processing, there’s little room for contextual interpretation. Getting them out of that trap to focus on higher-value tasks is the promise of purpose-built AI.
The mission of intelligence has always been to stay on top of events, anticipate their impacts, and respond effectively. That mission hasn’t changed. What’s changed is the underlying scope, scale, and volume. Today you’re expected to monitor more or less everything that’s happening in the world and respond at the speed of the Internet. You can’t be caught flat footed; it can mean the difference between making the call and responding to a call. And it’s impractical to try to hire enough people to get the job done. Hiring is too slow and too expensive – and the tide is against you.
Twenty-five years ago, an analyst covering a low-risk country had to read about 20,000 words per day. Today, the same analyst must read 200,000 words. That count is projected to rise to 2 million words by 2025.
And that’s just for one low risk country. In today’s world, you can’t afford to miss anything, but you also can’t afford to put enough people on the problem to keep pace. At some point, smart machines need to play a role in your strategy.
Smarter, Faster, More Effective
We believe the only way to adapt and thrive in this new reality is to harness smart machines. Only Stabilitas AI is purpose-built to deliver the actionable intelligence your team needs to protect your people, assets, and operations.
AI isn’t taking the analyst’s job; it’s augmenting an increasingly complex job. Stabilitas AI is working around the clock to uncover hard-to-find connections and patterns in critical event data, delivering vital support for your insights and predictions. Most importantly, everything is weighed in the context of your company’s unique footprint of people, partners, and assets. You don’t want to know everything that’s happening in the world, you just need to know what’s happening that could impact you. Stabilitas AI does that filtering, allowing you to focus on what matters.
In a single dashboard, your team has a picture of local and global threats drawn from more than 15,000 data sources. Stabilitas has trained its AI engine to assess, map, and categorize the information so you’re not wasting time chasing phantoms. You get real-time insights on the severity of events as they unfold. It’s the confidence of knowing what’s happening in your orbit and precisely who and what is affected. Your team can lever-up from processing data to acting on intelligence.
The Genius of Artificial Intelligence
With Stabilitas AI your team turns from uncovering and reporting to assessing and responding. You’re always first to know, which means you can act before a situation becomes a threat. Let’s look at how Stabilitas AI supports your security team:
The weight of protecting a company of scale and reach sits heavily on any security analyst’s shoulders. Stabilitas AI is the intuitive, powerful platform that allows them to be smarter, more focused, and better able to respond, communicate, and assist.
Jobs in the security field already challenge work/life balance with the need to be on call around the clock. Stabilitas AI assesses each critical incident in the context of your organization, meaning your team isn’t being peppered with irrelevant alerts. It’s a better return on their time, and your investment.
With a global shortage of security analysts, you already know you can’t hire enough people to process the data. Attracting qualified candidates is easier when they know they have the tools to succeed in a modern security context. And streamlining the workflow helps you retain the employees you’ve already invested in.
Establishing the Ground Truth
Fake news. Alternate facts. Dis-information. Mis-information. There’s a whole new lexicon reminding us that information can’t always be taken at face value.
You need an accurate understanding of risks that could impact your company and your people, but it’s no longer reasonable to trust the first available source.
In your world, reality is what matters – even if it doesn’t match your expectations. Nearly everyone on the planet now has the means to broadcast what they see, hear, and think. There’s a lot to sift through to know what’s real. The classic tale of multiple witnesses describing an event from their vantage point has become a parable for our times. Three different bystanders may interpret a fire through their own lenses: one will see a tragic accident; another will wonder about arson; and the third might think they’re seeing the work of a terrorist.
Until recently, you may have been concerned about missing a critical fact or potentially mis-interpreting the scope of a situation. Now, with so many people weighing in, even reliable sources can be reporting biased information during a rapidly-unfolding event.
The Human Factor
A skilled security analyst is still unmatched in their ability to exercise intuition and judgement in response to a developing situation. But all humans are wired with natural shortcomings when it comes to evaluating information. As data complexity and volume increase, these limitations can impact your response to critical events:
TIME PRESSURE: Regardless of level of expertise, one person is simply unable to thoroughly vet every data source when timeliness of response is paramount. It’s human to move from fact-finding to decision making based on initial reporting. These time-saving strategies largely serve us well, but when safety and security is the price, “good enough” just isn’t.
BANDWIDTH: The brain’s capacity for processing data hasn’t changed. At the same time, technology has increased information volume exponentially. In the face of this onslaught, it’s natural to narrow the focus. The result can be lost opportunities for necessary scrutiny and evaluation.
INHERENT BIASES: Social scientists have demonstrated the ways biases influence what people understand to be true. Even experts evaluate information they receive through the lens of their own background and existing knowledge. People also tend to believe what they expect to be real; this can prevent them from investing time to discover what’s actually true. These very human traits can make it difficult to question the accuracy of information that seems credible on the surface.
In the face of increasing data availability – and the knowledge that much of it is a distraction, biased, or simply untrue – even a room full of experts will have a hard time discerning what’s relevant and needs your attention. That’s where Stabilitas Augmented Intelligence delivers the actionable intelligence you need to respond confidently.
Accuracy from All Angles
In principle, having access to all the available information out there can correct for inaccurate or biased reports. But it’s a double-edged sword: more data doesn’t necessarily equal better information – or decisions. Stabilitas AI gives your team a picture of local and global threats drawn from more than 15,000 data sources. The genius of the platform is not just how it ingests myriad data sources and interprets the stories, but how it systematically cross-references coverage to determine validity. The product is a subset of reliable reports that help you focus on what matters to your business.
Stabilitas AI begins with virtually all the news that’s available. It then uses the full volume of that data to validate the accuracy of what’s being reported. Finally, it overlays critical event data with your company’s unique footprint, allowing you to focus on just those events relevant to your facilities, people, and operations. Comprehensive, validated, correlated, fast: each of these attributes is important, but without accuracy, you could be chasing phantoms.
Accuracy is essential for deploying resources during a critical event. It can also mean the difference between a mis-calculated response and a successful outcome. Accuracy has several dimensions:
WHAT’S TRUE? An unfortunate reality of modern life is the need to be skeptical of just about everything. It’s smart to ask questions, but this can take time away from other important tasks. Artificial intelligence is uniquely able to verify information accuracy with high levels of confidence.
IS IT CORRECT? Often when an event is unfolding, reporting will involve some speculation by observers. This is only natural. But not all smoke means fire, and a loud noise isn’t necessarily the result of an explosion. Stabilitas’ event fingerprinting goes beyond surface reports to assess what’s truly going on.
WHAT’S THE SCOPE? Critical event reporting will always focus on the people and places most impacted. We’ve seen how the aftermath of an earthquake, for example, can look like a city of rubble from a distance. In reality the damage is often isolated to particular neighborhoods – but scenes of undamaged buildings don’t interest readers. Stabilitas AI includes hyper-local mapping to sort trouble areas from safe zones.
WHAT’S THE CONTEXT? With a world of information at your fingertips, you’ll need to focus on what’s important to your operation. A situation in a region in which you have no interest can become a costly distraction. Your Stabilitas dashboard shows what’s happening where you need to know it.
Leveraging Multi-Source Verification
At the same time humans are paralyzed by data overload, accuracy improves with Stabilitas AI as it ingests more and continues to learn. The real difference comes from AI’s ability to rapidly sift and verify information, categorize it for increased understanding, correlate it to what’s important to you and your organization, and continue to improve with each bit of inbound data.
News reporters have proven methods for checking the veracity of their sources; these can be weeks-long processes involving a stable of fact-checkers. Stabilitas AI is trained to use the same validation techniques, producing results with breathtaking speed. This includes comparing multiple sources, verifying dates, digging past the headlines, and neutralizing biases.
Finally, Stabilitas has rules that control the flow of information based on your needs. For example, enabling you to increase the volume and sensitivity ahead of an important event, or maintain a steady level of notifications in a more predictable region.
When it’s your job to know about and respond to events that could impact your people, supply chain, and operations anywhere in the world, guessing isn’t an option. A reliable level of accuracy confers many benefits and instills confidence in your ability to respond effectively.
Any critical event that impacts the people and things that matter to you, local or regional in scope, requires decisive action. Accurate understanding of the situation on the ground means you can deploy fast but avoid overreacting. You’ll know when and how much to communicate to avoid needless panic. A measured response is easier when you’re sure of your information.
Residents of Puerto Rico were recently jarred from their beds when an early morning earthquake violently shook the world around them. The 6.4 magnitude earthquake was centered just south of the island. Twitter exploded, every news agency quickly reported on the event. If you Google “major earthquake Puerto Rico 2020” you’ll return over 20.3M results. Some of those reports focus on the initial earthquake and the resulting devastation, many on the myriad aftershocks that followed.
Understanding the DNA of Critical Events
By successfully understanding the DNA of every critical event category, the Stabilitas AI engine quickly identifies the unique event fingerprint and clusters subsequent reports within that single alert. For earthquakes, the DNA is a combination of magnitude, location, time, and depth. In the Puerto Rican earthquake, the specific fingerprint was a 6.4 magnitude quake occurring at 17.916°N, 66.813°W on 2020-01-07 08:24:26 (UTC) at a depth of 10.0km. This was a significant event that killed one person, injured at least eight others and resulted in financial losses calculated at up to $3.1B US.
Stabilitas AI meticulously deconstructs the DNA of every natural and man made critical event type, allowing our platform to deliver an alert almost immediately after an event is identified. When an event occurs and a unique fingerprint is created, our AI engine leverages an innovative neural network to cluster relevant information from other data sources (including social media posts, news reports, IoT sensor networks, 911 feeds, etc.) into a single, comprehensive and accurate alert. This combination of speed, coverage, and accuracy yields actionable intelligence, allowing you confidently to take action in order to influence a positive outcome in a timely manner.
The Stabilitas Difference
Stabilitas merges coverage and speed to bring you the most accurate, actionable picture of your world.
Coverage: Stabilitas AI ingests more than 15,000 sources: from government bureaus, weather and geological services, local and international press, and social media. This includes sources that security and intelligence professionals rely on for comprehensive global coverage. Stabilitas makes sense of it all by assigning each event to one of 53 critical event categories. Systematic cross-referencing of sources provides a high level of validation before you need to act on the information.
Speed: The time between when an event happens and when it’s picked up by your team is called “time to detect” (TTD). Rapid TTD can make the difference between pre-warning personnel and reacting to an event in progress. In a comparison of TTD, Stabilitas detected an event in just four minutes while it took a team of human analysts monitoring news sources nearly an hour. Social media has been shown to detect events faster, but noise and biases impact reliability.
Actionability: Stabilitas not only tracks critical events in real time, it maintains dynamic maps of your facilities, logistics, and personnel movements. This means your team can warn of potential impacts, take proactive security measures, and re-route resources – assuring operational continuity and uninterrupted customer service.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
By leveraging Stabilitas AI you’ll have full confidence in your critical event intelligence so you can protect your employees, facilities, operations, and assets. Stabilitas is the trusted platform for the most accurate information with unmatched speed, coverage, and actionability.
Read more on the Stabilitas web site.