Most people have heard of DARPA — the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — that is informally known as the mad science division of the Pentagon. Among their many infamous military programs, mind control and artificial intelligence have been of increasing interest. However, few people have yet heard of HARPA, which, according to reports, has all of the hallmarks to be an even greater threat to human liberty.
HARPA — the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency — has been in the works as a proposal since 2017 by the Trump Administration according to the Washington Post, but is reportedly gaining steam again as the administration grapples with solutions for mass shootings and calls for gun control. If this new report is to be believed, the Trump admin is putting its faith in artificial intelligence as a possible way to screen people for mental health (through data collected by smart devices) in order to determine violent tendencies and perhaps thwart gun purchases for those deemed to be a potential mass shooter.
So far, it’s been stated that any data collected will come from volunteers, but we know how that story tends to work out.
The Suzanne Wright Foundation proposed to the White House that HARPA include a “Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes,” or “Safe Home,” project. This would seek to identify “neurobehavioral signs” of “someone headed toward a violent explosive act” using volunteer data. The four-year project would cost an estimated $40 to $60 million, according to Geoffrey Ling, the founding director of the Biological Technologies Office at DARPA and the lead scientific adviser on HARPA.
Everybody would be a volunteer,” Ling told the Post. “We’re not inventing new science here. We’re analyzing it so we can develop new approaches.”
As I’ve been reporting over the last several years, the use of artificial intelligence to determine and even predict mental state — typically depression — is a trend on the rise, so the idea that domestic terrorism would potentially be the catalyst for ushering in its more widespread use seems to be plausible.
Here are just a few of the examples I’ve highlighted previously:
Imagine now, that Trump (or any future president) had the “evidence” of predictive artificial intelligence, rather than just “bad behavior” to make such a determination.
Fortunately, there are two key elements to this story to ensure that none of this will happen overnight.
1. HARPA is a brand new agency that would need to be created by Congress. While there certainly is massive pressure for the government as a whole to take action against violence, Congress is the epitome of bureaucracy – on top of the four-year study that will be conducted to determine efficacy, this could take a while.
Yet, we need to take this new line of discussion to be of utmost seriousness. I’ll update this article as more information becomes available about any other concrete steps that are being made to bring this dystopian vision of the future into reality.
In the meantime, here is a bit of propaganda from HARPA: