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Automation for Information Control

CIA plans and problems (1960s),
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Automation

CONFIDENTIAL

From the user's point of view, the system should provide a number of advantages, most immediately:
All-source retrieval from a file system covering every type of printed document, including maps and photos, at whatever classification level.
Single-point retrieval service organized by geographic area, as opposed to the old multiplicity of indices and registers. Literature searches that turn up all books, documents, reports, etc., that bear on a subject in question.
Information searches that turn up facts in answer to specific questions, facts concerning foreign personalities, organizations, installations, and activities.
Counts, whether of Algerian students in the USSR, public appearances of the Chinese leaders, or CIA intelligence reports on Haiti, and the trend of changes in such counts.
Detection of redundancies and inconsistencies in the system store.
Less matter-of-course but not at all visionary are services like the following:
Automatic inference-making-manipulating the wide variety of stored facts about people, institutions, and activities to produce new hypotheses about their character and connections. The variety of problems to which such a capability might be applied would depend on the ingenuity of the intelligence analyst.
Machine-assisted language translation, both machine translation of Russian documents and machine conversion of oral translations from other languages into printed documents in English.
Analyst referral service from a central directory or "profile" of human sources with expert knowledge in special subjects.
Remote querying which will enable users to interrogate and maintain from their own offices special-purpose files in the central system.
Half a Loaf
We see the development of this improved system as extending over ten years and many difficulties. Only because computer technology, capability, and capacity are what they are today and will be tomorrow do we dare count upon the success of the project.
Even so, there are risks. In this costly field you try to reduce the risks, but after you have done all you can they are still considerable.
CONFIDENTIAL

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Posted: May 08, 2007 08:09 AM
Last Updated: Aug 05, 2011 12:45 PM