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November 30, 2004

The Pentagon's "Cambrian program"

Andrew Parker, who has been discussed on this blog before, has been recruited, along with "all manner of political and military figureheads, as well as defence analysts, computer programmers, tacticians and statisticians," by the British Ministry of Defense to develop a piece of software that will use "evolutionary theory to predict possible threats and outcomes," and has been dubbed the "Cambrian program." He also reports that Tony Tether at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA, lots of neat stuff on their site, btw) here in the U.S. is working on a similar program.

The program will work along the same lines as computer programs already used to recreate the evolutionary paths of different species. The programs take data from thousands of different fossils and use artificial neural networks and so-called genetic algorithms to piece together how different species evolved. The Cambrian program will follow suit, only instead of processing fossil data, it will eventually be fed information on the state of our society. Data on the way we travel, the way we use energy and water, our postal services and internet traffic, will be processed alongside information on the availability of weapons, chemicals, radioactive material, and so on. It will then attempt to use the data to piece together possible threats that could emerge in the future.

This is basically the only thing out there on it that I can find and DARPA hasn't posted anything on their program yet... but it sounds sweet to me! The rest of the article is quite good, as well, so check it out!

Posted by Arcane at 03:37 PM