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Pentagon Lets You Bid on Terrorism?

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the too-real-for-words dept.

The Internet 846

Elysdir writes "DARPA is creating an idea futures market, the Policy Analysis Market, to try to predict events in the Middle East. See Bloomberg article for more info." Read this article. I mean it. This is amazing. Update: 07/29 14:45 GMT by J : The NYT story claims "The White House also altered the Web site so that the potential events ... that were visible earlier in the day ... could no longer be seen," but those example images are still being served: Jordanian overthrow, bidding on assassinations, cool graphics... Update: 07/29 16:44 GMT by M : Looks like the publicity was too much.

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846 comments

How... How... (3, Interesting)

mgcsinc (681597) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558178)

Omigod! Predictive tool, my ass! How desperate have we gotten to keep our economies stable in times of despair? A way to instantly give people an economic boost when tragedy strikes? I thought the balanced budget was a lot to be sacrificing for a stable economy, with these refund checks, but now, we're staking our relations with the world? Like the article points out, ``How would you feel if you were the king of Jordan and learned that the U.S. Department of Defense was creating a futures market in whether you're going to be overthrown." I really, really hope this is a joke...

place your bets! (5, Interesting)

sweeney37 (325921) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558179)

perhaps the /. paranoia bug has rubbed off me a bit too much, but what are the chances that your "bets" could be used against you in the war on terrorism?

you hit three or four correct terrorist acts and the next thing you know you're in an orange jumpsuit overlooking guantanamo bay.

Mike

Re:place your bets! (0, Interesting)

I_Heat_Sexylaid (675028) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558239)

That's an interesting point.
In a slightly less paranoid, yet still negative vein, you have the issue of glamorizing bad behavior as an encouragement, not a deterrent.
You don't study control systems engineering very long before you come across the truth that this sort of feedback can be a Very Bad Thing...

OT: Your sig (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558336)

Here's a taost to the boogie,
I'll funk to that,
Bottoms up!

Re:place your bets! (5, Insightful)

Ominous Coward (106252) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558250)

This is moderated "funny", but it's less funny, and probably more true. Someone might be tempted to bet a lot if they had "insider information", and then the government would track them down to see what they know, and why they know it. Some might be false leads, but if the King of Jordan is assassinated 2 days after CmdrTaco bets $10,000 on it, I'd definitely question CmdrTaco if I were a fed.

Re:place your bets! (3, Insightful)

Fred IV (587429) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558302)

I think any organization bright enough to pull off a major terrorist act would also be bright enough not to make a bet with the pentagon about when and where it would happen.

The stupidity involved in designing this system is amazing.

Re:place your bets (in reverse)! (3, Interesting)

aaronlev (685856) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558326)

This creates an incentive for terrorism by insane individuals.

Remember the case where someone tried to manipulate the stock market by putting cyanide in Tylenol?

I might not have the facts exactly right, but the idea is the same. The potential exists for someone to use this to make money, by finding a way to encourage the terrorist acts to come true.

insanity (-1, Offtopic)

welloy (603138) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558181)

insanity!

The horror! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558318)

The horror!

I'm not crazy about it (2, Insightful)

goosman (145634) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558182)

This seems like a sleazier version of a 'dead pool'....

How could they do this? (0)

Pinguu (677142) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558183)

Would this have happened 30 years ago? I doubt it.

Convenient container (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558184)

Please place all american-bashing statments under this comment. Thank You.

Re:Convenient container (5, Funny)

Ominous Coward (106252) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558272)

Where should we put our All-American Bashing-statements? You know, the ones that insult all other countries because we're #1?

Re:Convenient container (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558299)

I'm not sure, i'm american and i posted the parent. I would have attached my name except i thought it would get modded flamebait :)

AKW (anonymous Karma whore)

This is gambleing, not investment. (4, Insightful)

mjmalone (677326) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558185)

There are no commodities being purchased, and unlike the stock market there is (hopefully) no relation between the actions these countries are going to take and the investors "investing" in the liklihood of them occuring. However, right there is a huge flaw. It seems like a $1,000,000 investment in terrorists bombing isreal could potentially be a good enough reason for someone to bomb isreal.

Re:This is gambleing, not investment. (1)

Fesh (112953) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558225)

What I want to know is, what happens if you predict an attack, buy futures for it, and then the government uses that prediction to actually prevent the attack? Doesn't that mean that the attack didn't take place and therefore you didn't predict it?

Better Question (4, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558274)

What happens if you predict an attack, and the attack happens? Will you:
  • Be investigated by the FBI because of your knowledge of the events?
  • Be jailed as a material witness?
  • Be prosecuted for conspiracy to commit murder? After all, how could you so accurately predict a terrorist incident unless you had ties to the terrorists ?

Re:This is gambleing, not investment. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558230)

Any reason is a good enough reason for someone to bomb israel.

No. (1)

s20451 (410424) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558256)

Investment is less about commodities and more about managed risk. The thing that makes gambling stupid is that there is no management of risk on the part of the gambler: the house always takes in more money than it puts out, so in the long run you are guaranteed to lose. However, if you're clever with your investments (and futures), you can balance the probabilities so that you are guaranteed to make money. There's all kinds of mathematical theory [google.ca] on this subject.

As for the self-fulfilling prophecy, that is a problem. However, nobody is going to offer a million-dollar future on terrorists bombing Israel, since it happens so frequently.

Re:This is gambleing, not investment. (1)

Lord Zerrr (237123) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558314)

If your not part of the solution, there is money to be made prolonging the situation.

Re:This is gambleing, not investment. (1)

oroshana (588230) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558320)

Amen. This is people not only gambling on what terrorist actions might take place, but they are also gambling on people getting killed. This seems extremely sick to me.

This is Futures trading (2, Insightful)

akiaki007 (148804) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558327)

This is Futures trading. And just like most other non-equity based trading (Bonds, Convertibles, Options) you are simply buying a contract or some sort, not the actual equity (stock), so yes, this is an "investment" but then again, the entire market is gambling really, isn't it?

But of course the implications of something like this are just insane. Because someone put 1MM into a WMD going off in Isreal doesn't mean someone is going to do it. Someone will invest 1MM into this because they are going to do it themselves in the future. Market manipulation. Just like they did pre-9/11.

Re:This is Futures trading (1)

mjmalone (677326) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558364)

Futures trading you are actually purchasing something, whether its a contract having to do with a loan (a bond), corn, oil, beans, you're buying SOMETHING... This is different. You're saying "I am going to put $300 on Isreal blows up Palestine" and someone else says "I am going to put $300 on Isreal not bombing Palestine" and one or the other wins/pays the other... that would be... GAMBLEING!!!

Re:This is gambleing, not investment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558329)

I work at a Broker Dealer, and the general opinion of everybody from the VP down to the Registered Reps is that the stock market is actually a huge gambleing casino. With the SEC and NASD running the show as the House.

Massive Double Standard (1)

Fred IV (587429) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558346)

So if the US rewards someone for saying they will kill a Middle Eastern leader and then going through with it, it's intelligence gathering...yet if someone in North Korea made the same system for killing a US leader, it would be seen as rewarding terrorists.

I think I woke up in Bizzaroland this morning.

Considering how much they pay CIA personell (4, Funny)

typical geek (261980) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558187)

I can't wait for a few middle east specialists to start skewing data to make their bets pay off.

"Woot! Car Bomb in Riyadh! That pays 100-1, guess I shouldn't have sat on that report about Saudi terrorists."

question? (5, Funny)

Yaruar (125933) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558195)

If al-quieda sign up will they get taken to court for insider trading?

Re:question? (1)

lfourrier (209630) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558305)

How can you trust a market where the exchange manager is itself a player. What if Nasdaq (the company running the exchange) is playing on high tech stocks ? Speak about conflict of interest. It is much worse than insider trading.

Re:question? (1)

curtisk (191737) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558352)

hahaha, good point, since they may have missed out on the pre-9/11 insider trading where alot of stocks pertaining with the airline industries were unexplainibly sold short and had "put" options on them.

What's worse? (1)

bigwang (67863) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558196)

The idea of this ludicrous project, the fact that the pentagon is this desperate, or that horrible graphic on the front page.

predicting events in the Middle East (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558197)

If you want a picture of the future of the Middle East, imagine an Israeli boot stamping on a Palestinian face--forever.

Cool. (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558201)

saddamite> I'll see your 30,000$ Bush Contribution and raise you 2 Towers!!!

Quality!!! (5, Funny)

iainl (136759) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558204)

And you thought that the "short the dying guy" strategy on Hollywood Stock Exchange was a slightly sick game to play.

So this is what they mean when they talk about a "peace dividend". I never realised it was quite so literal.

why on earth do they think this would help? (5, Insightful)

anonymous loser (58627) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558208)

Look at how unpredictably the stock markets behave already. When was the last time a major drop or surge in the NYSE or NASDAQ was accurately predicted by the majority of investors?

At best this kind of analysis helps you see trends over a long time period, but I don't see how that can help the pentagon except when they ask for more funding (See! Carbombings will increase by 50% over the next 5 years! Please give us money).

Re:why on earth do they think this would help? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558313)

When was the last time a major drop or surge in the NYSE or NASDAQ was accurately predicted by the majority of investors?
Uh...you have cause and effect confused. If the majority of investors believe the market will drop, and trade based on that belief, then the market drops. Investor sentiment CAUSES market movements. So every single market movement ever was "predicted" by the majority of investors.

Re:why on earth do they think this would help? (0)

brett_sinclair (673309) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558322)

You're actually making a good case *for* DARPA's idea: the market is cannot be predicted accurately by "experts"; so the best possible estimate of the market value is the actual market value (otherwise said experts could make big bucks).

Mad isn't it (2, Interesting)

danormsby (529805) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558210)

I just read this on the BBC [bbc.co.uk] . I guess they will automatically arrest the people who get the best predictions as the perpetrators!

Nabbing people. (2, Funny)

Kludge (13653) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558213)

They're just looking to nab the people that post "There will be a Jihad and DEATH TO AMERICANS!!!".

I hear that (0)

Morgahastu (522162) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558220)

The guy who made funny voices in Full-House will be hosting the reality tv show based on this.

Re:I hear that (1)

Fishstick (150821) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558342)

you mean Dave Coulier [tvtome.com]

Wasn't the supposedly the one Alanis was singing about in You Oughta Know? [azlyrics.com]

not just middle east (5, Informative)

Ravagin (100668) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558221)

Ny Times [nytimes.com] article (free reg, stop whining) says it's not just for the Middle East. In any event, while I support innovative ways of fighting terrorism (as opposed to wiretapping everyone and giving the president imperium, etc) the idea of making money off of death is exceptionally disturbing.

Says this is another idea from Admiral John Poindexter of, most recently, Total Information Awareness fame. Sounds like he might be a sick sick man.

Re:not just middle east (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558279)

the idea of making money off of death is exceptionally disturbing.

Ummm, what did you think the Iraq War was all about in the first place? Don't tell me you actually bought that cock and bull about "liberating Iraq? Hahah that's funny.

Considering Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld where both doing business with Saddam during the "gassing of his own people" stuff and they where actually helping him fight the Iran/Iraq War, you know the one that produced all those mass graves...

Shit man, Dick Cheney's company was actually doing business in Iraq DURING the sanctions.

Oh well...since most people are fed so much propoganda from birth in this country they never accept the truth.

Jim Bell (5, Informative)

Ann Coulter (614889) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558226)

Remember Jim Bell? Posted comments to the effect of setting up a system where you can bet on who will be assassinated. He got into deep trouble with the courts who tried to censor any mention of it. Here is some more information. [mccullagh.org]

Re:Jim Bell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558373)

Mod Parent up!

The Pentagon should be getting an uncomfortable visit from the FEDS over this!!!!

Freakin' government gets so pissy when free-enterprise tries to muscle in on it's turf. I though our state religion was Capitalism!

Trading Places II (4, Insightful)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558231)

I think this is all a plot to make sure that the forthcoming film "Trading Places II" is a big box-office draw due to inclusion of lots of explosions, related to this new film being about bidding on military incident futures.

that's sick (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558234)

Capitalism is a disease that has made America very very sick.

D'oh. (2, Insightful)

stubblehead (565808) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558235)

The reason players and coaches can't bet on sports is because they're in a position to manipulate the system for their benefit. Since every person on earth is capable of such terrible deeds, why should anyone be allowed to wager on them? Doesn't this just promote the things they're (supposedly) trying to prevent? Or is it just capitalizing on an already existing market? (I forget the URL but there is already a site that allows betting on world events - it peaked during the Iraq conflict.)

Taking it to a new level... (2, Insightful)

mschoolbus (627182) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558236)

I wonder if everyone simply voted that someone would be assasinated, if some crazy man would say he was obliged to kill him?

I think it could get interesting...

Radical solutions to radical problems (2, Insightful)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558237)

``How would you feel if you were the king of Jordan and learned that the U.S. Department of Defense was creating a futures market in whether you're going to be overthrown,'' said Dorgan, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

I for one applaud this idea. Recent events have shown us that conventional intelligence agencies are out of their depth in the modern world; the CIA utterly failed on September 11th. When lives are at stake, bold thinking is needed. USD 3M is a tiny price to pay if the system enhances the military's ability to anticipate threats to American civilians.

Remember that the Pentagon will already be planning for the eventuality that the King of Jordan is overthrown; that's what militaries do when they're not actually fighting, they make plans. The only difference is that now the military is inviting opinions from third parties, some of whom may well have a better idea of what's going on.

Re:Radical solutions to radical problems (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558333)

woo hoo.. gotta keep the yanks safe in their own yard - even if it means killing everyone else's grass in the process...

Re:Radical solutions to radical problems (3, Insightful)

akiaki007 (148804) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558372)

This is *not* a good idea. Why? Because this kind of market is open to manipulation more than any other market. You can't prevent "insider trading." Who would stop individuals connected with terrorists from buying futures on the next suicide bomber? This idea simply gives them very easy access to money. This is the stupidest idea (and most disturbing) I've ever heard. Though the idea of buying future contracts on the date that Saddam will be ousted was funny when I first heard it, it's the same thing. It's not right, and is easy to manipulate.

Leave finance to the finance people. Bush should not mess with Wall Street, he's already given everyone down there a headache and no one needs this. Ha, is he expecting to be re-elected after this? I'm sure the Bible-belt approves of this idea...

This is a good idea. (2, Troll)

Numair (77943) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558238)

Finally ... a combination of defense and capitalism. I personally think this is a great idea, and want to see more exploration in our country of exotic/non-conventional financial instruments used in very creative ways.

What they are doing here is taking the futures markets and orienting them around terrorism. Great idea! Anyone who remembers the mysterious short selling on airline stocks before 9/11 knows that some strange trades always occur in the name of greed.

Many people who respond to this article are going to say "well that's dumb, how can investors predict this stuff?" - they are missing the point. The point here is to allow all sorts of stupid trades, but to notice the weird ones - the ones which eerily mirror intelligence information. If DoD manages to pull off a half-decent TIA system, then this is a very useful component.

It's great that such ideas are being pursued by the government, rather than idle chatter among economists and academics. Somewhat of a shame that all of the ignorant/stupid people out there will shout loudly enough to get this thing shut down, though ...

This is a bad idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558295)

You's a stumpin' ass munfapucka

Hmm ... What's the datapoint? (1)

Numair (77943) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558355)

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realize that the datapoint they are looking for isn't even the greed-induced transactions, as traders will probably be smart enough to realize the thing was created by DARPA (and thus any weird transactions can get you thrown in jail). In addition, you have to sign up through these guys, which would immediately eliminate any strange characters.

This means that there is a datapoint in this system which they find useful for plugging into the TIA system. And it isn't the weird trades, or the mass logic. There is another datapoint. Volume? Probability based on oversold/undersold futures contracts? Something really boring. To the general public, it isn't as sexy as assassination politics; to the guys at DARPA, it is gold.

The $6.4 Trillion Dollar Question: What IS it?

Moderators? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558240)

Not to be a troll or anything, but I posted this story as soon as it appeared on fuckedcompany.com and it was rejected. Anyone know whats going on with the mods? Or was I just to slow...

the fallacy of efficient markets (3, Insightful)

misterpies (632880) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558243)

Reminds me of the old joke about two efficient-market economists walking down the street. Economist one: "Look - there's a $50 bill on the sidewalk" Economist two: "Don't be stupid, if it was somebody would have picked it up already" I reckon that's about the predictive power of this initiative.

More interesting wagers... (2, Informative)

Alex Reynolds (102024) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558244)

Visit Long Bets [longbets.org] if you want to read about and place money on more interesting wagers. And you don't have to worry about Big Brother looking over your shoulder!

I keep looking at the calendar (2, Insightful)

ninthwave (150430) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558246)

It is not April First, is it?
This dogmatic idea that the market is the best model for almost anything in western society is creeping into subjects where the economics laws don't apply. The other side of this is would it be insider trading violation to bet a few mil that Jordan would be overthrown and then spend a few mil backing Jordanian rebels to overthrow Jordan increasing your turn. Capitalism is good, free markets are good, but for a market in statistical data to work the participants need to be involved in the creation of the data have complete intelligence on what they are betting or trading on and have some control of their goods. The subject matters broached do not seem to give them a full free market and not being a fully free market the data will be flawed.

It is not April the first or have I slept through atumn and winter this is just crazy.

Predicted in SF (5, Informative)

AlecC (512609) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558248)

by John Brunner, in "The Shockwave Rider", based heavily in Alvin Tofler's "Future Shock".

The principle is called Delphi Polling. It is based on the observed fact that the aggregate answers of a large number of people sufficiently knowlegeable to understand a question seem, empirically, to be more accurate than the anwers of any one expert. Even though the answers of any one non-expert may be wildly out, the errors cancel out to a good approximation of the correct answer. Futurologists have been using it for a while to predict trends, and it works better than tea leaves, crystal balls and just plain "informed opinion" i.e. guesses. The USN even tried it with flying a plane, and it worked there too.

Re:Predicted in SF (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558362)

I just hope they won't ask the audience of Who wants to be a millionaire anything, that's just wasting a lifeline.

Commentary (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558249)

"Read this article. I mean it. This is amazing."

I had a spam that started that way once... You don't have a secret job as a 'bulk mailing marketer' by nighttime do you?! *peers closely*

Better than plan 'A'... (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558254)

Where they asked Hollywood for advice.
Those idiots think Sean Penn can play a cop, for Christ's sake.
Idiots.

Summary of my opinion of the idea. (1)

James A. A. Joyce (681634) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558255)

The market is astute, but not that astute.

John Brunner ? (1)

mpeeters (58550) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558258)

Isn't this like the idea proposed by J. Brunner in The Shockwave Rider - some kind of oracle by the people ?
M.

P.S. Read the book - it is great.

In related news (1)

flea69 (667238) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558261)

Darpa is also researching the possiblity of retro fitting Camels with TOW Missile lauchers.

Will it Predict Terror or Promote it? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558262)

If you're a trader, what about paying someone to kill the king of Jordan to cash in on your bets? If the economic incentive is there, what's to prevent someone from doing it?

Re:Will it Predict Terror or Promote it? (1)

Burlynerd (535250) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558330)

If the economic incentive is there, you can guarantee that someone will take advantage of it. This poorly conceived concept is a perfect source of income for world terrorism. They control the very thing for which they are placing bets. The people who are pushing this self-destructive idea should think a bit more.

BlackNet? Assassination Politics? (2, Interesting)

plcurechax (247883) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558264)

This sounds like it could be abused to become a BlackNet [vipul.net]

an experiment in information markets, using anonymous message pools for exchange of instructions and items. Tim May's experiment in guerilla ontology.


Or actually a bit more like Jim Bell [wired.com] 's Assassination Politics [jya.com] , which is a scheme that allows murder for hire under the pretext of a lottery.

This disgusts me. (4, Interesting)

Jonsey (593310) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558266)

Holy Crap.

That's disgusting.

And, on a lighter note: Think of the money you can make taking exotic vacations and causing havok! Insider trading laws be damned, this could be a wonderfully abusable system.

God, I hope this is a joke.

the sick fucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558268)

This is the most debased thing i have ever heard. For shame.

I'm embarassed..... (2, Interesting)

curtisk (191737) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558270)

for the United States.

The 2004 elections could not come quick enough.

Whats the non-US slashdotter's take on this kind of crap? curious...

Our government is basically doing a large scale dead-pool of sorts, classy!

Re:I'm embarassed..... (1, Flamebait)

Mindjiver (71) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558359)

We are waiting for the 2004 elections. Hopefully you will vote the clown out of office.

"Hush" projects for Poindexter? (1)

release7 (545012) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558273)

Pure speculation but I think it's possible Poindexter has got some dirt to tell about the Iran-Contra scandal and to keep him quiet they are letting him indulge in these crazy schemes. I guess it's more ethical than offing him.

The man is clearly insane. Who is his graphic artist, by the way?

Let's fix our own stock market first (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Custard (587661) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558277)

Ok, our stock markets are filled with lies, greed, and wild speculation. Let's fix that before we apply the same model to something that could take us to war!

"The new approach is to set up, as it were, a `market' in two kinds of futures contracts -- one pays $1 if an attack takes place; the other pays $1 if there is no attack, DARPA said."

I mean, holy shit dude! Rich guys putting bets on whether we'll go to war, then working behind the scenes to make sure it happens, so they get some profit! Christ, every day, I don't understand why I still live here.

2 to 1 (-1, Offtopic)

dasalvagg (667838) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558281)

I'll give anyone 2 to 1 odds that saddamm will be found with a huge load of gay porn. any takers?

My law for predicting middle east events (1, Troll)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558282)

if new peace talks
prob(suicide attack within next day) = 1
prob(israel killing 1 hamas leader + 20 civilians within next two day) = 1
end peace talks

It's going on and on and on.. You just HAVE to reckon those people's stuborness!

Why this is sick... (4, Insightful)

BTWR (540147) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558284)

The reason why this is sick is because next time you read that some coward terrorist decided to blow himself up on a Tel Aviv bus, killing him/herself and 15 schoolchildren, a gambler somewhere will go make himself a cool $50 because he "bet" on this.

It is indeed a sick world when the response to a suicide bombing is "YES!"

Shockwave rider... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558285)

by John Brunner mentioned something like this. The hero made huge amounts of money playing the 'market' because the government manipulated it to give the citizens the impression that things where the way the gov wanted them to be. If you haven't read it do so.
The idea behind how it's supposed to work is if you ask a buch of people a question about the past or present who do not know the answer the answers they give will none the less average out close to the truth and so supposedly it works going forward as well. I have no idea whether the first part of the proposition is true, nevermind the second part.
On the other hand 3 million dollars? This much entertainment for the price of a few hammers and toilet seats has to be worth it.

Also in my journal (0)

mirko (198274) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558292)

which features a few links to the online press.

I could make a quick buck outta this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558297)


Easy money:

Bets:

Palistinian shot
House Bulldozed.
Israeli bus blew up.
Palistinian shot
House Bulldozed .....etc.

Lets exploit cycles of violence for fun and profit!

Let me get this straight (4, Funny)

Morgahastu (522162) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558298)

They want the same people who made the dot com bubble decide what happens in the middle-east?

Just tell them about Wi-Fi startups in the middle east and they'll throw money at it...

Interesting idea (2, Interesting)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558307)

But, really there seems to be nothing people are not prepared to gamble on these days. I watched a program recently about a company the other day who took bets on whether the stock market would go up or down, same with the housing index in the UK. Despite the disclaimers this sort of gambling is tailored to those with high level insider knowledge.

I want you all to know though then you may feel free to 'invest' as much as you want on a middle eastern state declaring me to be a messianic figure and bringing peace to the region as the first step of my journey to world domination

Run by the Pentagon? (4, Insightful)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558308)

Isn't that a little like Greenspan running a pool betting on when and by how much the interest rates will change?

Hahahah! Gullible fucks! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558309)

Man, you people are fucking GULLIBLE! Do a whois on the domain name and you might catch a clue by four that this is a HOAX. :-))

Leave it to the dotcoms (1)

grinwell (138078) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558310)

This idea is a total ripoff of the Hollywood Stock Exchange. I even heard the CNN report cite "predicting box office" as a similar model.

The stupidest part of this is not the idea itself (though the idea is pretty stupid). It's that the government is trying to do it themselves instead of floating the idea for a dotcom. Heck, my guess is after this press conference, a couple of undergrads get a working version up in two months and for free!

Mwa ha ha. (1, Funny)

monkeybrainsoup (584442) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558317)

It would be great to rig this thing somehow so I'm the predicted supreme overlord of the Earth by the year 2010.

The campaign buttons will read:
Bet for me in 2010.

Upon becoming the supreme ruler of the Earth, I promise to give out much land to all who bet for me.

Who wants control over a former country?
Bueller? Bueller?

Another Similar Site (4, Interesting)

ras_b (193300) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558321)

there is a similar idea already running online:
http://www.tradesports.com [tradesports.com]

you can buy/sell futures for most current events- for example, you can buy saddam futures based on when/if you think saddam will be captured, or you can bet on what kobe bryant will be charged with. this is a real site where you can make lose money- crazy stuff.

An Interesting Idea (3, Interesting)

Anomylous Howard (666178) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558325)

This is an interesting idea, and it should stay that way.
I'd be afraid that if I were to bet on a longshot terrorist strike and it paid off for me, that the FBI might come knocking on my door (with a battering ram).

PKD (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6558332)

Holy shit, is Philip K Dick writing American foreign policy form the grave? A paranoid guy is set up in an artificial 1950's town and fed hallucinogens while trying to solve crossword puzzles that are actually complex tables used to predict future actions of foreign governments?

I can see the dialogue now... (4, Funny)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558334)

Rumsfeld: How is it going?

Expert: Not very good.

Rumsfeld: What do you mean, "not very good"??

Expert: Well... The market experts all seem to think attacking Iran is a bad idea, that staying in Iraq is a bad idea, and the probability that G.W. Bush will lose the 2004 election has reached 94.7%

Rumsfeld: All Right! They have told us exactly what the surrender cheese-eqting monkeys don't want us to do! Therefore, let's do it!! Iran, here we come -- let's blast some mullah back to Kingdom come!

Expert: But uh, sir...

Rumsfeld: Great work, Johnson! Keep an eye on those Frenchies and Arabs for us, and you'll get that nice little raise we talked about! Ah, who needs the CIA when you can have contrarian web sites to point the way at the best interests of the USA?!

[Donald Rumsfeld leaves the room with his entourage]

It's Rumsfeld's department (0, Troll)

hickmott (122356) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558339)

So will people who do too well be brought in for questioning?

from the to-real-for-words dept. (0, Offtopic)

Potor (658520) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558340)

when did real become a verb? (i know, no one is more boring than a grammar cop)

Precedents (5, Insightful)

Eustace Tilley (23991) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558341)

The Iowa Electronic Markets [uiowa.edu] operated by the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business has been n operaton since 1988 [uiowa.edu] . It has offered real-money futures contracts for U.S. and other political markets including"Control of Congress" as well as the Democratic & Republican Presidential nominee and the popular vote share, Senate seats, Russian and French Presidential contests, etc.

Speculation can be strictly distinguished from gambling.

The speculator makes a bet on the outcome of a risky event which would exist in the absence of speculators, such as bad weather and natural disasters.

The gambler, finding nothing satisfactory for betting, sets up a slotted wheel, makes six-sided dice, designs cards which are identical from the back but different from the front, and then bets on what happens when these devices are randomized.

Speculation shifts existing risk. Gambling adds to the universal total of risk.

The Pentagon site is speculative.

A joke - surely. (1)

java2go (104116) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558343)

Nobody could take this idea seriously...

Did they ever trace the origin of the suspicious option trades on airline stocks before september 11 ?

Fact Meets Fiction Again (0, Redundant)

wizard992 (176718) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558345)

So has anyone else read The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner? I am just waiting to hear the term Delphi used by somone in the government.


I could use my tranquilizer now please.

First smart DARPA thing I've seen in a while (0)

double-oh three (688874) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558351)

The plan is a bloody brilliant way to get free analists working for the CIA, NSA, DIA, etc. The analists try and make it rich like on the stock market, and in turn the government gets a probably very reliable meter on the current state of affairs over there.

How incompetent are these guys? (1)

k98sven (324383) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558353)

You really have to start wondering just how incredibly incompetent military intelligence must be if they think that financial analysts of all people are better at predicting political events!

I mean, jesus christ, we're talking about farking market analysts here! What is their problem? Couldn't find a good astrologer? Out of tea-leaves?

This isn't new (1)

stomv (80392) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558354)

There was a similar idea presented by a civilian American -- and mentioned on slashdot -- not too long ago.

The idea was for an assasination betting scheme. Folks could anonymously fund payoffs for currently living people. 'Gamblers' would pay some reasonably large fee to bet that a particular person would die in, say, a 24 hour period. If the person did die, than the gambler would take all payoffs that had been anonymously funded.

Of course, the only way that the odds would be in the gamblers favor is if the gambler knew the person had some abnormaly high chances of dying -- like, say, the gambler knew he was going to assasinate the person.

I wasn't able to find a mirror of the proposal, which had worked out all of the details (preserving anonyminity, payouts, etc.).

To put it in context, let's say I wanted President Joe Smith of Fooland dead. I could contribute $100 to the fund. If lots of others also wanted him dead, the payout could reach millions of dollars... enough for a 'gambler' (aka hitman) to pay $25,000 to bet that Joe Smith would die on January 32, 2006. If the hitman pulls the job off, he gets the payout. Why would I pay $100? How many Americans would put up $100 for Saddam's head? I'd bet many.

Of course, this wasn't limited to world leaders. Corporate types, athletes, religious leaders -- anybody.

Can anybody find a link to the proposal?

* Obviously, I've made up people, places, and dates to preserve the idea that this is an example, not real.

Guys, you're over-reacting (4, Insightful)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558367)

This is a way for the government to tap the expertise of people who do analysis of the middle east and other areas of the world. It is essentially opening the field to experts who, while they might not have insider information, might have a good "gut instinct" for what's going on.

The Pentagon believes that knowing the probabilities that these people assign to different events will help them predict the likelyhood of those events (if I am reading this correctly)--there is something to be said for that.

As another poster pointed out, this is a kind of gambling. What the Pentagon is interested in, however, is not making money off of it: they want to know the probabilities that people are going to assign.

Will it be useful? Who knows. It has the potential to be and they think it is worth the cost of running such a service, I say let them. I'll be as interested in anyone in seeing how closely these predictions matrch reality.

Just hope you don't do to well.. (1)

PeterGraves (27634) | more than 10 years ago | (#6558378)

I can see it now.. anyone who gets the right dates for too many things related to a common idea (good accuracy predicting terrorist attacks for example) and they send someone over to your house to "talk"..
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