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Prometheus: early crisis detection with AI

Identify crises as they develop: using artificial intelligence, the Prometheus software generates a comprehensive overview of potentially precarious situations to inform rapid responses.

The Bundeswehr Territorial Tasks Command responds to a vast variety of territorial catastrophes, such as floods, forest fires, pandemics, aeroplane crashes and terrorist attacks. Their ability to act rapidly in the event of an emergency increasingly relies on the availability of a comprehensive overview of critical situations as they unfold, in Germany as well as abroad.

That is why the Bundeswehr Cyber Innovation Hub is currently trialling Prometheus, a new software at the action information centre of the Territorial Tasks Command, where all information about the territorial situation is pooled. The program autonomously collects information about critical events and evaluates it preliminarily in order to provide a complete picture. It can contribute an important building block to the Bundeswehr's overall assessment of the territorial situation.

Analysing vast volumes of data

Prometheus collects a wide range of information from various freely available sources (open-source intelligence or OSINT), such as Twitter and Google. Such data are available in near real time, and compliance with data protection regulations is guaranteed. Using artificial intelligence, the software evaluates, amalgamates and presents the big-data information in a comprehensive situation assessment.

It breaks all relevant crisis and deployment scenarios down into word clouds or ‘crisis clusters’. The action information centre only monitors large-scale emergencies, during which the Bundeswehr may provide assistance to other authorities as per constitutional law.

Highest data security

When a crisis occurs, the platform notifies its users by email or smartphone notification. This replaces the time-consuming screening and assessment process previously carried out by staff at the action information centre.

Due to the highly sensitive military environment in which the system will be used, data security is crucial. Users only receive the anonymised, final product as a notification from the platform. As no data are stored permanently, the Bundeswehr Territorial Tasks Command uses the open cloud solution.

The software learns from every search query. Every day, the intelligent algorithms improve as users interact with the platform, and the resulting situation assessment becomes more and more efficient.

An idea turned prototype in a matter of months

The project idea came from Hauptmann Christoph Brauer of the Territorial Tasks Command. He recognised the potential benefit a digital analysis system would bring to the action information centre. Once the decision was made, we and a carefully chosen German start-up rapidly turned the idea into reality.

The purpose of the software is to ease the routine workload on soldiers at the action information centre and improve the responsiveness of the action information centre during sudden, acute crises. This would allow the Bundeswehr to make decisions and respond faster in emergencies, ensuring effective assistance without delay.

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