I think not a lot of people really understand exactly what technology the government has in order to watch citizens. In fact, I think if everyone knew, there would probably be riots in the street. I was reading the other week about surveillance stuff in a recent Popular Mechanics, which I’ve always loved since I was a little boy (I remember my Dad had stacks of them, as well as Popular Science) – too bad the world they predicted never came to be – and some of the satellite technology that they are working with are actually completely amazing.
Not only that, but as you know, everyone is talking about drones. Really, I don’t see much difference between these and basic radio control planes. I mean, the technology that these things are holding is obviously light years above anything else, but at its base, these are basically just toys. Toys that are monitoring the American public relentlessly, of course, but they are basically toys nonetheless. Why anyone would be shocked at this, I have no idea.
One of the things that really amazed me about some of the drone setups was the fact that they were using Hyperspectral imaging systems like this one, mounted on the drone, to do full analysis of what was happening on the ground. Obviously, the potential applications of this are pretty unlimited, but one of the ones I’ve heard talked about is the fact that because hyperspectral imaging can detect differing electromagnetic signatures, it can also detect different geological structures. Where am I going with this? Well, how about a prospecting system that runs these things 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and looks at millions and millions of square kilometers.
Naturally, hyperspectral imagers aren’t going to detect everything – the fact is that so many minerals are similar enough that you simply can’t differentiate between them over large areas of land. It just can’t be done. On the other hand, there are some mineral compounds that are different enough – diamonds come to mind – that you can actually pick them out.
Now, these imaging systems still aren’t perfect. But companies like Surface Optics are working on the development of these imagers from airborne “macro”-scale devices to bringing up that resolution. Consider it like a first-stage digital camera. Back in the days when everything was 640×480. This is how far hyperspectral and multispectral imagers are along. Meaning there is definitely a ton of room for these to grow.
What will be the most interesting thing about this for Artificial Intelligence developers is to take these imagers and teach the system ITSELF to detect geological aberrations. That way, you could launch a system on a drone to cover a massive amount of land, and then get more focused on actually prospecting the areas that kept on showing up in airborne scouting reports.
The future is now with this stuff.