Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Terrorists will no longer be able to hide in Azeroth

We all love DARPA, the Defense science madhouse that has given us the internet, GPS, carnivorous flesh eating robots, and robot cars that can drive themselves through the desert and will rule any Mad Max post-apocalyptic type situation. Soon they'll probably have a self driving car that eats human flesh. They do wonderful work.

But, one might ask, is the intelligence community's equivalent? I know the government is coming up with better ways for robots to dominate and subjugate me, but how are they coming up with better ways to spy on me and, ostensibly, foreign enemies, but mostly me? Ask no further, IARPA has been created.
Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, said that IARPA's task was to be "an intellectual ferment or primordial stew out of which great things will come." He wants Porter's researchers to "generate revolutionary capabilities that will surprise our adversaries and help us avoid being surprised."
One program, Reynard, for example, has signed contracts with five research teams, mostly from major universities, to develop systems to observe "avatars" — animated computer images — that take part in popular "virtual world" games such as Second Life and World of Warcraft.
Another IARPA project, named ICARUS, will attempt to model the way human brains make sense of a bewildering mass of data. The ALADDIN project is meant to pick out key items in the tsunami of video images that spy agencies collect. A program called TRUST will try to help intelligence officers determine who can be trusted and who can't.
There's also ACRONYM, a top secret program to help wean the government off it's addiction to creating arcane word grouping to create a third rate acronym that explains what the project does.

But that's it? A program to analyze whether terrorists are chaining enchantments for peak mana burn in their spell casting and better lie detectors? No mind reading robots? How about a way for Dick Cheney to completely subvert the legal process in order to listen in on people's phone calls? Creating a super-soldier that not only knows Farsi, but isn't gay so the army doesn't have to discharge them? A Aston-Martin with missiles behind the headlights for spies to drive? C'mon, give us something cool to work with, here. DARPA is going to have engineered giant bugs and fusion power suits so humans can fight the giant bugs any week now.

It's OK, you're a new organization and you're just feeling things out. But pick it up, if you aren't coming up with things that bewilder and terrify the populace and have a practical home or consumer electronics application, we'll be very disappointed. Robots that feast on humans and you counter with World of Warcraft? For shame.

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