Information Weapons: Extreme News Analytics From RecordedFuture

Garrett Wilkin
May. 27 2011, 10:00AM EDT

RecordedFuture, at first glance, is scary. It’s one of those projects that brings the saying “with great power comes great responsibility” to mind.  The company has developed a platform for providing momentum and sentiment ratings around two conceptual abstractions: events & entities.  Its system is continually scanning “thousands of high-quality new publications, blogs, public niche sources, trade publications, government web sites, financial database, and more,” then making that available via the Recorded Future News Analytics API. This type of news aggregation and processing is a level of awareness that no single human could otherwise obtain.  From a theoretical perspective, having a tool such as this at one’s disposal would create a huge information advantage.  Could this be called an information weapon?

A primary use case for this service appears to be quantitative analysis for securities & derivatives trading.  Investment banks have long employed the services of firms who research, analyze, and provide guidance on the direction of industry or the prospects of a particular company with respect to its competitors.  This historical precedent makes the development of a tool such as RecordedFuture’s API seem almost inevitable.  Aside from targeting the financial industry, they have also pitched their services to the intelligence and defense sector with this terrorism analysis tool.  RecordedFuture knows who's got the money.

News today is an overload of information from innumerable global sources.  Attempts to process, distill, and aggregate the essence of news stories may be a trend for the future.  Maybe we could use recorded future to tell us if anyone has plans to implement a news analytics product like it?  Wouldn't that be cheeky.

This type of processing is made possible through the development of natural language processing.  There are now 65 semantic APIs in our directory, which demonstrates that the tools to build these news analytics services are becoming available to anyone with the ambition to knit them together.  The potential is there for everyone, but so far RecordedFuture has the only news analytics API.

You’ll need to contact RecordedFuture if you are ready to start using their service through the website or API.  Both are only available through subscription, which is not surprising given the value of this service.  You can get a feel for the API on this google code page.

Garrett Wilkin

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