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Technology Allows ISIS Terror Threat to Spread across wider circles, say Intelligence Officials

The issue of easily shared information by ISIS among different countries across their international borders is what poses a threat to the governments and the defense organisations

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FILE - An Islamic State militant holds a gun while standing behind what are said to be Ethiopian Christians in Wilayat Fazzan, in this still image from an undated video made available on a social media website on April 19, 2015.
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September 8, 2016: Even though the U.S.-led coalition has made progress in efforts to oust Islamic State from its “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria, top U.S. intelligence officials warn that technology is allowing the threat of terrorism to spread across even wider circles.

“The terrorism threat we face is broader, wider and deeper than in the recent past,” said Nick Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center at an intelligence and national security summit in Washington. “It is more geographically expansive and as a result, considerably less predictable. Plotting in this environment matures more quickly and with much less warning.”

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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper emphasized the difficulties in predicting how technology will affect national security, saying the influence of IS on the global terrorism landscape has created a new intelligence reality.

FILE - IS social media distributed photos in several languages of children holding placards in Islamic State territories offering "congratulations" on the deaths of Americans, apparently in reference to the Orlando mass shooting on June 12, 2016.
FILE – IS social media distributed photos in several languages of children holding placards in Islamic State territories offering “congratulations” on the deaths of Americans, apparently in reference to the Orlando mass shooting on June 12, 2016.

“ISIS will eventually be suppressed, but I think for some time to come, we’ll have more extremist organizations, which will be spawned and which we have to contend with,” said Clapper while delivering a keynote address at Wednesday’s summit. ISIS is an acronym for Islamic State.

Information sharing

Many in the intelligence community say the terror threat in the U.S. is increasingly dominated by homegrown violent extremists or those individuals who often don’t fit a specific demographic profile or have clear ties to terrorist networks overseas.

“What’s changed, what’s different is the size and scale of the population that’s proven vulnerable to homegrown violent extremism,” said Rasmussen, adding that, “this puts a greater amount of pressure on intelligence and law enforcement officials, to get to them before they get to us.”

That increasing fragmentation and diversity of threats highlight the importance of information sharing between countries. But that’s a task that some say is tough to accomplish across international borders.

“Europe is in a very, very bad counterterrorism place,” said Michael Leiter, chief operations officer for Leidos, a global science and technology solutions company, adding, “[their] ability to police their own borders is largely nonexistent.”

Defining ‘victory’

The framing of the counterterrorism debate is also at issue, with many saying the rise of the Islamic State needs to be viewed through a broader counterterrorism lens.

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“The conversation on ISIS/ISIL tends to become all consuming,” Rasmussen said. “The stuff we’re seeing with ISIL is additive and comes on top of an already difficult threat picture.”

Experts agree that figuring out what comes after the takedown of terrorist organizations like al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula or Somali militant group al-Shabab is also an area that needs more work.

Being able to define what victory looks like, says Dr. Frank Ciluffo, director of the George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, is crucial to the success of overall counterterrorism efforts.

“I do see a day when we can defeat ISIS,” Ciluffo said. “But I don’t think that translates to the jihadi threat going away.” (VOA)

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  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    So technology now becoming their weapon too! It’s just wrong use of technology.

  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    Sharing of information made easy.. but improper use makes the wrong use as the ISIS.

  • Manthra koliyer

    Technology and sharing information should not be used in such a manner.

  • Ayushi Gaur

    India undoing a target

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  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    So technology now becoming their weapon too! It’s just wrong use of technology.

  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    Sharing of information made easy.. but improper use makes the wrong use as the ISIS.

  • Manthra koliyer

    Technology and sharing information should not be used in such a manner.

  • Ayushi Gaur

    India undoing a target

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Robots May Be Able to Perform C-Sections Soon

These big, set-piece operations will become less common as we are able to intervene earlier and use more moderate interventions

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C-section, Robots
A newborn, one of 12 babies born by C-section, cries inside an incubator at the Bunda Hospital in Jakarta, Indonesia, Dec. 12, 2012. VOA

Robotics are expected to become so sophisticated, hospitals may not need surgeons. Controlled by healthcare assistants, the machines will soon be delivering babies by carrying out C-sections as well as other surgeries, say experts.

The predictions are based on the report by the “Commission on the Future of Surgery” set up by the Royal College of Surgeons in 2017, the Daily Mail reported.

According to the report, the robots controlled by healthcare assistants such as technicians are expected to conduct vaginal surgeries and operations on the bowel, heart and lungs.

This will help advance diagnoses of illnesses like cancer before they destroy organs and, as a result, operations will be smaller in scale and less traumatic.

Robot, Reading Companion
FILE – A visitor shakes hands with a humanoid robot at 2018 China International Robot Show in Shanghai (VOA)

Even healthcare assistants — who do not need any formal qualifications to get a job — could one day be trained to perform C-sections with the robots, The Telegraph reported.

Specialists and surgeons will remain in charge of operations but may not always need to be in the room.

“This is always going to be under the watchful eye and careful supervision of a surgeon,” Richard Kerr, neurosurgeon at the Oxford University and Chair of the commission, was quoted as saying.

“These are highly qualified healthcare professionals and they will be trained in a specific aspect of that procedure.

“The changes are expected to affect every type of operation. This will be a watershed moment in surgery,” Kerr said.

While some applications of robots and DNA-based medicines are expected to happen sooner than others, those with healthcare assistant-led C-sections is possible within five years, the report said.

C-section, Robots
These are highly qualified healthcare professionals and they will be trained in a specific aspect of that procedure. Flickr

However, the experts warn that the use of robots in surgery could be controversial. This is in light of an investigation which revealed that a 69-year-old man in Newcastle died when a robot was used to carry out his heart surgery in 2015.

The commission’s report also claims that major cancer operations could become a thing of past because screening DNA will pick up diseases earlier, before they ravage the body.

Also Read: AI  to Help the Students of Japan in Enhancing English Speaking Skills

Similarly, people with severe forms of arthritis could be identified early on and faster treatment might reduce the need for major hip and knee replacement ops.

“These big, set-piece operations will become less common as we are able to intervene earlier and use more moderate interventions,” said Professor Dion Mortonm, a member of the commission. (IANS)