DARPA wants you to play a game
Ask any computer security specialist, and they’ll tell you it’s tough to stay ahead of the bad guys when it comes to keeping your systems up to date. Hacking groups like Anonymous love to break into computer networks just to show how vulnerable they are. The Pentagon knows this too, and it has come up with a plan to help combat the bad guys: video games. The Pentagon’s brain trust, the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA), submitted a plan that would use video games to crowdsource players and find errors in weapons systems. The trick for DARPA is coming up with games and puzzles that (A) people will want to play and (B) don’t give away our deepest, most highly-guarded military secrets and lead our country into despair, destruction, and end life as we know it. Sorry… went off the rails there for a minute.
As weapons systems have become complex, the military’s methods for verifying that the software running on them is glitch-free and secure against hackers has fallen short. Formal verification is the process analysts use, through the application of mathematical theories, to determine if software code is free from bugs. Crowdsourcing this complicated task would help the Pentagon cut costs while it grapples with a shortage of computer security specialists.
There’s no time-frame for when the games will actually be released. DARPA is in the idea phase right now. After that comes testing with robots. And if the robots say a game is OK, then they moves into the Matthew Broderick phase and us humans get a crack at ‘em.
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