Military Embedded Systems

DARPA launches Gamifying the Search for Strategic Surprise program


December 05, 2016

Mariana Iriarte

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

DARPA launches Gamifying the Search for Strategic Surprise program
Photo by DARPA

ARLINGTON, Va. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) officials are launching Gamifying the Search for Strategic Surprise (GS3) program, which aims to apply a combination of online game and social media technologies and techniques to engage a large number of experts and deep thinkers in a shared analytic process to rapidly identify, understand, and expand upon the potential implications and applications of emerging science and technology.

The program was created to meet today's national security challenges that are increasingly complex and multi-dimensional. It will also develop a mechanism to identify and quickly fund research opportunities that emerge from this collaborative process.

“To succeed, DARPA must always have one foot in the future, and assessing emerging science and technology is part of that process,” says John Main, a program manager in DARPA's Defense Sciences Office. “With GS3 we hope to accomplish this analysis, including the exploratory stages of research and development, substantially faster and better by creating a dynamic environment where insights from a variety of individuals can reveal unexpected opportunities.”

Officials explain, the first step in the program will be to create a new gaming platform designed to serve as a digital crucible where ideas and insights from a wide range of disciplines can be iterated upon by individuals and teams with equally diverse backgrounds and expertise. After a period of development and testing by an inaugural group of invited players, the platform will be opened to the public to attack a variety of problems relevant to DARPA’s mission of preventing technological surprise.

The ultimate goal is for the Agency to fund some of the emerging ideas from this program. DARPA officials are currently seeking proposals to design an online platform that would incorporate gamification strategies for this new purpose. A Special Notice soliciting proposals was posted on FedBizOpps:


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