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Problem solving, or…

…how the mind works. The following is from a discussion of the impact of “Information Age processes” on the decision making process in the new DoD Command and Control Research Program (CCRP) publication, Power to the Edge (.pdf).

Rather than rely on individual genius, Information Age processes tap collective knowledge and collaboration. Examples of the power and promise of such an approach already abound. In 2001, Microsoft launched a Web-based game to promote the Spielberg film “A.I.” The content of the game was scattered across the entire Internet, and the challenges built into the game required knowledge of “everything from Photoshop to Greek mythology, 3D sculpting, molecular biology, computer coding, and lute tablature.” The puzzles were meant to be so demanding that no individual could possibly complete them all. But immediately after the discovery of the game on the Web, teams of curious players developed organically across the country. Working together, their combined knowledge allowed them to complete the first 3 months’ worth of game content in only 1 day.*

Power to the Edge (.pdf) is a kind of follow up to the 1999 CCRP publication Network Centric Warfare (.pdf) where the concept of, you guessed it, Network Centric Warfare (see the CCRP site for more details), is introduced.

Though this obviously is directed primarily at effects of the network and information superiority on warfare, many of the concepts are equally relevant to the corporate world. In fact, many of the concepts of Network Centric Warfare come from the corporate (civilian) world (hence, the passage above).

* Details for this passage are credited to

Lee, Elan. “This is not a game: A discussion of the creation of the AI Web Experience.” Presented at teh 16th annual Game Developer’s Conference, March 19-23, 2002. — I couldn’t find a link to the actual paper, but found this interesting discussion of the paper. –

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