Published On: Wed, Aug 21st, 2013

Israeli Army Unit 8200 – the Best Tech School on Earth

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IDF 8200

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If you want to make it as a tech entrepreneur, enlist in the Israeli Defense Force and aim for Unit 8200.

Unit 8200 runs Israel’s tech intel unit, it is arguably the best military intelligence gathering apparatus in the world. But the things people learn there are valuable in the civilian world too.

Matthew Kalman of The Guardian shows how complex computer algorithms used to track potential enemies over telecommunications infrastructure can double as marketing/advertising software for fashion that “matches clothes and accessories to suit your taste.”

According to Business Insider, Israeli Unit 8200 is running, or at the very least, driving a global tech boom, this isn’t a new story though.

“There are job offers on the Internet and wanted ads that specifically say ‘meant for 8200 alumni’ said “Ziv” a Unit alumnus, to Forbes in 2007. “So it doesn’t really matter what you did in the unit – you’ve already benefited. It simply raises your shares in the civilian market.”

64837A former 8200 alum who called himself only “Brigadier General B,” told James Bamford of Wired, “This correlation between serving in the intelligence Unit 8200 and starting successful high-tech companies is not coincidental: Many of the technologies used around the world and developed in Israel were originally military technologies and were developed and improved by Unit veterans.”

Companies using military-like tracking software is also not a new story.

“A lot of the practices and the technology that we used in the army are used today at Stylit to address the problems we are aiming to solve in fashion,” said Yaniv Nissim, a former 8200 programmer who designed the company’s algorithm by combining the wisdom of former army tech geeks with fashion industry stylists. “The technology is mainly machine-learning technology. It’s how to take huge amounts of information and from that to understand users’ behavior.”

In short, there’s very little difference between tracking consumers and tracking terrorists.

 

Courtesy of i-HLS.com

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1 comments
MatthewKalman
MatthewKalman

Thank you, but that wasn't the point of my original Guardian story. What's new is the decision of 8200 Alumni to create the 8200 EIPS: "Three years ago, 8200 alumni decided to emerge from the shadows and offer their expertise to other young Israeli entrepreneurs. The result was the 8200 entrepreneurship and innovation support program (EISP), a five-month hi-tech incubator in which unit alumni volunteer to mentor early-stage startups. So far, 22 of them have received funding totalling $21m (£13.5m) and employ 200 people." The full story is here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/12/israel-military-intelligence-unit-tech-boom

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