May 13, 2003 1:14 PM   Subscribe

DARPA looking for proposals to create the Matrix. "The Information Processing Technology Office (IPTO) of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is soliciting proposals to develop an ontology-based (sub)system that captures, stores, and makes accessible the flow of one person’s experience in and interactions with the world in order to support a broad spectrum of associates/assistants and other system capabilities. The objective of this "LifeLog" concept is to be able to trace the "threads" of an individual's life in terms of events, states, and relationships. "
posted by bendybendy (14 comments total)
events happen, which alter my state, which impacts my relationships. any questions DARPA?
posted by quonsar at 1:35 PM on May 13, 2003

er... so a really advanced diary has what in common with an immersive virtual reality system convincing enough to be taken for actual reality?
posted by badstone at 1:46 PM on May 13, 2003

i think the point is that any diary sufficiently advanced to be able to model a person's life in enough resolution to trace threads of events/states/relationships in an individual's life might as well (in terms of complexity) be modelling the system which causes those events/states/relationships (ie the world).
posted by juv3nal at 1:52 PM on May 13, 2003

Exactly. If you can document and trace the events and influences in a person's life, then you can make logical predictions about the future of that person's life: the "diary" goes from being a record of to a predictor of behavior.

There's just one problem (luckily): people are irrational, illogical, and from time to time go nuts, have mid-life crises, and do the unexpected.
posted by Asparagirl at 2:21 PM on May 13, 2003

If it could extract any kind of pattern from my life and tell me what I was really doing, that would be cool ... hell, if it would tell me how to tidy up my desk, that would be enough.
posted by carter at 2:43 PM on May 13, 2003

Didn't David Gelertner already come up with a similar system called "Lifestream"?
posted by Spacelegoman at 2:49 PM on May 13, 2003

Throw away anything you don't need.
Put the things you need in a place where they are easy to find but out of sight.
Wash the coffee-mugs.

That wasn't so hard.
posted by spazzm at 2:50 PM on May 13, 2003

Man, DARPA is evil. These are the same people that are creating the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program. Pretty soon they'll just start anal probing us.
posted by spork at 3:10 PM on May 13, 2003

DARPA thinks it wants the personal panopticon, but all it really wants is a copy of "The Sims."
posted by allaboutgeorge at 3:14 PM on May 13, 2003

spazzm - it all sounds so beautifully simple - but - I don't know what I need or don't need - and how can I put things somewhere else when all the surfaces and the floor are already covered with piles of paper?

*drops head to keyboard and starts sobbing quietly; glancing sideways, notices a precariously balanced coffee cup has been there for quite a while now*
posted by carter at 4:28 PM on May 13, 2003

I hate fucking DARPA. I bet it was them there bastards that made that Internet thing. You know, the one they spy on us with?
posted by armoured-ant at 4:52 PM on May 13, 2003

Right, rather than surveillance, a more likely end result could potentially be 'smart' soldiers, whose movements are monitored across many dimensions in real time, with this information being processed and analysed, and tactical instructions returned, also in real time. I know they mention a range of other scenarios - helping people to work/communicate together, building better AI for game characters, etc., but I can see the augmented grunt being a real selling point. The engineering however is horrendous - multiple real time channels of very noisy information, that have to be filtered and parsed (through what?) on the fly, that have to have metadata (designed by who?) attached to them, before they are analysed? It's probably OK with the GPS-in-the-heel-of-the-shoe datastream, but even a simple conversation would be very difficult to turn into predictive data.

However, I guess fifty years ago Vanevar Bush's predictions of the MEMEX seemed similarly far-fetched: store hundreds of thousands of documents in a desk - the information in an encyclopedia reduced to the size of a stamp - the ability to look up and link any document at will on a built in screen? Get outta here! (P.S. Nice link, bendybendy)
posted by carter at 5:44 PM on May 13, 2003

Thanks carter (and armoured-ant.) If I had a point, that was it- if anyone has the means to record at the granularity of life it would be the US Government. Why they're interested in doing so is may or may not be ominous. It's pretty amazing that they think it's feasible enough to solicit bids.

Your point about the metadata is interesting- I'd think that that is the real challenge- how could it be anything but subjective?
posted by bendybendy at 3:48 AM on May 14, 2003

Will there be a spoon in this one?
posted by nofundy at 4:47 AM on May 14, 2003

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