Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cool: A wisdom of crowds approach to the Somali Pirates

One of my favorite books is Wisdom of Crowds.  A main messages of the book is that large groups of fairly average people can, in some circumstances, make better decisions that a few "experts." 

The Navy is taking a Wisdom of Crowds approach to sloving the problem of Somali Pirates.  Navy Taps the Crowdsourcing Power of Online Gaming to Fight Somali Pirates shares this new program:

The Office of Naval Research is seeking fresh tactics for fighting the problem of Somali piracy, and it is turning to the defense community via an increasingly common tool for crowd sourcing tactical advice: a video game. ONR’s Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet (MMOWGLI) exercise will gather more than 1,000 players into a three-week scenario where they’ll deal with the complex nature of a changing and evolving threat.

It’s safe to say MMOWGLI won’t look like a massive multiplayer round of Black Ops or Counter Strike. ONR isn’t looking for players that are particularly adept at collecting frags with a virtual rifle, but rather for minds from academia, the defense industry, government organizations and other defense- and naval-related fields that might produce solutions to a set of difficult problems. Like how to defend a growing swath of a major shipping lane from determined bandits in small, fast boats.

This is pretty cool.  I wonder what ideas will come up.

If you have some ideas, or would like to evaluate other people's ideas, it looks like you can register at here.

Hat tip: Instapundit


Jehu said...

Or they could just ask, What would the Royal Navy circa 1820-1880 do? I bet a group of naval reenactors with 1870s ships and 1870s rules of engagement could solve the problem pretty darned quick. Frankly, probably even 1850s ships and ROE would be more than sufficient.

Henry Cate said...

I think 150 years ago the Royal Navy would have just conquered Somali.

That would have solved the problem.

I wonder if this exercise will come up with some useful ideas that our leaders will be willing to implement.