Wednesday 12 July 2023

Interview with Polly Scully and Rachel Epstein, Palantir

  • News Article
  • DSEI
  • Q&A
Palantir Hall: Hall 1 Stand: H1-674
Interview with Polly Scully and Rachel Epstein, Palantir

Q: What are the challenges that Palantir’s panels will be addressing at DSEI?

A: We have three panels - one is on talent, one is on climate change, and the third is on cyber security. These are all really key issues that we feel data, data integration and AI can be brought to bear to create better solutions and solve defence’s toughest problems. They are areas that we care about as an organisation, areas that are really challenging for people to go after.

Talent management, for example, might not sound that exciting but, whilst it’s very easy to say that looking after your people is the most important thing, it’s very hard to make it the most important thing. Sustainability is the worldwide challenge that everyone is facing and defence is part of society. We will need to adapt to operating in warmer seas, as well as the instability climate change may or may not cause and the ability to respond to that effectively.


Q: What’s the key takeaway that the audience can expect to gain by attending your panels?

A: My revelation, coming to Palantir, was the power of being able to bring pieces of information together across disparate parts of organisations. No problem neatly fits into one part of an organisation. Bringing data together and working collaboratively to solve a problem and make decisions based on a single version of the truth can be hard to achieve in an organisation. So it’s about identifying those key pieces of information, bringing them together to see the wider picture, following them to a solution, and breaking down those barriers in different parts of the organisation in order to do so. As a whole, we’re so much more powerful than in individual silos. I would like people to be inspired to think there’s a different way of solving these challenges.

We’re coming at it in a really interesting time, just after a NATO summit, and all of those countries will have decided a whole range of goals that they need to hit in terms of readiness. They’re going to have to tackle those problems because they’re not quite where they need to be. We’re really excited to have a bunch of international voices on our panels and make it a really collaborative place for discussion.


Q: How do you tackle sharing data across international boundaries?

 The beginnings of our organisation were this view that privacy and civil liberties on one side, and security on the other side, aren’t options you have to choose between.

A: The way we’ve built our software has those access controls and that governance in from the beginning. If you think through who needs access to what information and why, and put the proper controls and boundaries around those, then you can share information. People find it very easy to say “no, I can’t share that” but when you start having a conversation about WHY you can’t share it, the cost-benefit of sharing it is generally better.

I worked on the Salisbury response and we had lots of conversations about how we work with NATO nations in response to this UK incident. I remember the day various NATO nations expelled diplomats as a result of the information we had shared with them. The power of sharing is generally much greater, and there are ways to do it sensibly and thoughtfully. There’s an element of risk analysis, and then putting the controls and processes in place to mitigate that risk.

Interestingly, our panel on cyber security will be analysing how the West has gone about privacy in terms of their cyber security infrastructure and exploring whether security has been upheld at the expense of interoperability. If you have a whole bunch of systems which aren’t working together and aren’t operating effectively, even if they are individually secure, you aren’t making progress or reaching the most well-rounded decision possible. So we’re really excited to discuss how the MODs of a variety of Western countries approach secure collaboration from an interoperable perspective with each other.


Q: What are Palantir’s key message and success criteria at DSEI?

A: We’re really excited to move full-force into the AI and Large Language Model spaces, so we’ll have a lot of demonstrations on our booth highlighting our workflows for defence in that specific domain. But the main message we’re trying to land is that we provide an incredible operational advantage for data driven warfare, which is the warfare we’ve seen in the last 18 months and will continue to see in the future.







Author Details
Polly Scully Senior Counsellor, UK Government Palantir Technologies
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