Whats in the news; a new way to look AT the news


Part of what I do for work is building tools for analyzing message traffic. The great majority of what I work with is Plain Ol’ News. The tools that we build allow you to start with some independent variable and apply various dependent variables.

So, to generate an example I had it look for things that had to do with nuclear power plants. Why not? It’s pure Hollywood to have terrorists attack nuclear power plants. They talk about it as a “what if” in the United States but in places like the Czech Republic this is not far fetched. So my independent variable is the input “nuclear power plant” and the dependent variables are the categories location, time, and threats. When I specified “nuclear power plant” the system informed me I also meant “nuclear power station”, “nuclear power generating plant”, “nuclear power complex” and so forth. It also gave specific names for nuclear power plants it knew of.

The System did manage to find an instance when a threat was in play against the nuclear power plant in Dukovany. The terrorists threatened to blow it up with a bomb. As you can imagine this would have been pretty devestating. Here is a picture of it. With a little imagination you could put together some pretty interesting scenarios – just by looking at the news.

With a little bit of work and an investment of about 5 minutes the system found this threat in over 14,000 documents in seconds. The visual display allowed me to quickly put together the information I needed and find the relevent files. The best part is, it found the facts across documents and brougth them together for me.

The connection to gaming is that when this technology hits the commercial market you will be able to research real world history and find facts and details for yourself on historical scenarios.

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