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In New Military, Data Overload Can Be Deadly

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Langley center

For 12-hour shifts at the Langley center, teams monitor an avalanche of images on screens.

Doug Mills / The New York Times

When military investigators looked into an attack by American helicopters last February that left 23 Afghan civilians dead, they found that the operator of a Predator drone had failed to pass along crucial information about the makeup of a gathering crowd of villagers.

But Air Force and Army officials now say there was also an underlying cause for that mistake: information overload.

At an Air Force base in Nevada, the drone operator and his team struggled to work out what was happening in the village, where a convoy was forming. They had to monitor the drone’s video feeds while participating in dozens of instant-message and radio exchanges with intelligence analysts and troops on the ground.

From The New York Times
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