DARPA gamification plan to get deep-thinkers, game-changers to collaborate

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency this week announced a program it hopes will get the world’s deep-thinkers to collaborate and explore emerging science and technology for advanced applications.

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The agency is proposing an online community known as Gamifying the Search for Strategic Surprise (GS3) that would “apply a unique combination of online game and social media technologies and techniques to engage a large number of experts and deep thinkers in a shared analytic process to rapidly identify, understand, and expand upon the potential implications and applications of emerging science and technology. The program will also develop a mechanism to identify and quickly fund research opportunities that emerge from this collaborative process,” DARPA stated.

“As a first step, GS3 will support the creation of a new gaming platform designed to serve as a digital crucible where ideas and insights from a wide range of disciplines can be iterated upon by individuals and teams with equally diverse backgrounds and expertise. After a period of development and testing by an inaugural group of invited players, the platform will be opened to the public to attack a variety of problems relevant to DARPA’s mission of preventing technological surprise,” DARPA stated.

DARPA said that basis for GS3 emerged from previous research that looked at ways to improve the state of the art in exploring and understanding the potential applications of emerging science and technology, specifically by improving the quality and speed of analyses. The results of that study indicated that it may be possible to accelerate and improve science and technology analysis through the application of a well-structured and well-executed online discussion.

That study also described a platform composed of a unique combination of online gaming and social media technologies and techniques designed to facilitate productive interactions between knowledgeable individuals as they explore the possible applications of emerging science and technology. DARPA said that such a platform includes but is not limited to the following general attributes:

• A user system that supports 100s to 1000s of users

• A user communication system

• An interaction system that supports evidence-based analysis

• Gamification strategies that attract, maintain, encourage, and motivate the participants

• Interaction with participants on a variety of platforms, including mobile phones, tablets and desktop/laptop browsers

• A mechanism that allows participants to aggregate the evidence and analyses from other participants with their own to identify areas of significant current activity or collaboration opportunities

• Appropriate user management, security, data protection, and database infrastructure

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