Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Mirror Worlds

Now this is really something to both fascinate and worry us (if it goes ahead!) - it is about the US military creating an alternate 'simulation' world to ultimately include all six-billion nodes (thats us - 'people') in order to model future events, responses to disasters, wars, etc:

The DOD is developing a parallel to Planet Earth, with billions of individual "nodes" to reflect every man, woman, and child this side of the dividing line between reality and AR. Called the Sentient World Simulation (SWS), it will be a "synthetic mirror of the real world with automated continuous calibration with respect to current real-world information", according to a concept paper for the project.

"SWS provides an environment for testing Psychological Operations (PSYOP)," the paper reads, so that military leaders can "develop and test multiple courses of action to anticipate and shape behaviors of adversaries, neutrals, and partners".

To accomplish this simulation, the DoD will have to cross some serious privacy concerns, especially as:

Alok Chaturvedi wants SWS to match every person on the planet, one-to-one...Chaturvedi insists his goal for SWS is to have a depersonalised likeness for each individual, rather than an immediately identifiable duplicate. If your town census records your birthdate, job title, and whether you own a dog, SWS will generate what Chaturvedi calls a "like someone" with the same stats, but not the same name.

Of course, government agencies and corporations can add to SWS whatever personally-identifiable information they choose from their own databases, and for their own purposes. And with consumers already giving up their personal information regularly to websites such as MySpace and Twitter, it is not a stretch to imagine SWS doing the same thing.

Maybe you remember a book that came out in 1991 called 'Mirror Worlds, Or, the Day Software Puts the Universe in a Shoebox...: How It Will Happen and What It Will Mean' by David Gelernter... back then everyone thought it was a fantasy........


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