Pentagon researching ‘narrative networks’ as way to hijack the brain with false stories
Mark Twain once tried to distinguish between the storyteller’s art and tales that a machine could generate. He observed that stringing “incongruities and absurdities together in a wandering and sometimes purposeless way, and seem innocently unaware that they are absurdities,” was the province of the American storyteller. A machine might imitate simple formulas behind yarns, but never quite master them.
The Pentagon’s freewheeling research arm is hoping to prove Twain wrong. Darpa is asking scientists to “take narratives and make them quantitatively analyzable in a rigorous, transparent and repeatable fashion.” The idea is to detect terrorists who have been indoctrinated by propaganda. Then, the Pentagon can respond with some messages of its own.
The program is called “Narrative Networks.” By understanding how stories have shaped your mind, the Pentagon hopes to sniff out who has fallen prey to dangerous ideas, a neuroscience researcher involved in the project tells Danger Room. With this knowledge, the military can also target groups vulnerable to terrorists’ recruiting tactics with its own counter-messaging.
“Stories are important in security contexts,” Darpa said in an Oct. 7 solicitation for research proposals. Stories “change the course of insurgencies, frame negotiations, play a role in political radicalization, influence the methods and goals of violent social movements.” The desire to study narratives has been simmering for a while in the Defense Department. A Darpa workshop in April to discuss the “neurobiology of narratives” added momentum to this project.
In the first 18-month phase of the program, the Pentagon wants researchers to study how stories infiltrate social networks and alter our brain circuits.
Forget lie detectors; invisible propaganda-detectors are the future.
(NaturalNews) If someone – or some government entity – were able to figure out the science behind what makes people violent, what do you suppose they would do with that knowledge? It’s a legitimate question, because the Pentagon is trying to find out.
According toa recent report by the BBC, the Defense Department appears to be looking for a way to hijack the mind so it can implant false, but believable, stories – a sort of “like me” weapon, if you will.
The Pentagon’sDefense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA – the division responsible for all of the Defense Department’s cutting-edge technology development – is said to be working on brand-new research that focuses on the neurobiology behind the political violence and, specifically, whether such violence can be mitigated before it even begins.
DARPA officials say the research is aimed at looking for ways to generate versions of events that would convince people not to support the enemy. The concept is calledNarrative Networks, andin an official solicitationthe agency says anyone who submits a proposal “to this effort will be expected to revolutionize the study of narratives and narrative influence by advancing narrative analysis and neuroscience so as to create new narrative influence sensors, doubling status quo capacity to forecast narrative influence.”
Not science fiction – just science
William Casebeer, the lead DARPA official for the project, said the concept seeks to “understand how narratives influence human thoughts and behavior, then apply those findings to a security context in order to address security challenges such as radicalization, violent social mobilization, insurgency and terrorism, and conflict prevention and resolution.”
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