You’d think when choosing the name of a top-secret surveillance program, the National Security Agency would be careful not to choose a name synonymous with artificial intelligence gone rogue and nearly destroying humanity.
You’d be wrong.
According to a report by The Intercept, the NSA mislabeled an Al Jazeera journalist as a terrorist using a program called SKYNET, which analyzes cellphone metadata in order to detect suspicious activity. The report was based on a document leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Movie buffs are familiar with the name — Skynet is the AI from the Terminator movie franchise, which gains self-awareness in the near future and decides it’s best to wipe out the human race, which it perceives as a threat. We don’t know who chooses these names at the NSA, but here’s a piece of advice: Associations with entities that aim to destroy all humans are probably best avoided. Read more…