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I’ve written about Dartmouth professor Hany Farid a few times over the past decade and a bit because of his interesting work using software to detect manipulation of digital photos, including a company called Fourandsix (“forensics” – get it?) that does photo authentication.

Now he’s involved with a project called the Counter Extremism Project that develops software which tries to tag violent videos used as social-media recruitment tools by terrorist groups. Here’s a story from the Fiscal Times (not Financial Times, mind you):

Based on robust hashing, the idea was invented in 2008 by Farid, who was trying to help stop the flow of child pornography. But telling a machine to recognize a picture of child abuse “is not possible,” he told reporters on a conference call on Friday. “We have not gotten to the stage where we can reason about fairly high-level things having to do with content. And so they were stuck.”  Consider that Google and Stanford needed a neural network of some 16,000 processors looking at more than 10 million YouTube videos before the system could recognize a cat.

About eight months ago, Farid teamed up with the Counter Extremism Project to apply robust hashing to a different challenge: recognizing jihadist content. They trained a system on the Project’s ever-expanding propaganda-images database, and set it to work.

Other coverage from The Atlantic (here), and Wshington Post (here).

Interesting note: The Counter Extremism Project website has tabs to open up a version in Turnish, and in Arabic.

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