Page 8 - The 'X' Chronicles Newspaper - February 2023
P. 8

8                                  App For Reporting A UFO

           Spotted a UFO? There’s

                 an App for That

              Enigma Labs launches a

           project to crowdsource and
                 quantify data about

                 “unidentified aerial

        The tech startup Enigma Labs wants to
        turn UFO sightings into data science.

        Previously, people who had seen strange
        lights darting around the sky could do no
        more than tell their friends—or call

        intelligence agencies. Soon, anyone with
        a smartphone will be able to use an app
        to report an unexplainable event as it
                                                         where in the sky the user saw something, specializes in scientific knowledge
                                                         and approximately what shape the object production.
                                                         had. It also gives them space to tell their
        Enigma Labs’ mobile app was released
                                                         sighting story and provide more details, UFO sightings began as an  American
        today, initially on an invitation-only
                                                         and they can upload a photo or video. It’s obsession following World War II and the
        basis as they work out the bugs, although
                                                         a bit like citizen science projects in which Roswell incident in 1947, when people in
        they plan to make it available to the
                                                         volunteers help classify telescope images New Mexico found mysterious debris
        wider public. For now, it’ll be free to
                                                         of galaxies, but in this case the images are that may (or may not) have come from a
        download and use, although the company
                                                         submitted by volunteers and most of the crashed military balloon. Sightings
        could later charge for additional features.
                                                         classification is done by an algorithm.          quickly spread across most of the world,
        The company will not just be amassing
                                                                                                          Dorsch says, and interest in Roswell, as
        new data—it has already gobbled up data
                                                         The company wants to do more than just well as the US’s and USSR’s nascent
        on around 300,000 global sightings over
                                                         ingest lots of data though: They want to space programs, may have encouraged
        the past century and included them in
                                                         apply their proprietary models to rule out people to think of lights in the sky as
        their system—and while their dataset
                                                         things that are not UAPs, such as by alien technology. But, she continues,
        will be available to the public, their
                                                         determining whether there’s lightning or there were fewer UFO sightings after the
        algorithms for assessing it will not.
                                                         unclassified aircraft nearby.  And they Soviet Union launched the Sputnik
                                                         want to filter the credibility of the data satellite in 1957—when people saw
        “At our core, we’re a data science
                                                         sources as well, distinguishing between something weird in the sky, they chalked
        company.  We’re building the first data
                                                         “highly credible military pilots, trained it up as a human-made spacecraft. And
        and community platform exclusively
                                                         observers with corroboration from the geopolitics of where you live matters,
        dedicated to the study of unidentified
                                                         multiple sensors, and then at the opposite too.  Today, she says, when Germans
        anomalous phenomena,” says Mark
                                                         end of spectrum … a single witness who witness strange phenomena, they often
        Douglas, chief operating officer of the
                                                         maybe had a few drinks too many and attribute them to Russian and American-
        New York–based company.
                                                         saw a point of light in a sky,” Douglas made craft. “When you’re looking for
                                                         says.                                            something in particular, that is what
        Part of their goal is to reduce the stigma
                                                                                                          you’ll see,” she says.
        of reporting something unexplainable—
                                                         “The core issue to studying this has been
        even if the viewer doesn’t actually think
                                                         a data problem: ‘What is credible, what is                           (Continued on Page 9)
        it’s visiting aliens. (For the record, some
                                                         not, who is credible, who is not?’” he
        government agencies and companies like
                                                         argues. “What we’re trying to do is bring
        Enigma Labs now use the term UAPs
                                                         a level of standardization and rigor to
        instead of UFOs: unidentified anomalous
        phenomena, rather than unidentified
        flying objects.  The change is meant to
                                                         Of course, the challenge will be applying
        encompass a broad range of objects that
                                                         scientific standardization to something
        might not have an extraterrestrial origin,
                                                         that might not be scientific at all.
        and to make the terminology sound less
                                                         Eyewitness testimony is notoriously
                                                         unreliable, and people interpret what they
        Identifying an unknown and distant
                                                         see based on factors like current events
        object or explaining a phenomenon one
                                                         and their scientific, political, and cultural
        has never seen before poses a unique
                                                         backgrounds. “The data you’re getting is
        challenge. Nevertheless, the app asks
                                                         socially constructed,” says University of
        users structured questions, like when and
                                                         Pennsylvania historian Kate Dorsch, who
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