Well, that didn’t work.
Uvalde, Texas, was part of a cutting-edge AI program designed to monitor social media and other aspects of students’ lives. The intention was to prevent the mass murders from being perpetrated by students like Salvador Ramos, but despite clear signs that he was dangerous and well-armed, the program failed to notice him.
According to The Daily Mail:
- Texas school officials had been monitoring students’ social media prior to the deadly shooting in Uvalde Tuesday – but failed to pick up on posts from gunman
- As an 18th birthday present to himself earlier this month, now-deceased suspect Salvador Ramos bought two AR-style rifles and paraded them on social media
- The ensuing massacre left 19 students aged under 11 and two adults dead
- Before the rampage, Ramos reportedly also shot his 66-year-old grandmother
- Uvalde School District officials say they had been monitoring its students’ social media pages using an advanced AI-based service called Social Sentinel
- The software is designed to find signs of potential harm in digital conversations
We can now say with a certainty Social Sentinel did not work as intended.
It’s not like he was using coded messages or hiding his intentions on social media. He posted multiple images of his newly acquired firearms and showed aggression towards others, particularly girls and women.
The district revealed this week it had been using the platform “to monitor all social media with a connection to Uvalde as a measure to identify any possible threats that might be made against students and or staff within the school district.”
There are multiple challenges with this. First, using AI to monitor people is creepy. Second, if you’re going to be creepy, at least be creepy in a way that has benefits. Considering the utter failure of this program, the creepiness was wasted and possibly even prevented notice of Ramos’ posts through complacency. If an AI is doing the work, it’s assumed nobody was putting actual eyeballs on any of their students’ posts.
But as one conspiracy theorist noted to me privately, maybe it did work. If this was a false flag attack, as some have claimed, then perhaps the AI was able to identify Ramos and allow the powers-that-be to trigger him. I’m not ready to embrace such a theory, but it’s out there and worth noting.
From teachers to police to parents to AI, the list of failures in Uvalde are mounting. 21 people, including 19 children, are dead because apparently nobody was doing their job.