Forecasting Protests and Unrest with Recorded Future

Recorded Future, the first temporal analytics engine enabling web intelligence, recently hosted a webinar on how their solution can be used for protest monitoring and forecasting, which you can watch here. The webinar, presented by Jason Hines, Head of Federal at Recorded Future, product engineer Steve Shohn, and Shannon Detone, from the partner agency Thermopylae Sciences working with US SOUTHCOM, demonstrated what Recorded Future does, how it can be implemented, and how United States Southern Command already uses its APIs built into its existing geospatial and analytical solutions.

As Jason Hines explained, Recorded Future enables web intelligence by temporally indexing textual information on the Internet. It pulls from hundreds of sources, ranging from mainstream media to social media, identifies events, entities, and references to time frames, and indexes the search results chronologically, including planned or predicted events in the future. Recorded Futures recognizes over 100 different event types and various temporal signals in text that allow users to search events in the future or filter results with a time series slider. Users can also examine results through a source map and interactive timeline as well as translate texts on the fly and integrate with popular tools such as Analyst Notebook. Recorded Future is entirely hosted online and can also be run on a private cloud for added security and confidentiality.

One use case for Recorded Future is monitoring and forecasting upcoming protests. It’s already been implemented by US Southern Command on top of their 3D UDOP mapping application. SOUTHCOM uses Recorded Futures to raise online situational awareness, perform real time monitoring and analysis, and trick indicators and warning signs of unrest. The goals are to mitigate mission surprise and to decrease risk to persons and property.

SOUTHCOM first baselines levels of protest for cities, as some locations typically experience much more unrest than others. Then they use Recorded Future to mark cities from red, meaning highly unstable, to green, meaning normal, based on projected protest activity. Future protests are weighted more than current ones to make this a more predictive tool. Access is password protected by location and layer, which both keeps unauthorized viewers out and makes it easy to share information with intended personnel. From the colored overview, analysts at SOUTHCOM can click on cities to drill down into the events in question. Though the United States Southern Command implemented Recorded Futures as part of their geospatial platform UDOP, the simple to use APIs can be integrated into other custom solutions or even Google Maps for a similar result.

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