“Living Intelligence”: NGA, not PKD

Philip K. Dick’s concept in the 1970s-80s of “living intelligence” (which he called the plasmate) has found a real world application–the National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency (NGA).

Famously Dick developed his plasmate to try and understand his experiences in 1974 when he seemed to receive or even (in his perception) to “bond” with a vast active living information system or Valis (lightly fictionalized in the sf novel VALIS in 1981 and recently republished by the Library of America).

The NGA does not appear to be doing anything so outre. Instead, it appears to be part of their ongoing effort to better integrate their information across the agency and to move from “a target-based model toward an issue-driven, activity-based environment” or in other words a more scientific, academic model.

Providing users ready access to online data will allow NGA analysts more time to put GEOINT data in context. It will also facilitate implementing activity-based intelligence (ABI) using new technology, techniques and phenomonologies [sic] to
conduct analysis.
(Pathfinder, Nov-Dec 2011).

Some key concepts here are participatory, online, and integrative. It is significant perhaps that John Goolgasian, who spoke about the new Human Geography (HG) core principles at GEOINT 2011 (see “GEOINT 2011 Summary“), is a lead here:

“NGA has also brought new analytical approaches and production processes like ‘Living Intelligence’ to these groups, successfully challenging the traditional approaches to GEOINT,” said John Goolgasian, lead of the broadening and deepening analytic expertise goal…
Living Intelligence is a joint project between NGA
and Intelink to transform the agency’s proprietary,
finished intelligence process and reduce the amount of duplicative analytic production.

Intelink is the secure group of  networks used by the intelligence community.


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