Observing lives lost and trauma from preventable tragedies is among the most frustrating experiences of my career. However, whatever frustration we feel pales in comparison to the pain victims and their family members experience.
Prevention of human-caused catastrophes has long been a top priority of our R&D. We have a desire and an obligation to provide insight into what can be done to prevent school shootings and other similar human-caused catastrophes. I sincerely hope this modest attempt to help will assist in taking specific pragmatic actions to save lives.
Step 1: Understanding Prevention
- Investing well in prevention provides the highest possible return on investment.
- In every respect including human lives, trauma avoidance and financial ROI.
- The super majority of human-caused crises are now preventable.
- The majority of human-caused catastrophes are preceded by multiple warnings in the modern information rich environment.
- Effective prevention is primarily a combination of good science and engineering that tend to work best independent of political and financial conflicts.
- Although state-of-the-art systems are the most effective for capturing preventions, low cost local efforts in manual form are better than what exists today in most communities.
- The main components in effective prevention include:
- A functional system to identify early warning signs.
- Ability to connect dots from various disparate sources.
- Methodology to qualify risk factors with accuracy.
- Integrated reporting to appropriate authorities.
- Follow-up to confirm necessary action was taken.
- Foolproof governance to prevent abuses and failures.
- The ability of social networks to assist is limited.
- Large social networks have significant resources and strong data science teams. Similar to the federal government they have the entire world to be concerned with, not just one community or school. Social networks also have business models that often directly conflict with the needs of individuals and communities. People use many different types of apps that come and go.
- For these reasons communities need their own networked security systems that encourage participation and are free from external conflicts. Community efforts need to coordinate with schools and law enforcement, which in turn integrate with federal agencies.
- The most effective prevention requires advanced systems engineering.
Since the Phoenix memo was revealed following the 9/11 terrorist attacks an enormous amount of time, intellectual and financial capital has been invested in prevention methods and systems. The best systems are very good but expensive. Independent systems that have the capacity to effectively manage the complexity and scale of public interaction are not yet available in an affordable turnkey manner.[i] However, low-cost methods do exist that all communities can and should initiate to significantly lower the risk of school shootings and similar tragedies.
Step 2: Short-term Action Plan
- Create a small high-level taskforce of operational managers from local organizations including law enforcement and IT experts.
- Recruit a leader with appropriate operations experience and no conflicts (respected retired leader from business, military, police, fire department, etc.)
- Identify a small consistent source of funds from the community (foundation, professional group, association, non-profit, or pass the hat).
- Task leader to recruit and train volunteer security guards and a web development team (good experience for community college or university CS program).
- Begin by building and testing a central web site with ability to send in secure tips with detailed Q&A in well-structured database.
- Make site simple, brief, secure, transparent, clear and functional.
- Confidentiality should be ensured and anonymous tips allowed.
- Establish strict access & security protocols to prevent meddling or cover-ups.
- Use the site to educate community and recruit volunteer guards.
- Back-up and store data regularly in secure manner.
- Establish integration with law enforcement for threat submissions.
- Offer and publicize downloadable app for student phones.
- The goal should be to reduce the probability of catastrophic events to the lowest level possible given the physical, financial and regulatory constraints.
Step 3: Long-term Plan
Unified artificial intelligence (AI) systems with human augmentation distributed over fully interoperable networks should be a high priority for the long-term. Carefully designed networked systems are not only optimal for physical safety, but also health, learning, productivity and economic competitiveness.
AI systems are similar conceptually to Moore’s law that accurately forecast the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit to double approximately every two years. Performing many functions in one system well can be much more efficient and easier to justify from a financial investment perspective. Distributed AI systems offer the potential for a multiplier effect than can pay dividends for many years.
New Novel Financing Program for Prevention
One of the obstacles is that investment in effective prevention for low probability events for any particular location or entity are difficult to justify, particularly in tight budget environments. We developed a novel new model last year called HumCat to help overcome the problem of financing. The HumCat program (human caused catastrophes) bundles insurance coverage and bonding with unified AI systems, which can be extended to bonds to finance projects.
The economic goal is to demonstrate improved risk profiles for communities over time, which can then also improve ratings and reduce insurance and borrowing costs. The intent for the HumCat program is to not only cover the cost of the system install and monitoring, but also pay for itself many times in the form of several types of captured preventions that saves lives and treasure.[ii]
- Mark Montgomery is the founder and CEO of Kyield, originator of the theorem ‘yield management of knowledge’, and inventor of the patented AI system that serves as the foundation for Kyield: ‘Modular System for Optimizing Knowledge Yield in the Digital Workplace’. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- [i] In the case of our Kyield OS the cost is in tens of millions to develop into turnkey hybrid cloud format in the highly specific architecture required to provide scalability in an independent manner for prevention with optimal governance, monitoring, and security. The system includes governance for the entire network, ability to continuously learn and improve automatically with a simple to use natural language interface, and downloadable apps for all individuals on any standard device.
- [ii] HumCat is an abbreviation for prevention of human-caused catastrophes roughly patterned after ‘nat cat’ (natural catastrophes): “A Million In Prevention Can Be Worth Billions of Cure with Distributed AI Systems” http://www.kyield.com/technology/humcat.html