In the Chinese People’s Liberation Army a commissar is a party official integrated into the chain of command. He is charged with ensuring orthodoxy and adherence to party principles. No deviation from the approved ideology will be tolerated by anyone including the commanding officer. In the Department of Defense, we have a commissar now too. His name is Bishop Garrison.
Garrison is officially the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense for Diversity and Inclusion. He runs the Countering Extremism Working Group. His job is to hunt down and purge from the ranks all who do not accept the new doctrine of critical race theory and do not believe that America is an inherently racist and evil nation.
Garrison believes that free speech is a digital “black plague.”
“Never has the country or the world been so interconnected. Never have we had so much information at the speed of light literally in the palm of our hands. While these technological advances work to keep us better informed, holding those with ill intentions accountable for their public actions, they also provide the means by which those who wish to spread disinformation and instability can commit their misdeeds…. If we allow this digital black plague to spread further, the shining city on the hill will undoubtedly find itself alone in the darkness for years to come.”Bishop Garrison
Like any good party official, Garrison knows that allowing individuals to speak their minds and exchange ideas freely is antithetical to groupthink and orthodoxy. It must be stamped out. Those who do not conform must be identified and rooted out. To help him in this task Garrison has a powerful new tool – Babel Street.
Babel Street is a private firm, which is already doing business with multiple government agencies including the Department of Defense. It sucks up data in bulk off the Internet, including from social media accounts. It bypasses First Amendment restrictions on government monitoring of American citizens and then sells the data collected back to the government. It is now being considered to run a program for the Department of Defense, which will monitor the social media and online activity of all DOD members.
Newly released records from the Seattle Police Department show just how robust Babel Street’s capabilities are. Babel X, one of the company’s programs has access to over 25 social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Babel X can also surveil millions of URL’s including the deep web. The software can instantly translate over 200 languages and can set up “geo-fences” around areas of special interest – monitoring anyone who enters those areas online. It can be customized in a myriad of ways, focusing on particular hashtags, emojis, handles, names, keywords, credit card numbers, and social security numbers.
The real selling point of Babel X, however, is its ability to conduct what is known as sentiment analysis. Babel Street personnel create software that scores social media posts based on attitude, intent, and emotion and then compares those scores with the goals of the client using the software. What is produced is effectively a “grade” for each person targeted showing how they stack up against the client’s defined approved attitudes. If you score poorly you are flagged for particular attention and, if necessary, disciplinary action or termination.
Even this, though, is not the full extent of Babel Street’s capabilities. Not satisfied with telling their clients what you think today, Babel Street now aspires to tell them what you might do tomorrow. It has moved into the world of predictive analysis with something called Babel Synthesis.
Babel Street filed a patent application for Babel Synthesis in November of 2020, two days after the election. Babel Street promotional literature describes Babel Synthesis as follows:
“Babel Synthesis leverages advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning to swiftly understand topics and thought leaders as well as conduct relationship analysis of associated networks and audiences. The software automatically compiles and visualizes these relationships enabling more fulsome analysis.”Tech For The People
Babel Synthesis is AI. It means an artificial intelligence empowered to suck up all available data from the internet and every other accessible system will now make the determinations as to whose “sentiment” is appropriate and who might pose a “threat” in the future. You may not have done anything yet, but if Babel Synthesis believes you will be a problem in the future, you will now be an “enemy of the state.” Babel Synthesis is not content with determining what you have already done or said. Its goal is to predict what you will do before you do it.
Communist China pioneered the path toward a high-tech national surveillance state capable of watching its citizens day and night and grading their behavior against approved Communist principles. Our new Commissar is preparing to take that to an entirely new level. He is preparing to implement mass surveillance of literally millions of government employees and to empower artificial intelligence – a machine – to decide which of those employees is a potential threat to national security and should be treated as such.
If there is a more dystopian vision of the future I don’t know what it is. For years we have watched science fiction films conjuring such visions of the future and dismissed them as fantasy. They are fantasy no longer. They are about to become reality, and we can only imagine that what this government implements for DOD today will be put in effect for all of us tomorrow.
The real commissar may not be a human at all.