in today’s world, an enormous amount of data is produced every second. If you just look at Facebook, you can see that their 1.97 active users, put out more data each second that can be quantified. The problem is that with all that data, it is hard to sift through it all to get anything meaningful. It is for this reason that, using traditional methods, only 1% is ever actually analyzed. The good news is that there are new tools such as text mining software tools, concept extraction tools, and semantic extraction software tools that can improve that number greatly. Text mining alone can raise that from 1% to 99%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).
Recently, USA Today published a piece about how these new tools would be cheaper and easier to implement along the United States border. The piece argues that, unlike traditional solutions such as physical barriers, these could be put in place a lot faster and be more effective. The writer notes that some of these “new” tools have been around a decent amount of time and have been used extensively by the private sector. Innovative tools such as concept extraction tools have been around for a while now.
The writer suggests that it is not feasible, nor would it make much sense, to only use one kind of protection along the border. They note that there are some areas where a physical barrier is the best option, such as in cities. The idea, however, that only one solution would work for every mile of the border makes little sense.
The writer calls for something different to fix the problems along much of the border. They recommend using radar, surveillance systems, sensors that would be able to differentiate between a person and some kind of animal. Border patrol agents should also be given access to concept extraction tools and text analytics tools. These can be useful in protecting the border for a few reasons. They can help the agencies identify problems at or near the borders when people come through. They can also help agencies see what potential problems are out there that will need follow up. Lastly, they may be used to predict problems at the border in the future. More people who are in the United States illegally did not cross the border on foot but came in through airplanes.
Proponents of a physical barrier to keep people out want to spend about $24.5 billion to accomplish their goal. Building a “smart wall” that depends on better technology to accomplish the same thing would be far less expensive. By some estimates, if the government went with tools, such as better surveillance tools, drones, tracking software, and concept extraction tools, that can be bought at stores today, the price tag would be under $500,000. Not only that but a physical barrier will take a lot more time. The land needs to be procured. In Texas alone, most of the land needed for a physical wall is owned privately. Experts say that it could take years for the government to be able to use the land if that is ever actually given to the federal government. The current owners of the land have expressed the desire to hold onto it and have promised to fight any moves to take it away.
There have been efforts to use better technology to secure the American border. There are a few reason they have not been as successful as their supporters thought they would be. Some credit their failures to the fact that the border control agents were not consulted when these solutions were being crafted. Another reason is that when newer technologies, such as better sensors were tried, they were not as effective as the ones that are in use by the private sector today. Improvements in the text analysis software tools and the concept extraction tools have made it a lot easier to weed through the information that is supplied from the sensors and other places to get a better idea of what is happening at the borders. These new tools can do more to protect any border.