A coworker wrote me today to say that the DARPA Information Awareness Office‘s logo is certainly funny, but did I read the vision statement? Uh, no, not really. Gotta say, it lost me after the first couple lines:

The most serious asymmetric threat facing the United States is terrorism, a threat characterized by collections of people loosely organized in shadowy networks that are difficult to identify and define. IAO plans to develop technology that will allow understanding of the intent of these networks, their plans, and potentially define opportunities for disrupting or eliminating the threats.

Blah, blah, blah. The whole site reads like that. Sigh.

Among the technologies they plan to develop or work with I noticed:

  • Collaboration and sharing over TCP/IP networks across agency boundaries
  • Large, distributed repositories with dynamic schemas that can be changed interactively by users
  • Foreign language machine translation and speech recognition

Yeah, okay, whatever. Hm, “Biometric signatures of humans” — a little creepy, but hardly unexpected.

There I stopped. Had I continued reading, I might have spotted these gems:

  • Structured argumentation and evidential reasoning
  • Story telling, change detection, and truth maintenance

Stop laughing. I’m serious, it’s there. Don’t believe me? Go see for yourself.

Structured argumentation and evidential reasoning? Useful technologies, to be sure. Man oh man, have I been waiting for those. Bet they’re classified. George Bush certainly doesn’t seem to have access to them.

Story telling? wtf? And what on earth is “truth maintenance”?

Clearly this site deserves more exploration.