No It’s Not A Giant Pushpin, It’s DARPA

The Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is going social or experimenting social rather.  This past weekend the agency that brought us stealth technology and anti-submarine technology launched an experiment called “The Grand Challenge“.  From 10am to 4pm DARPA launched giant, 8 foot circumference balloons tethered to long ropes and visible from major roads.

The purpose of this experiment was to see how fast and how accurate information would spread to the teams that competed.  For 6 hours teams monitored social media powerhouses such as Twitter and Facebook to hone in on the exact locations of the balloons.  Teams were offering up to $3,000 to social media strangers who could point them in the right direction in hopes of taking home the $40,000 grand prize. 

Why is this important?  well for one it measures how fast “relevant” information can spread across the Web via complete strangers and according to DARPA

“will explore the roles the Internet and social networking play in the timely communication, wide-area team-building, and urgent mobilization required to solve broad-scope, time-critical problems.”

It is a very interesting path for the Agency and only makes you wonder, what can this mean for us?

Herefish Colophon