4 DARPA Projects We Love - InformationWeek

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2/25/2015
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4 DARPA Projects We Love

Space exploration, self-driving vehicles, advanced biometrics, and robotics are among the cool projects in the works at DARPA that are likely to have applications in the enterprise, too.
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(Image: Torley Olmstead via Flickr/Creative Commons)

(Image: Torley Olmstead via Flickr/Creative Commons)

We always count on The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to have cool, bleeding-edge projects in the works that give us a glimpse of the future.

DARPA's far-out ideas have included brain implants and self-patching networks, disaster-area robots, and self-calibrating microchips smaller than a penny.

We at InformationWeek love reporting on DARPA's latest gadgets, gizmos, and way-out ideas. On the following pages, you'll see four of our favorite recent projects that we think will have a direct impact on our businesses in the future.

As we worry ever more about information security, seek greater automation and connectivity in an age of smart devices that still aren't smart enough, and hope to one day do business from outer space, it's easy to imagine how these DARPA projects could apply at work. In choosing these DARPA projects, we want to highlight future technologies that have particular relevance to the enterprise tech reader. Each of these ultra-high-tech, military-funded projects will someday have applications for your business.

Check out the projects featured on the following pages and tell us what you think. Will DARPA's ideas do you think will someday become commonplace in the enterprise? Do these ideas scare you, or make you eager for the high-tech future that awaits? What else would you like to see DARPA invest in? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.

Joe Stanganelli is founder and principal of Beacon Hill Law, a Boston-based general practice law firm. His expertise on legal topics has been sought for several major publications, including US News and World Report and Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine. Joe is also ... View Full Bio

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Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2015 | 10:11:24 AM
New jobs
I think it will be really interesting to see what sorts of jobs a lot of these autonomous technologies create. They are going to kill off a lot of current positions, but it's always been the case that as old jobs are replaced by machines that we find new roles to fill. 

Cheap space is also pretty exciting. Using jets makes a lot of sense, especially since as drone technology improves, they're going to be redundant in their traditional combat roles before long. 
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2015 | 3:15:36 PM
What Sector Drives What Sector?
It used to be the case that the military/defense sector drove innovation, which then moved to academia, which then moved to the consumer marketplace

 

Doesn't appear to be the case anymore with the private sector a hotter place to be, with more capital.

Yes? No? and what changes will this bring?

 
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2015 | 3:57:10 PM
Re: What Sector Drives What Sector?
Yes, I think you're right. The military seems to have taken technology about as far as it can go for now. The Russians are so far behind us that it's comical, and the Chinese buy most of their military hardware from them. As the conflict with ISIS seems to demonstrate, you can only do so much from the air. The American public doesn't want to spend big bucks on space, so the civilian sector seems to be where it's at, at least for the present.
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2015 | 6:18:23 PM
Not so fast
Without meaningful regs in place to protect US consumers, DARPA is usually very bad news.  What may seem "totally cool"  almost always turns out to be a disaster because neither DARPA (nor US consumers) does not bother to think of the unintended adverse consequences.  Case in point:  Drone usage by nongovernment entities. 
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
2/26/2015 | 8:26:02 PM
Cease and desist on lunar land rights
I am not in favor of Lunar land rights, those granted by the FAA or anyone else. They just give us another piece of real estate to potentially fight over. There's plenty of that here on earth.
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2015 | 1:58:12 PM
Re: Cease and desist on lunar land rights
"We have fought in every clime and place Where we could take a gun"

Given the nature of people, it is inevitable that there will be fighting in space. But, is that a bad thing?

Wouldn't it be wonderful if, someday soon, major fighting were relegated to space? Instead of billions being killed, it would be scores instead. As it is, we have been VERY LUCKY since 1945, when THE BOMB came into being

Given the interlocking corporate nature of the ownership of wealth, if a major city was lost to nuclear exchange, the insurance claims alone would plummet the world into depression and catastrope no matter who won, and the big guys know it. I look forward to the day when beligerents can roll the dice off-planet, in the same way that angry brothers don't fight in the kitchen, but take it outside, instead.
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2015 | 11:35:25 PM
Re: Cease and desist on lunar land rights
Gary, not to get too insurance technical on you, but a nuclear attack would either fall under the war exclusion present in all insurance policies, or would be covered under terrorism insurance if it were a terrorist attack --- so the government would pick up the tab after a certain threshhold. And I don't agree that space warfare would limit deaths ... just like drone and robot warfare wont.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/28/2015 | 12:21:52 AM
Re: New jobs
@whoopty- Not sure this will create jobs, but in the end, it might not be bad. I think in the future the only job will be robot repair. I'm OK with that. Give me a robot to cook and clean and fan me on the beach and I'm all set.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/28/2015 | 12:23:34 AM
Re: What Sector Drives What Sector?
@jastroff- Seems like the military/defense/aerospace world is still driving the tech. I think what is changing is when we find out about it. Think about how long the stealth bomber was a secret versus these Darpa projects.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/28/2015 | 12:25:05 AM
Re: Cease and desist on lunar land rights
@Charlie- It also implies that someone has that right. Just because we're the only people to land there doesn't mean we own the whole darn thing. The land mass of the US isn't consider that of the earth bound part and the entire surface of the moon.
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