Well, well, well. I bet that you, person of the internet, never thought that your ability to spot a clever meme worthy of viral immortality from 18 browser windows away would amount to something useful in the real world, did you? You probably thought all along that all that time you’ve wasted reading Uproxx wouldn’t pay dividends, that it’d hold you back even. Well, were you ever wrong!
Son, you should drop to your knees and thanks us — and give me twenty while you’re at it — because we’ve been preparing you for the moment your country needs you, which, apparently, is now. Specifically, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) needs you, so I guess the question you need to ask yourself is: “Am I ready to serve my country?” And the answer better be, “HELL YES!”
Reports the New York Times:
As social media play increasingly large roles in fomenting unrest in countries like Egypt and Iran, the military wants systems to be able to detect and track the spread of ideas both quickly and on a broad scale. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is soliciting innovative proposals to help build what would be, at its most basic level, an Internet meme tracker.
It would be useful to know, for instance, whether signs of widespread rebellion were authentic or whether they were being created by a fringe group with little real support. Among the tools the successful seeker of government funding might choose to employ: linguistic cues, patterns of information flow, topic trend analysis, sentiment detection and opinion mining.
So, in other words, the government needs someone to create something that can tell them whether a person photoshopping a set of devil horns on the president’s head is all in good fun, or possibly a malicious act intended to incite rebellion — which is something the U.S. government has strategically managed to avoid in recent years.
You will never convince me that the things the internet did to that iconic White House Situation room photo didn’t play a part in all this. NEVER.