28 October 2018

In Search of the Truth: How you make Judgements or Conclusions...

"Intelligence analysts should be self-conscious about their reasoning processes. They should think about how they make judgments and reach conclusions, not just about the judgments and conclusions themselves." --Richards J. Heuer, Jr.

What is truth and how can we know it?  Alternative hypotheses need to be carefully considered--especially those that cannot be disproved on the basis of available information.
When was the last time you worked on a challenge to disconfirm or disprove a hypothesis?   Our analysts do not have enough time out of their building.  They must start and end the process for "sense making" with using all of their senses, in front of and immersed in the hypotheses they are trying to disprove.

The data-driven mosaics before the people who are looking "Over-The-Horizon" (OTH) are vast.  In many cases, they do not need more aerial imagery, RF data, or more forensic information.  They just need more context and they must spend more quality time actually seeing, smelling, tasting or feeling the environments that they are or will be analyzing.

Who makes the best analysts?  Some would say those who have been there and done that.  Others would say, it is better to have people that are not biased and have never done that, yet have the opportunity to experience the environment being analyzed, long enough and close enough, to be able to create valid competing hypotheses.
So what?
false positive noun

Definition of false positive

: a result that shows something is present when it really is not
The test produced too many false positives to be reliable.  This is our greatest vulnerability and our search for the truth, must do all that we can do, to eliminate the possibility of false positives.

The mounting challenges and problem-sets before us, as "Operational Risk Management" (ORM) professionals is substantial.  Still to this day the gaps in fundamental knowledge on topics such as "Digital Forensics" are increasing.

The mobile sensors that we carry around in our pockets and purses have become the problem.  Now we have embarked on the mission to call upon the data from the Apple and Samsung devices for a search for the truth.  Are we seeking intelligence or looking for evidence?  There is an incredible difference.

And where does all of this data live?  Have you backed up your iPhone to iCloud lately?  Or perhaps you have an online account with your particular Internet Service Provider (ISP) where you archive your data for safekeeping.  Or maybe you have backed up our data to the multi-terabyte portable drive sitting on your desk.  The possibilities are endless.

In our search of the truth, how do you make judgements and reach conclusions...

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