How Deep is Deep Learning?

At the start of every new year, I get a sampling of what new technologies are going to be introduced. Most of the time, I’m in way over my head. Sometimes I understand and relate to the solution, the technology and what it all means.

I met John Carter several years ago. I remember it was during the winter, because at the end of the work day the skies were getting dark and I was trying to find his office in the North Dallas area. John had a very cool new technology that he wanted to show me. First, you should know that he is a rocket scientist and worked for NASA for a few years. I’m not a rocket scientist, never worked for NASA, and had no idea what I was getting myself into.

It was rocket science.

I’ve kept in touch with John over the years, and a few weeks ago I get a call to have a chat with him on the phone. We talked for 30 minutes and I found I was swimming in the deep waters of deep learning. I swam fast enough to ask for another 30 minutes. We talked again, and I was more prepared.

We’re seeing amazing advancements in Artificial Intelligence and its ability to design complex machine learning, also known as artificial neural networks (ANN). Why is this important? The day will come when cars will drive autonomously, when security systems will be able to spot or identify a terror suspect, and when applied to physical security, situational awareness is enhanced by identifying anomalous events.

The more I talk to John, the more I learn. As humans, we have the senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling. That activity is reported to our brain, allowing us to make decisions on how to proceed from one activity to another. ANN works similarly, but makes decisions based on logic and with constant evaluation.

When I asked for another 30 minutes of John’s time, I had you, the reader, in mind and asked him to share his thoughts on what I felt was a game changer. I invited John to write our cover story in this issue of Security Today, because I know he understands how leveraging AI will recognize certain conditions that increase a threat to a facility, and to the people inside. I’m thinking security on a K-12 campus and the valuable assets, otherwise known as students.

I believe you will enjoy his story, because it is a game changer.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2019 issue of Security Today.


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