AI pattern recognition — one human thought at a time

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Researchers say tool could trace online posts to terrorists

By Arthur N. Rotstein, Associated Press USA TODAY

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“. . . The quivering images and militant writings are frightening: an exploding Humvee blankets passing cars with dust; a lab technician makes explosives, step by step; hatred oozes from ‘A guide to kill Americans in Saudi Arabia.’

“Tens of thousands of Web pages are now devoted to terrorist propaganda designed to attract followers. On the surface, the messages and videos reveal little about their creators. But programmers and writers leave digital clues: the greetings and other words they choose, their punctuation and syntax, and the way they code multimedia attachments and Web links.

“Researchers at the University of Arizona [Artificial Intelligence Lab] are developing a tool that uses these clues to automate the analysis of online jihadism. . . .
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Dark Web’s software … Writeprint … is derived from a program originally used to determine the authenticity of William Shakespeare‘s works. It looks at writing style, word usage and frequency and greetings, and at technical elements ranging from Web addresses to the coding on multimedia attachments. It also looks at linguistic features such as special characters, punctuation, word roots, font size and color, he said.”

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“‘Given that some forums include close to 70,000 members and a million postings, analyzing Web traffic by hand ‘is really like drinking water from a fire hydrant . . . ‘” (full article)

Image credit: Marquith Muhammad — Design Work

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Newcomb’s commentary: “If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each person’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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