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The DARPA program, titled "Narrative Networks," bases itself on the idea that human brains physically change so as to fit new information into coherent narratives. To date, there has been some research that shows people of different political leanings have brains that function differently, but this program will take this concept further and deeper than ever before. DARPA plans to not only figure out why hearing or reading a particular story may change someone's life, but also plans on developing sensors that can scan people's brains to identify those changes.
Narrative Networks will unfold in two phases. The first will analyze the problem and attempt to forge connections between neurology researchers, computer engineers and social scientists. The second phase will attempt to transform that research into useful programs that military and civilian policymakers can train on social problems like insurgencies.
Once DARPA's scientists figure out how stories change our brains, they plan on developing ways to measure those changes. Basically, the Defense Department wants a sensor that can tell whether or not someone stopped at a checkpoint has been influenced by radical or violent stories.
A robot that can tell whether or not you've had an emotional reaction to a book? Forget those drones, this is the kind of out-there fringe science we've come to expect from DARPA.
“Potent memes can change minds, alter behavior, catalyze collective mindshifts and transform cultures. Which is why meme warfare has become the geopolitical battle of our information age. Whoever has the memes has the power.”–Kalle Lasn