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Thermal Satellite Imagery for the Detection and Monitoring of Nuclear Weapons: Early Approaches for Automating Imagery Analysis

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HAI Seminar with Sulgiye Park, Allison Puccioni, and Francesca Verville

AI is an untapped component of space-derived insights about global security. High-resolution satellites image millions of square kilometers of the Earth’s surface each day, yet a human analyst can review only a tiny fraction of this data—creating a vast delta between what is known, and what is knowable in images collected from space. Imagery analysis has long been assisted by processes like the automated detection of objects like ships and aircraft, but there is very little AI-assisted analysis for delivering insights. Stanford University faculty and students, supported by HAI, recently embarked on a first-of-its-kind effort to work toward implementing AI into satellite imagery analysis.