Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's Okay, Sir; I'm From The Internet

Are you any good at games with guns? Okay, great. Now how are you at the non-shooting parts of those games? The tactical aspects?

Also, how good are you at tweeting? That's kind of key.

If you're good at all of that, the Office of Naval Research has a favor to ask: would you be willing to help with their ongoing Somali piracy problem.

Meet MMOWGLI: Massive Multiplayer Online WarGame Leveraging the Internet. What the Navy is looking for is basically brainstorming. They want you to answer two things: what new resources could improve matters on the Navy's end, and what new risks could pop up that make things tougher or change the landscape. From there, it's your basic peer-voting contest.

Aside from a brainstorming session, the Navy is looking to see whether MMOWGLI is actually going to generate anything usable or whether it'll just be a bunch of people asking if the Navy will get ninjas to fight the pirates and asking if the Navy can has cheezburger. Probably in an effort to weed out the lolcats, they're limiting the participant pool to 1,000 players. If it works out, the concept could easily be applied to other problems.

Considering that you have to answer each question in relation to solving a very complicated problem in the space of a tweet, I'm betting the usefulness may be limited a bit. (That's why I use Twitter on the order of once every couple months: if I have a thought, it's almost certainly going to come in over 140 characters.) But if you think you can make hay of it, head over, register and see if you get in.

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