Darpa Plan: Turn Warzone Data into Simple Stories
Drone feeds, informant tips, news reports, captured phone calls — sometimes, a battlefield commander gets so much information, it’s hard to make sense of it all. So the Pentagon’s far out research arm, Darpa, is looking to distill all that data into "a form that is more suitable for human consumption." Namely, a story.
The author of this tale, however, would be a series of intelligent algorithms that can pull all of this information together, tease out its underlying meanings, and put it in a narrative that’s easy to follow.
"Like people," Darpa notes in a request for information, such a story-telling system would be able to "retrieve and reuse stories to construct an appropriate interpretation of events, not because the stories have the most detail, but because they convey the aspects of a situation that are most important in determining a decision."
If it works, Darpa hopes to have this Experience-based Narrative Memory (EN-Mem) system make "complex situations… simple, understandable, and solvable." To pull it off, however, researchers will have to make big leaps in understanding how people interpret, store, and reuse information — and then program computers to learn those same lessons. No wonder En-Mem is being pushed by Darpa’s Information Processing Technology Office — the gang that’s pushing for honest-to-God artificial intelligence.
Making sense of a complex situation is like understanding a story; one must construct, impose and extract an interpretation. This interpretation weaves a commonly understood narrative into the information in a way that captures the basic interactions of characters and the dynamics of their motivations while filling in details not explicitly mentioned in the input stream. It uses story lines with which we all have experience as analogies, and it simplifies the detail in order to communicate the crucial aspects of a situation. The story lines it uses are those the decision maker should be reminded of, because they are similar to the current situation based upon what the decision maker is trying to do.
En-Mem story starts in February, with a workshop to review the current state of cognitive science and artificial intelligence research.
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Saturday, May 28, 2011
Darpa Plan: Turn Warzone Data into Simple Stories | Danger Room | Wired.com