Pentagon Seeking Social Networking Help

I ran across this blog post in the New York Times and thought it was pretty interesting. The Pentagon has put out a call for assistance with using social media to monitor political unrest and “the spread of ideas.” Proposals can apply for funding to the tune of $42 million dollars.

As social media play increasingly large roles in fomenting unrest in countries like Egypt and Iran, the military wants systems to be able to detect and track the spread of ideas both quickly and on a broad scale. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is soliciting innovative proposals to help build what would be, at its most basic level, an Internet meme tracker.

It would be useful to know, for instance, whether signs of widespread rebellion were authentic or whether they were being created by a fringe group with little real support. Among the tools the successful seeker of government funding might choose to employ: linguistic cues, patterns of information flow, topic trend analysis,

Read the entire article here: Pentagon Seeks a Few Good Social Networkers.

I’m curious about how will they turn all this data into accurate predictions. What do you think? Is this an innovative use of social media or kind of creepy and Big Brother-ish?

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