timothy from the even-if-you-like-all-the-sifting dept.
gyrogeerloose writes "Although there was evidence to suggest that the Japanese navy was up to something in December 1941, that information was scant and came too late. Today's intelligence agencies have another problem altogether — more information than they can deal with, and computers aren't helping as much as one might expect for reasons that will be familiar to Slashdot readers: computers can crunch numbers faster and more accurately than humans, but they're still easily baffled by language as it is commonly used in the real world. Metaphor, slang and simple figures of speech can confuse the best algorithm and, as quoted in the linked article in the San Diego Union-Tribune, 'A system that takes a week to discover a bombing that will occur in a day isn't very useful.'"
"I have more information in one place than anybody in the world."
-- Jerry Pournelle, an absurd notion, apparently about the BIX BBS