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DARPA Uses Preteen Gamers To Beta Test Tomorrow's Military Software

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the panzer-naturally-speaking dept.

The Military 84

Daniel_Stuckey writes with a story about an interesting (or, you might think, creepy) institution at the University of Washington's Seattle campus. It's the Center for Game Science, a research lab that makes educational video games for children, and that received the bulk of its funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the wing of the U.S. Department of Defense that supports research into experimental military technology. Why is DARPA the original primary funder of the CGS? According to written and recorded statements from current and former DARPA program managers, as well as other government documents, the DARPA-funded educational video games developed at the CGS have a purpose beyond the pretense of teaching elementary school children STEM skills.

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Ender's Game (5, Insightful)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#47672357)

I knew it was real.

Watch the skies for the Bugs.

Re:Ender's Game (1)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#47673139)

Well, in "Ender's Game" the plan resulted in a wonderful victory for our side... It is a sad story because of the genocide of the enemy, but not because children's abilities were creatively used by the military.

Re:Ender's Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47673325)

That's only accurate if you ignore the cost incurred by the child-soldiers themselves, as elaborated even more in the subsequent books.

Re:Ender's Game (1)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#47673389)

That's only accurate if you ignore the cost incurred by the child-soldiers themselves, as elaborated even more in the subsequent books.

Compared to saving the human race that "cost" is a pebble in the Universe. For even if humanity prevailed through other means, it would have taken longer — meaning (much) higher losses and expenses. Many more children would've suffered the loss of their parents and older siblings, for example.

Re:Ender's Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47673881)

Does the end justify the means?

will it be ok to use children as lab rats in order to beat cancer? whose children ? yours? the US president children?
If we allow that, why stop there?
sometimes a highest sacrifice done by our own choice is worth more than a sort cut that may save more lives but ends costing our humanity

Re:Ender's Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47676413)

whose children ? yours?

Yes, yours. Definitely yours.

Re:Ender's Game (1)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#47680593)

Does the end justify the means?

Winning a war — especially that for your very survivaldoes justify risking the soldiers' well-being — and even lives.

Re:Ender's Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47681051)

You are forgetting that the entire war was based on flawed communication between the species.

Or that this was realized by the Bugs (or Buggers depending if you read Ender's Game before or after Starship Trooper owners decided to enforce their exclusivity to the term "Bug") even before Ender's Game takes place.

Re:Ender's Game (1)

DivineKnight (3763507) | about 4 months ago | (#47675553)

There will always be another war, another enemy; it seems that mankind keeps track of its history this way, from who we were at war with last, to whom we are currently at war with, and whom we will be at war with tomorrow.

Re:Ender's Game (1)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#47678675)

There will always be another war, another enemy

Aliens are remarkably hard to find, actually. Even in that Science Fiction book there was only one race encountered.

it seems that mankind keeps track of its history this way

Possibly. But that's irrelevant — unless you are arguing, humanity should punish its war-mongering self with suicide so that "better" species can develop and take over.

Re:Ender's Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47676043)

But did the human race needed saving? The point in Ender's Game, is that the 'enemy' was defeated after retreat, after centuries of non-hostile activity, and had but built defensive arms to protect themselves, or save themselves, which they failed, as the human race committed genocide under the pretense of a non-existing threat. It was revenge, disguised as being necessary.

Re:Ender's Game (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#47677803)

Are arguing from the book or the movie?

Re:Ender's Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47678589)

Sorry, but I seem to remember the series a little differently than that. I recall that it was not revenge, but survival that prompted the extermination of the buggers. That only through Ender's writing of the Hive Queen under the pseudonym Speaker for the Dead that humanity came to understand that they did not pose a threat. That they had not known at the time that the buggers posed no further threat to the species, since there was no way to communicate with the buggers.

Re:Ender's Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47683377)

That's only accurate if you ignore the cost incurred by the child-soldiers themselves, as elaborated even more in the subsequent books.

Compared to saving the human race that "cost" is a pebble in the Universe. For even if humanity prevailed through other means, it would have taken longer — meaning (much) higher losses and expenses. Many more children would've suffered the loss of their parents and older siblings, for example.

******Possible spoilers******
*
*
*
If you actually pay attention to what is happening in the movie/books, you will realise that due to the cultural differences (humans value every human life while the bugs value the queens above all else with the drones being seen as expendable) that the invasion and slaughter was a misunderstanding and that the bugs were attempting to communicate with Ender to end hostilities. Read "Speaker for the Dead" to find out more about what happened and what cost it put on Ender for the near total genocide that he performed.

Ender's Game (5, Funny)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 4 months ago | (#47672365)

Looks like the military picked up a copy of Ender's Game and assumed it was some kind of manual for how they should do things. Let's just hope they never find a copy of Neuromancer.

Re:Ender's Game (1)

Earthquake Retrofit (1372207) | about 4 months ago | (#47672449)

That's what my sister said. But I was thinking about Eli Wallace in Stargate Universe. I guess I have a more optimistic outlook.

Re:Ender's Game (1)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 4 months ago | (#47672511)

Actually, I'm reading Diamond Age right now and should've thought of that first.

Re:Ender's Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47673179)

Yeah, and look what happened to Eli.
 
First thing I thought of was "The Last Starfighter".
 
Now, everyone off my lawn.

Re:Ender's Game (1)

disposable60 (735022) | about 4 months ago | (#47672471)

Oddly, I was thinking of the Robin Williams opus _Toys_.

Re:Ender's Game (3, Interesting)

ZiakII (829432) | about 4 months ago | (#47672641)

Fun fact Ender's Game is actually on the USMC's commandant's reading list. [usmcu.edu]

Re:Ender's Game (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 4 months ago | (#47672963)

Well, the government did the same thing with 1984, so ...

Re:Ender's Game (1)

nerdonamotorcycle (710980) | about 4 months ago | (#47673091)

It seems like the US and UK governments have been using various works of dystopian fiction as how-to manuals for some time now. Blatantly, since 9/11, and probably for quite some while before.

Re:Ender's Game (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 4 months ago | (#47673295)

The world of Path from _Children of the Mind_ would also be a pretty bad follow-up.

Of course they get elementary kids to test it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47672377)

The average boot can't even tie his own shoelaces, much less add two plus two.

Not that strange (2)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 4 months ago | (#47672395)

boots don't have hands or fine motor skills.

The Last Starfighter (1)

doug (926) | about 4 months ago | (#47672385)

It looks like someone at DARPA just couldn't turn down the chance to be the next Centauri.

Re:The Last Starfighter (2)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | about 4 months ago | (#47672895)

You deserve extra points for not saying Ender's Game.

Re:The Last Starfighter (1)

doug (926) | about 4 months ago | (#47673021)

You deserve extra points for not saying Ender's Game.

The only thing that made me think of Ender's Game was the word "preteen". Using video games to train/recruit soldiers always makes me think of The Last Starfighter.

Re: The Last Starfighter (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 4 months ago | (#47673047)

Who wouldn't want six prehensile two meter long penises. For that I could live with the funny hairstyles.
Nevermind, I was thinking Babylon 5.

Re:The Last Starfighter (2)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 4 months ago | (#47673589)

There's trouble right here in the galaxy, Trouble with a capital T that doesn't rhyme with K that stands for Ko-Dan.

Ender's Game (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 4 months ago | (#47672389)

The only way this could've been closer is if the game they were developing was Starcraft, but they missed that window by about 16 years.

I want to play global thermonuclear war (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 4 months ago | (#47672431)

global thermonuclear war

Re:I want to play global thermonuclear war (2)

chinton (151403) | about 4 months ago | (#47673107)

how about a nice game of chess?

Re: I want to play global thermonuclear war (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47673451)

No let's play global thermonuclear war

FRIST P/SOT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47672437)

I loved the movie TOYs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47672461)

One of Robin's more somber serious ones.

1992, Toys (2)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 4 months ago | (#47672469)

Are we just trying to make reference to Robin Williams all week?

This is just yet another sign that the military saw the movie 'Toys' ... as if the whole drone program wasn't an obvious enough sign:

http://kotaku.com/5891256/wtpt... [kotaku.com]

seems to be the trend (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#47672527)

NSF has been shifting its funding away from CS research, and DARPA has been moving a bigger proportion of its funding from basic research to near-term applied research. As a result, there are more and more strings attached to research-grant money. Some kind of "dual-use" thing where you're doing the research you want to do, which DARPA also happens to be able to repurpose for its own uses, is if anything the best case. It's not that uncommon to just straight be working on whatever DARPA wants done.

makes sense (3, Insightful)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 4 months ago | (#47672557)

if you're going to increasingly recruit military from an under-class who have been left behind by the education system (and so have few other career options but to act as the enforcers of the state) you need to make sure the tech is comfortably within their technical grasp.

Re:makes sense (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 4 months ago | (#47672587)

maybe they can even fast-track some of the kids that excel and have them skip high-school and go straight to killer-drone-operator...cool! i just killed some more people!

Re:makes sense (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 4 months ago | (#47672625)

Does anyone else remember when "America's Army" came out, just before the Iraq 'war'? It was a free first person shooter, and a very advanced game (for the time). Coincidence? I think not...

Re:makes sense (1)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#47673425)

Does anyone else remember when "America's Army" came out, just before the Iraq 'war'? It was a free first person shooter, and a very advanced game (for the time). Coincidence? I think not...

Well, in that case, what is the meaning of the new game, where you shoot members of the Tea Party [breitbart.com] ? Celebration of tolerance? Respect for other people's opinions?

Please, don't hate.

Re:makes sense (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 4 months ago | (#47673629)

At the time that "America's Army" came out, most FPS's were only being sold for a high price, but 'AA' was a very playable, free to download (though large, for the time (100+MB) and solid 'game'. After a short time, America needed a volunteer army. After the fact, it makes a lot of sense why that game got distributed, from a military point of view.

Re:makes sense (1)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#47674603)

I see. Well, I wonder, if the "Battlefield Hardline" [breitbart.com] will be free/cheap too...

Re:makes sense (1)

quietwalker (969769) | about 4 months ago | (#47672727)

This was actually my first thought as well. You need a system that 8 year olds can navigate proficiently, because you're going to have a lot of folks in the army who don't have an education much past that, who will need to rely on these systems for their life, potentially while under fire. It has to be able to model complex scenarios and yet deliver it in a way that promotes clarity and simplicity.

I mean, what's the alternative? Make it complex and expect dullards will rise to the challenge, completely opposite of the results shown in their entire life history?

Basically, they're trying to make the ipod of computer teaching, so anyone can use it. Sorta the same, only the difficulty of the task is much, much higher.

Evaluating their research in this way is also valuable for the non-military applications of adaptive learning and UI design. As Southpark so aptly put it, "At least 25% of the US population is retarded." They're not all in the military. Besides, if what they're researching is mechanisms for adaptive teaching, a success could actually help reduce that number.

That's not to discount the commercial applications either. When I started work at the age of 16, at a movie theater, they expected that it would, for some reason, take 8 weeks for someone to learn how to use a cash register with the name of the item on the buttons, despite this being the sort of thing that should take little more than a cursory glance and a minute or two of experimentation. Then I realized that it's probably like that because they have to expect the lowest common denominator, and it's probably like that for many positions in most businesses. How much time and money could be saved by getting these LCD's trained faster? It's not just the company that benefits - you're increasing the value of the worker too, as they're eligible for a wider and more diverse set of jobs, even if they're an LCD.

Really, I think it's a great research goal with wide-reaching military, economic, and social applications, and see no problems whatsoever with evaluating it by having children use it. With the way computer- and remote- based teaching is going, we're going to need this sooner rather than later.

Re:makes sense (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 4 months ago | (#47672801)

while i grok you on the details, you seem to be on a very different wavelength on the motivations. using pre-teens to design weapons which can be run by people who otherwise could not harness the mental competence to do so on their own, also means that the operators themselves lack the ability to do anything other than follow the orders of their masters. kill ---- there. drone ------ there.

the more i think about it, the more i think the article should probably be re-titled 'DARPA Uses Tomorrow's Military Software to Indoctrinate Pre-Teens'. Every despot can tell you, if you get the youth to buy into your jive, and get them ready to fight for you.. you own tomorrow. In today's stage of warfare, having jingoistic pre-teen 'rifle-clubs' is passe'. Having pre-teen military video game clubs.. well, these are the goons of tomorrow.

Re:makes sense (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 4 months ago | (#47674013)

... you're going to have a lot of folks in the army who don't have an education much past that...

I don't know what the requirements are for enlistment now, but I do know that back when I was in the Navy ('Nam era) it was pretty much a given that everybody in the Navy had at least graduated from High School. Of course, back then, the Navy had the highest mental standards (and the Marines the lowest, although they did have the highest physical standard) and I don't know what the Army required. Now that there's no draft, I wouldn't be surprised to find that all branches required either a High School Diploma or GED. You might want to revise your image of soldiers as ignorant, functionally-illiterate thugs.

Re:makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47673217)

...if you're going to increasingly recruit military from an under-class who have been left behind by the education system...

Increasingly? The military is one of the few economic ladders left for the poor; unfortunately, our horrible education system is sabotaging that also.

What's the problem? (5, Insightful)

quietwalker (969769) | about 4 months ago | (#47672603)

This isn't some sort of military indoctrination, or child-warrior program.

They're evaluating adaptive learning software, doing UI/UX evaluations, and so on. Yes, DARPA's goals focus on future military application, but despite the comments above, they're not making this some sort of Ender's game scenario with 8 year old kids flying drones. These kids are playing games that are trying to teach them STEM skills, and doing so with a sort of machine-learning backing. So the kids are learning, they get to use cutting-edge software backed by a hefty financial contribution, and the end result could be a new way to provide computer-aided teaching.

So there's no need to cry, "Think of the children!" - they're doing fine.

It's also good to note that these concepts are not restricted to military applications. Take a quick look over DARPA's history - much less the history of military science in general - and you'll see a bunch of amazing creations that we use in our day to day lives. Like the internet, GPS or the continued funding and support for self-driving cars and autonomous robotics.

One caveat: I'm not saying that military funding, DARPA or otherwise, shouldn't be transparent and examined, but in this case, there's no problem other than people who can't demux 'military' with 'automatically bad'.

Re:What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47672685)

This isn't some sort of military indoctrination, or child-warrior program.

They're evaluating adaptive learning software, doing UI/UX evaluations, and so on. Yes, DARPA's goals focus on future military application, but despite the comments above, they're not making this some sort of Ender's game scenario with 8 year old kids flying drones.

Yeah, you're right. My bad. That's the job of Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, and Battlefield. The military will allow those games to do all the teaching. They'll just sit on the sidelines and consult about which map packs to build and deploy next.

Don't worry though, it's just a coincidence that the Baghdad map is due to be released next month as ISIS is rolling through Iraq...

Re:What's the problem? (1)

LduN (3754243) | about 4 months ago | (#47672725)

But think of the children... at the very least we need the NSA to monitor 100% of everything going on with the kids when they are out of this federally funded testing site.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

LduN (3754243) | about 4 months ago | (#47672749)

Forgot to mention that they also need to monitor closely all those "relevant" to the children... you know from immediate family to those people that happen to have possibly glimpsed the child on their drive/walk.

Re:What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47672891)

From TFA:

“The Training Superiority program,” the line item description reads, “will change the paradigm for military training.” Traditional, passive teaching approaches are no longer sufficient in the modern battlefield, it goes on, as more is demanded of fewer soldiers, who must become proficient in controlling and interacting with complex unmanned systems.

There is nothing more difficult to take
in hand, more perilous to conduct, or
more uncertain in its success, than to
take the lead in the introduction of a
new order of things.
-
Niccolo Machiavelli

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47672947)

Yeah isn't it great? The amazing things we build today to go bomb innocent women and children in the third world are used tomorrow to indoctrinate our own citizens to stand behind government and cheer them on in doing it.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 4 months ago | (#47673013)

Rather than defend the X number of kids who 'are learning'... how about devote the same dollar resources to the actual broken national public education system and create 1,000,000X kids who are learning? im sick of the fallacious argument of 'well, if not for military funding, we wouldn't have X, Y, or Z wonderful science!' It falsely presumes that human beings need war as a motivating factor to devote resources toward technological betterment, and that there would not have otherwise been any progress.
to take anything that even smells of MIC (with the propensity to shapes young minds) without a pound of salt is to be willfully ignorant of the fact patterns of the last 50 years.

Re:What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47673269)

Like it or not, competition (in all forms, including war) is a powerful motivator to develop technology. The first spear was just as likely used by a human ancestor to kill another of that kind rather than an animal for food. You fantasy world of peace, rainbows, and unicorns is exactly that - a fantasy.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 4 months ago | (#47673539)

who said anything about peace, rainbows and unicorns? or having qualms with competition? and what sort of nonsense is this about you understanding the use of the first spear? talk about delusional... and if you best logical defense is to paint my argument as an extreme version of something it is not, well.. then it makes sense you post as an AC.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 4 months ago | (#47673097)

Or it could be they're testing the next-generation of UIs so when those children grow up to be of serving age, they can easily sit down and use them in war.

They're children now, and will take at least a decade before something real comes out. That's about long enough to take the DARPA research stuff and implement in military hardware so by the time the children hit 18, it's ready.

DARPA is research, and it can take many years to commercialize the research. Being military related, well, a decade is probably the minimum amount of time it'll take.

Or it can be perfectly innocent research into human-computer-interactions, especially between military hardware and their drivers.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 4 months ago | (#47673115)

they're not making this some sort of Ender's game scenario with 8 year old kids flying drones

No, but they can use what they learn about 8-year-old kids to best adapt methods for 18-year-old kids.

Just ask any insurance actuary when humans mature mentally - for men it's about 25 (women earlier but one cannot have "sexist" policies in the US, damn the data).

Raise the age of majority and enlistment to 25 and they'd have to reinstitute a draft to fight wars like Iraq, Yemen, and Libya. Kids sign up eagerly - mature men not so much unless there's an actual threat to the country.

Politicians could never allow such a thing to happen in a warfare/welfare state, but let's at least be honest about what the status quo actually looks like. If Somali warlords are criminals for conscripting 15 year olds and handing them an AK and putting them out to get shot in wars they don't understand, the morality does not change just because a piece of paper says "18" is a magic number and tricking them into enlisting with future promises of riches ("we'll see what we can do about getting you assigned to a helicopter unit with technician training so you get a good-paying job when you get out") and then handing them an M16 and putting them out to get shot in wars they do not understand. Replace magic with science and the balance changes quite dramatically.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 4 months ago | (#47673271)

quietwalker, you are treading dangerous waters. If you talk sense here, people won't be sure if you're on their side or not, and then they won't know whether to mod you up or down. Look at the other replies to your comment...they've got you practically eating babies already. Stop making sense and expecting people to think. I find it's best to make jokes.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 4 months ago | (#47673487)

So the kids are learning, they get to use cutting-edge software backed by a hefty financial contribution, and the end result could be a new way to provide computer-aided teaching.

I was thinking first having kids learn about finances so they learn at early age the basics instead of becoming like many adults burden with debt from misuse of credit cards and borrowing plans. But that's another topic.

Getting back to this topic, I haven't seen the movie or read the book but I looked up Enders' Game to see what reference was. It seems creepy the parallels. Perhaps my Gripe of the Month is so much value is placed on warfare but I guess that's were progress is made. i.e. computers, internet, DARPA are all war department driven. While our economy tanks because most never got basic financial education, now there's war brewing in Ukraine and Middle East I guess emphasis is raising children to deal with it.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47674577)

The replies to you are hilarious. Too many Slashdot trolls think military = kill people.

While the military's primary role is the application of force in the nation's interests, they also do quite a lot in other areas. Medical/dental training, engineering, disaster relief, organizational management, trade skills such as welding, pipe fitting, electrical work, machine operations, are all things the military relies on heavily, all of which require training. They are exploring methods to find ways to encourage new forms of training that might reduce cost and increase the effectiveness of the training programs.

And like most DARPA projects, these things have amazing uses when translated to the civilian world. You mentioned quite a few of those; imagine how much better later generations of students would be with enhanced training run by public schools? Imagine if everything you knew by the time you graduated high school, you knew by the time you graduated 5th grade; what if we could enhance education so what you learn as an undergrad suddenly becomes standard high school curriculum?

The other weird thing in this article is the questioning of funding from the Department of Education. There is nothing in the Department of Education's funding initiatives that even comes close to an advanced education/gaming program. Far out studies like this is DARPA's mission; the DoEd doesn't really do this kind of thing:

http://www.grants.gov/search-grants.html?agencies%3DED%7CDepartment%20of%20Education

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47675323)

The military relies almost exclusively on private companies for technology development not DARPA. The military also brought some teenagers in to evaluate and offer suggestions for the F-22.cockpit control layouts. The teenagers were given very little knowledge of the systems involved and part of the testing and evaluations was to see how long it would take to intuitively understand the functionality by themselves. On average the testers pretty much figured every thing out in about 30 minutes and started making suggestions.

Hint... (1)

chinton (151403) | about 4 months ago | (#47672669)

Gouge out the Giant's eyes...

Re: Hint... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47672721)

Pick ussr when asked what side

Greetings, Starfighter. (1)

dane23 (135106) | about 4 months ago | (#47672867)

You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan armada

Re:Greetings, Starfighter. (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | about 4 months ago | (#47672949)

Listen, Centauri. I'm not any of those guys, I'm a kid from a trailer park.

Oh neat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47672877)

A common reference tool from which to examine the neural activity associated with planning and sequencing by means of radio-based BCI...

Nice to see you guys are still experimenting on US kids...

Coincidental that Robin Williams recently died... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47672931)

...because this is basically just the movie Toys (also starring Joan Cusack and LL Cool J. Yeah, now I've got your interest.) where military bigwigs hijack a toy company to make games where real kids pilot drone copters and tanks that really blow stuff up. The movie wasn't even really science fiction, but now it's real science sans the fiction.

This is just like that movie (1)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | about 4 months ago | (#47672941)

where children fight wars for adults like it was some kind of video game..... I think it was called Star Wars - Episode I.

Why stop at software? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47672943)

Use them to test weapons. As targets.

Toy story (1)

wolfguru (913659) | about 4 months ago | (#47673297)

Wasn't this the major plot line of the movie Toys?

Re:Toy story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47673939)

at last someone who reminds this one

DARPA wanted kids to design drones (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | about 4 months ago | (#47673399)

A while back DARPA had the Adaptive Vehicle Make(AVM) project which was to combat the exponentially growing cost of military hardware development by implementing an opensource hardware hackerspace/fablab style model(with more buzzwords than I desire to recall).

Part of this project was MENTOR(another huge acronym), which was going to set up schools with their own makerspaces and have students "compete against one another in the development of cyber-electro-mechanical systems of moderate complexity such as go carts, mobile robots, small unmanned aircraft, etc."

However, the official goal of the program really was to "to teach the principles of model-based design and distributed foundry-style manufacturing to build a next-generation cadre of manufacturing innovators."

Which is a laudable goal and probably does more to defend our country than designing a new tank or fighter jet.

And honestly, how awesome would it be to bring back shop class and modernize it?

Unfortunately, it was never moved beyond a pilot program when AVM got cancelled for it being redundant with Obama's manufacturing initiative.

reminds me of the movie "toys"... (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47673417)

throw kids in front of some machines and see if they can run the war...

What an oddly written article (1)

GenaTrius (3644889) | about 4 months ago | (#47673997)

The first part of the linked article basically seems to imply that the military is developing games that covertly brainwash kids into soldiers. DARPA has no reason to fund anything like that. We're Americans, our culture does that for free!

Two thirds of the way through, it dispenses with that unstated pretext and makes itself about the military and Federal government's overreach into American educational institutions, which is an excellent point that I can get behind. I wish the author had dispensed with the conspiracy theory undertones and gotten to the point from the get-go.

DARPA wants a better way to train soldiers, so it went to this CGS place to develop advanced tutoring algorithms. Since these algorithms have a wide variety of use-cases and CGS is more used to working with kids than soldiers, they developed them around teaching STEM skills to kids. That's dubious in a "this should be funded by a different branch of the government" kind of way, but it's not Ender's Game, it's not the SPARTAN program, and it's not Polybius. I'm not saying our government would never, ever do anything like that, but that's not what's happening here.

Sieg Hall? (1)

phorm (591458) | about 4 months ago | (#47674037)

Wow... that's so close to something else [wiktionary.org] at first I thought the name was a joke... given the context where "Sieg Heil" was popularly used...

Re:Sieg Hall? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 months ago | (#47674409)

Yes wow :)
As for the need to pull young people in your getting close to Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
Paramilitary group as with Hitler Youth https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
The "military training contexts" as mentioned seems to stand out long term, as with the desperate drive for more basic quality science and math and beyond.
The UK seem to have consider the same need for science and to build the ranks of its gov and private sectors with:
GCHQ staff teach 'future spies' in schools (09 March 11)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobi... [bbc.co.uk]
The most basic question is why dont they all just pump cash into selective normal academic school funding as is, no questions in the press, test, guide, fund, suggest or scholarship out as needed?
Why the need now for a generation rush to push of "military training contexts" in wider public education? Whats missing or not working now? What is so needed in a few years for an entire generation?

Beavis and Butthead (Drones) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47674707)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEPYr6Pxbfg

US Army - Enders Game Meets 3d Printing (1)

vair65 (3778135) | about 4 months ago | (#47695053)

"The US Army is looking to design things based on thousands of soldiers playing video games and lego-blocking up designs. When they figure out what works best in the game, they 3d print the thing. http://www.dau.mil/publication... [dau.mil]
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