The Pentagon’s ultimate team of technologists is looking to breach the cultural divide in Afghanistan — with storytelling, pantomime, and the Wizard of Oz.
After nine years of conflict, the U.S. military is still having trouble finding common ground with warzone locals and Darpa plans to fill that gap through interactive stories. The stories are part of a larger Defense Department push to get smarter about the battlefield’s “human terrain.”
To come up with its story-telling tools, Darpa’s Information Processing Technologies Office is hoping to go beyond its usual cadre of neuroscientists, artificial intelligence specialists, and gadgeteers. The agency also wants contributions from “art, literature, film, dance, games development, advertising and public relations, advertising, grass roots organizing, collective decision making or any other discipline for which the respondent can make an argument that the approach bears on this task.
The “Negotiate Across Cultures” project “will use a ‘Wizard of Oz’ approach” to illustrate how each approach to problem negotiation would operate within a specific socio-cultural environment.