The man who helped check videoed child porn is now out to get ISIS

The man who helped check videoed child porn is now out to get ISIS

The Culture

You can’t blame the message on the medium, not exactly. But maybe, all things considered, arming everyone with pocket supercomputers, and then filtering most of human experience through social-media feedback loops, wasn’t the greatest idea.

America recently endured the most electronic and media-saturated presidential campaign in memory, with its hacks, private servers, secret videotapes, fake news, troll armies and hour-by-hour internet outrage across all platforms. And however glorious modern communications may be, they’ve also empowered a cast of goons, crooks and jihadists to build audiences and influence world-wide.

A technological solution, at least to that last problem, may lie 2,600 miles east of Silicon Valley, in a computer-science laboratory at Dartmouth College. Prof. Hany Farid, chairman of the department, creates algorithms that can sweep digital networks and automatically purge extremist content—if only the tech companies will adopt them.

“If you look at recent attacks, from Orlando to San Bernardino to Nice to Paris to Brussels,” Mr. Farid says, “all of those attackers had been radicalized online. They weren’t going to Syria. They watched YouTube videos.”

He continues: “The dark side of the open internet is that truly fringe and harmful ideas now are mainstream, or at least accessible to 7½ billion people.” Yet “whenever we have one of these attacks, we just wring our hands for a few weeks and then wait for the next one to happen.” 

This article continues at [Lux Libertas Blog] How Algorithms Can Help Beat Islamic State

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