ISIS: A collective Product of the Modern Society
Big data analytics is big business in our modern world. Analytics, which includes collecting unstructured datasets as well as processing them in order to uncover patterns and correlations, can also be used for security threat detection and possible prevention. As the virtual world is the primary recruiting mechanism for jihadists and engaging in cyber terror practices, a huge amount of data is now available to be analyzed and can help in predicting terrorist behavior and ultimately empower authorities in the cyber fight against extremism. These tools added a valuable asset in the war against terrorism and gave us an insight into ISIS strategies. Currently, experts at the University of Exeter are even talking about real-time ISIS propaganda collection and analysis to understand radicalization mechanisms. Researchers aim to reveal how ISIS online campaigns succeed in converting Millennials into Jillennials (Millennials extremist/ jihadist). The research team said in their public release on May 23rd, 2016 that they would “make use of powerful, computational techniques to detect, gather, and analyze this propaganda”.
While waiting for new findings that might result from this real-time analysis, many other parts have already engaged in mining ISIS data and started have drawing a considerably robust picture of both ISIS online recruiters and “ready-to-be-radicalized” profiles through Facebook and Twitter. Predictifyme, a software provider , revealed that around 71,000 people in the West, primarily consisting of young men, are ready to be radicalized. The patterns found thus far through this research is at odds with the traditionally envisioned archetype of what someone vulnerable to extremism looks like: first general immigrants who are poor, uneducated, religious, and potentially socially isolated. The opposite, patterns discovered by Predictifyme suggested that radicalized people neither come from the devout religious population, nor from lower income segments. Furthermore, Jillennials are not lone-wolf attackers without any connections to central authority. Moreover, the analysis argues that radicalization is more likely to happen in the second and third generation of immigrants. Unlike what the stereotype tells that the first-generation immigrants are more susceptible to radicalization as they participated in violence. Finally, what makes ISIS propaganda effective and dangerous at the same time, is that digital radicalization is “self-progressing”. It realizes the dream of thousands of video-games addicted teenagers who fantasize about becoming commanders.
The traditional understanding was that ISIS is an Islamic extremist ideology seeking “God’s rule on Earth”. However, patterns highlighted by Predictifyme suggest that many other dynamics created ISIS. ISIS is what colonial history, technology, capitalism and modern lifestyle have collaboratively manufactured. Therefore, it is a collective product that almost all nations participated in it with to a certain degree. In this sense ISIS can be compared to science fiction movies where human never-ending ambition lead to the creation of a certain monster that destroys the human creator himself.
Image obtained from Kaggle.com