Semantic Visions is a software-based actionable analytics firm based in Prague and London, operating a military-grade Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) system that collects and analyzes 90% of the world’s news content. Founded in 2011, Semantic Visions runs a cross-language early warning system to protect clients from threats before they materialize. Semantic Visions is committed to safe-guarding democracy through the detection of disinformation and adversarial propaganda, and by fostering joint situational awareness of emerging events and trends.
In 2005, when Frantisek “Frank” Vrabel, founder and CEO, was working in the defense industry on C4i (Command, Control, Computers, Communications, and Intelligence) systems technology, he recognized an opportunity for expanding the use of Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) collection and analysis. At the time, militaries and intelligence agencies – historically the institutions leading the way in digital innovation – were not using cross-language semantic analysis in their OSINT systems, which created huge blind spots for operational readiness. Vrabel knew there was a better way to put public information to work. So, in partnership with a few trusted data scientists and software developers, he set out to provide it.
Part of the motivation was personal. Vrabel grew up in Iraq, where his father was a visiting professor at Baghdad University, and was acutely aware of the hazards in poorly designed OSINT collection methods. In his estimation, most of the misjudgments made by the US military in the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003 were due to a narrow understanding of the local context based on an over-reliance on English content. Case in point: in one Iraqi city, the US military built a base atop ancient Babylon, a cultural misfire that better Arabic contextual analysis could have prevented.
A young Frantisek "Frank" Vrabel, Founder of Semantic Visions, seated atop the Lion of Babylon, 1968