The Information Age has brought constant change to the way data is stored and analyzed. These changes require innovation and the American software company Palantir Technologies Inc. has a long track record of supplying those innovations to governments and high-profile clients. With a new President-elect and developments in AI technology, one has to wonder what Palantir could do for Trump’s administration.
What Is Palantir Technologies?
According to their website, Palantir Technologies Inc. was founded in 2004 on the idea that “With good data and the right technology, people and institutions today can still solve hard problems and change the world for the better.”
As an example, Palantir’s original clients were the United States Intelligence Community (USIC) agencies, and to this day maintain their Palantir Gotham project in unison with counter-terrorism analysts in the USIC and the Department of Defense.
Of course, they do not only provide services to the government. Their Palantir Metropolis product is dedicated to analyzing any kind of qualitative data. In practice, it mostly serves medical, legal and financial institutions.
“Palantir could introduce technologies that change the scope of the debate surrounding Internet privacy.”
Palantir has met huge success in their business; the privately owned company was valued at $9 billion USD in 2014 by Forbes. This number rose to as much as $15 Billion USD according to a report by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2015.
What Palantir Could do for Trump
Palantir has a history of working with government authorities, and that remains one of their core initiatives. With the advent of deep learning neural networks, well-funded software companies such as Palantir could introduce technologies that change the scope of the debate surrounding Internet privacy.
Internet privacy rights have become a heated issue as we work out the kinks of the Information Age. Many users are blissfully unaware of the fact that their information is all being logged somewhere. Due to whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, the public is increasingly aware that they are being watched.
The government has kept intelligence on its own citizenry since the days of President Herbert Hoover, but until now citizens could take some solace in the fact that it is difficult to analyze the enormous amount of data that the government is able to collect. AI technology could change that, as AI systems have been shown to analyze larger amounts of data at incredibly fast speeds.
Donald Trump‘s pick to run the CIA could be a concern for those who dislike surveillance, as well. Republican Kansas congressman Mike Pompeo is outspoken in support of government surveillance programs, and he is on record supporting the execution of Snowden. Additionally, federal agencies approved an expansion to the CIA’s ability to mass access the computers and phones of U.S. citizens, though this expansion may be blocked by legislation put forward by the U.S. Congress.
For those that support Internet anonymity, the Trump administration may provide a bleak outlook. For those that support national security, the administration may actually keep the U.S. safer. Either way, the world is watching to see how the U.S. acts in the face of an ever-evolving debate between freedom and security in the modern age.