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UFO Tech Startup Motivated by Buzz to Track Incidents and Disclose Hoaxes

Enigma Labs is developing a repository to help crowdsource, score, and archive sightings and incidents across the globe as well as reveal false reports.

The US government is paying attention to persistent rumors about sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena, or UFOs, which are also encouraging a technology startup.

Enigma Labs, a Delaware-based company, plans to create a repository to collect, score, and crowdsource incidents as well as reveal frauds.

Alex Smith, the founder of Enigma Labs and a data scientist by training with a background in aerospace, claimed that “the internet is full of nonsense and it’s very hard to get good information.”

According to Smith, who declined to provide more information, Silicon Valley companies provide the majority of the funding for the company, whose name alludes to the German code that the UK decrypted during World War II.

After years of skepticism, Congress and other organizations in Washington are now devoting funds and studying inexplicable aerial phenomena. The first congressional hearing on unexplained flying objects since the 1960s was held in May by the House Intelligence Committee. The Defense Department believes that public sightings may indicate risks to national security, such as enemy drones or hazardous debris, and wants to remove any discrimination with reporting suspected UFOs.

Additionally, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration declared in early June that a team will be assembled in the fall to conduct a formal scientific investigation into the existence of UFOs.

Smith of Enigma, who claims not to be a specialist in UFOs, claimed that after speaking with pilots in 2020, the concept for a data repository emerged.

Something was going on, Smith said in a phone interview. It’s really these F-16, F-18 pilots who are our true North, Smith said, referring to military pilots who have reported unexplained sightings from their operations or training.

Most incidents are observed by US military personnel and also registered on technical sensors, but there still isn’t enough data to allow intelligence analysts to draw meaningful conclusions, Pentagon officials told lawmakers in May.

There was really no destination for credible information, data and sharing of expertise and insights, Smith said.

According to Enigma’s chief technology officer Patrick Corbett, a private beta test of the project has already begun, with a public iPhone application to be made available in the fall.

Once Enigma makes its application public, submitters will have drop-down choices to choose details like the object’s position and shape. In the future, Corbett added, submitters might be able to employ voice note dialing and secure drop.

Enigma will eventually collect fees for question-and-answer sessions and for scientists to use derivative products of the data, even if downloading the application will be free.

The widely recognizable image of the “Gimbal” UFO, which was captured by a fighter jet from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt off the east coast near the coast of Florida in 2015, served as the inspiration for the company’s logo.

Enigma initially concentrates on collecting all the previous data. According to Smith, it has already ingested 270,000 reports of sightings from all over the world in the past 100 years. Sightings are categorized and indexed. Enigma is making them approachable and available for any inquiries.

The veracity score, which Smith likens to the Richter scale used for earthquakes, will be a crucial component of the database. Confounding factors should be eliminated in order for the system to focus on instances with scores of 95 or higher on a scale of 100.

Anything that is identifiable — we use our technology to screen that out, Smith said.

When reporting these instances, citizens might be observing the moon, the International Space Station, drones, airplanes, or illumination.

We can be rational about what people are seeing and focus on those 1-5% that aren’t as identifiable, she said.

According to Smith, Enigma would then investigate sensor data, nearby sightings, and radar.

According to Smith, Enigma uses artificial intelligence, programming languages, and “every cutting-edge technology” to screen and verify sightings. This includes examining submission metadata, confirming the location of the person, examining the weather, and cross-referencing with any prior sensor data submitted in the vicinity.

Smith declined to disclose further because the discussions are still in the early stages. Enigma is possibly in contract discussions with a US defense agency for its capabilities.

Obtaining high-resolution data may be challenging for Enigma Labs, according to Harvard University’s Avi Loeb, an astronomer.

Even if you have a million cellphone images, they will always be blurry, because the cameras are not great, Loeb said. The cameras cannot resolve an object at a distance of mile and that’s why you need telescopes.

According to Loeb, cellphone photos cannot provide definitive or scientific evidence. He compared the poor data collecting to a market where the only items for sale are plastic jewelry.

You can buy the best jewelry you can find in that market, but it wouldn’t be high-quality, Loeb said. So my point is, let’s produce high-quality jewelry rather than go to that market.

Using telescopes to gather data, Loeb launched the privately funded Galileo Project. He claimed to have discussed Enigma’s proposal with them a few times. According to Loeb, Enigma and anyone else in the globe who may be interested in using it will have access to the Galileo data.

After we get some high-quality data, I will be delighted to collaborate and share ideas with Enigma. I greatly enjoyed my preliminary conversation with them

He claimed that although the government probably has access to highly-classified information on mysterious aerial occurrences, it is used to identify security concerns rather than extraterrestrial life.

It’s just not their business, Loeb said. It’s the business of scientists to figure out something that is not easily identified as human-made or natural.

The government was unable to explain more than 140 cases of “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena,” according to a declassified study released in June of last year, which prompted the Defense Department to create an Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group.

The creation of quick response teams comprised of Pentagon and intelligence community professionals who can react to sightings and carry out on-the-ground investigations has also been mandated by Congress to the agency. Meanwhile, NASA’s study will figure out what UAPs may exist, from national security threats to objects from outside our solar system. According to Daniel Evans, the assistant deputy associate administrator for research at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, it will only cost less than $100,000.

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