Developing the first AI Platform to Detect and Assess Disinformation

Today, I’m excited to announce that Primer has won a multi-million dollar Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to develop and enhance the machine learning capabilities of our airmen and special operations forces.

We are developing the first-ever machine learning platform to automatically identify and assess suspected disinformation, for use by both the Air Force and Special Operations Command. No system like this currently exists because it was previously impossible for machine learning solutions to effectively identify and extract claims at the level of a human analyst. But here at Primer, we’ve pioneered new approaches in Natural Language Processing to make this possible. We’ve already begun work on this 12-month contract and are seeing promising results in our ability to cluster and evaluate claims. Doing so allows us to generate contradiction scores that let a human analyst quickly determine where they need to focus.

As part of the same contract, we will also enhance our existing natural language processing platform to automatically analyze tactical events to provide commanders with unprecedented insight as events unfold in near real-time. Our platform can already read and write in English, Russian and Chinese to automatically unearth trends and patterns across large volumes of data, and we will tailor this to provide a continuously updating dashboard for Air Force and Special Operations commanders. This platform will automate the work typically done by dozens of analysts in a security operations center to ingest all of the data relevant to an event as it happens and funnel it into a unified user interface to quickly give commanders the most important information.

Information overload is one of the most pressing challenges facing the U.S. military. From 1995-2016, the average U.S. intelligence analyst’s daily required reading grew from 20,000 to 200,000 words per day, and is expected to grow to over 2,000,000 by 2025. The massive volume of information available, coupled with exponential growth in disinformation, underscores the fact that to fight disinformation the DoD will need to continue deploying AI and ML solutions.

At Primer, our mission is to illuminate the truth. Right now, we’re living in a world where the most dangerous form of cyberwar is the fight to hijack our minds and belief systems. If we want democracy to keep working, we have to have a shared ground truth. But there’s an asymmetry in this fight, because it’s much cheaper to conduct information warfare attacks than it is to identify and defend against them. This is why we need to deploy AI and ML solutions to support the humans leading the fight.