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Zer Netmouse
July 10th, 2006
11:12 am


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Clearing my desk... quotes from David Warner

"For Warfighting, I think we're doing really good.
For War ending we have a ways to go."

"Social Challenges are
harder problems
than technical ones."

"If you want people to get along that don't normally get along, put 'em in a harsh environment and yell at 'em."

The future went that way... sir

(More images archived here.)

Also wanted to record his comment following on shadowing the 1st DARPA Grand Challenge that when they needed help there, they worked with the ham radio folks - they know the environment better than anyone.

He also did a shadow exercize at Burning Man, where they used walky talkies to maintain communications - his group is expert at providing coms (including visual representations of data to distribute info without taking up bandwidth on the audio coms) for really cheap. Addressing the Command and Control Research and Technology Symposium, he said "you have no capacity to assimilate what we're using."

(3 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:July 11th, 2006 12:09 am (UTC)
Addressing the Command and Control Research and Technology Symposium, he said "you have no capacity to assimilate what we're using."
And did he have a clue, or was he (a) snarky (b) a theorist out of touch with battlefield technology (c) both or (d) other?
[User Picture]
Date:July 11th, 2006 03:29 am (UTC)
No, he had a clue. He was a practical guy with access to some of the most powerful visualization software out there ("It's good to be the King", he told me, as we talked about watching the data flow as people try to solve problems and how he could tell the role and perspective of the user based on what information they pulled on a particular problem), and people who call him in for favors who appreciate the fact that he's not an agent of the government so he still has a civilian's ability to say "hey, if we increase your security for the superbowl will you give us access to your camera feeds?" and then have the stadium owners ask him to take control of all their cameras because it's clear he knows what he's doing. This is a person who is saying that the military contractors are theorists out of touch with technology (and I would agree, most C2 researchers don't really understand bandwidth or different types of broadcasting) and out of touch with the problems of information flow in real operational situations. "Exercises are killing us", he says. If you want to design for the Edge, go find out what the edge looks like.

One of my favorite stories of his had to do with designing a control system for UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to be operated by a man lying in a ditch. He said the company working on the design the first time came up with a joystick, and he figured it was a perfectly good joystick. But a soldier lying in a ditch can't operate a joystick because he can't lift his head. And when he spoke to the soldiers they clarified that they were already carrying a ton of equipment and didn't want to carry any more. So he instrumented the gloves they were wearing to make it so that any object that they could grip would effectively become their joystick. An earlier project of his had to do with instrumenting the faces of quadroplegic kids so they could control robots or computer applications with their expressions. Design for capabilities, he said. 7-year-old quadroplegic, man in a ditch. Whatever you have.

When he said the social challenges are harder than the technical ones, one thing he was talking about is information flow in a crisis. You'd expect everyone to share information, but NGOs often compete for the same funding source and are disincentivized to share info, the U.S. military won't give certain info to foreigners, and even within the military or other response forces (police, fire, rescue) there are questions of territorialism and information barriers that can't be crossed easily. Without knocking down those barries, we cannot use the sort of technology he's using, whether cheap or high class.
[User Picture]
Date:July 12th, 2006 12:47 am (UTC)
Thanks for this informative reply. I had started to get the wrong impression of him.
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