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US military offers $40,000 challenge to internet users
For most of us, social networking sites are just for fun - checking what our friends are doing, organising our weekends or playing games when the boss is not looking. But the stakes for users of sites like Facebook and Twitter are set to increase dramatically tomorrow, as the US government launches a competition that offers cunning web users the chance to win thousands of dollars.
In a nine-day challenge run by Darpa, the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, members of the public are being offered a grand prize of $40,000 if they successfully use the internet and social networks to track down a series of balloons hidden across America.
...find out more about how large-scale problems can be solved by using the net and social networks to enhance "timely communication, wide-area team building and urgent mobilization".
The idea is that through observing how the various groups attempting the task fare, the organization will learn a significant amount about the way computer systems and popular websites can be used to harness collective intelligence.