A.I. Program To Assist Us In Making Decisions

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A joint project between NASA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) resulted in a smart program that will do just about anything in order to provide its user with the information they need. The program, which will be connected to the Internet and the Cloud, could ask other programs questions regarding information it lacks. The project is meant to create a sort-of “personal assistant” to give first responders a complete and overall picture about conditions in the field.

The new system is really a computerized version of human reasoning and a decision-making system. In just 16 months, the first prototype, called AUDREY (Assistant for Understanding Data through Reasoning, Extraction and sYnthesis), will be tested.

Don’t be alarmed, the program will not replace human beings, but assist them in analyzing countless pieces of information. It’s true there are many systems to process and analyze data, but they usually require large computers and many servers. AUDREY, on the other hand, is a program that can be used on our personal computers.

The system can be tailored to individual users. For example, the firefighter headed into a burning building may need different information than the on-site commander or a helicopter crew. The system can recommend which units respond to an emergency based on who is closest, what types of equipment they carry or how busy they are at the time. It also could warn of the presence of dangerous chemicals or tell firefighters when a floor is in danger of caving in.

The special thing about AUDREY is its flexibility, that is, the ability to be applied in various fields. Another unique feature is its future capability to work with mathematical formulae. For example, firefighters often have to make an educated guess as to how much equipment or what types of equipment they might need, but they could be lacking certain information. The program, then, could calculate the required equipment according to weather conditions, a direct video footage from the helicopter in the field and even data from wearable sensors on the firefighters’ uniforms. AUDREY could also talk to other AUDREY systems when it lacks certain data. When NASA’s Mars Rover, for example, saw something unexpected, it would simply ignore it because it does not know what it does not know. On the other hand, when AUDREY realizes it is missing critical information and will try to get the answer some way or another.

Although the program is first and foremost meant to be used by first responders, project officials foresee it joining a wide range of users – military fighters, plant workers and even citizens.

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