Cybersecurity

By Ben Bain

Blog archive

Can virtual worlds create better spies?

Previously, an entry in this blog explained that the agency that conducts research for intelligence agencies is interested in learning how  people's performance in a virtual world or game can affect their abilities in real life.

The agency, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA), is interested in focused, quantitative research on how gaming and virtual world immersion could boost problem-solving skills, critical thinking, teamwork and persistence, according to a request for information (RFI) from that organization released in March. IARPA does research for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

In the request, IARPA said studies show that immersive environments can affect real world performance, but the agency said much of that previous research has focused on case studies and gross-level effects.

So why are intelligence agencies interested in research on games and avatars?

In an e-mail message response to follow up questions from Federal Computer Week about the possible research, ODNI said if features of virtual environments that contribute to enhanced real-world performance are identified, intelligence agencies may be able to develop environments to improve training or provide support for analysts.

A researcher could alter the fidelity of a virtual environment to determine what is “good enough,” or a researcher might test different story narratives of virtual games to determine if they have a real-world effect, ODNI said.

“Most prior research has looked at gross level, short term effects. We are interested in measuring the effects of methods using [virtual environments] as compared to [non-virtual environments]," ODNI said. "What aspects or features of the virtual environments contribute to the real world effect? Can we measure the persistence of these effects for a week, a month, or a year? These are the sorts of metrics that we are interested in,"

Responses to the RFI are due April 12.

Posted by Ben Bain on Apr 05, 2010 at 12:12 PM


FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group