15:22 PM

A proposal for a volunteer SETI-type approach to combat terrorism

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

The search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI), and NASA's recent plans to recruit volunteers to examine 1.5 million images of aerogel containing comet dust, gave me an idea.

Why not use a volunteer network of computer users to examine millions of satellite images of the areas where Osama Bin Laden and others accused of terrorist acts are believed to be hiding?

It would be a communal search for gangs that have carried out extreme acts of violence on our populations and vowed to commit further acts of mass violence. And our response against this violence has been yet more violence, with seemingly no end in sight--a perpetual war. This cycle has to stop.

The digital satellite images of suspect areas of the world could be distributed over the internet in a random fashion, they might not need to be identified as to location. Volunteers could be told and trained what to look out for.

Over a period of time volunteers would probably be able to identify suspicious patterns. And that might lead to the arrest of the terrorist gangs and we can get back to finding peaceful solutions to global problems.

Such a project would have appeal across the political spectrum and across many countries because if we can get rid of the terrorist threat, we can get rid of the laws that seek to restrict civil rights, and we can get rid of the hundreds of billions of dollars that are being spent on military and police measures. Instead, that money could be used to invest in a solving some very major problems we are facing collectively such as avian flu, energy issues, poverty, illiteracy, and hunger.

And we can get back to the business of globalization--the largest redistribution of wealth we have ever seen on this planet. This has lifted billions of people out of poverty.

Let's remember that global trade encourages peace--because wars disrupt trade. Let's have trade and not war.