Au contraire...this is a plan being implemented by DARPA (from NYTimes) "The Pentagon called its latest idea a new way of predicting events and part of its search for the "broadest possible set of new ways to prevent terrorist attacks.""
Betting on assassinations and coups and terror attacks [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img] Whoa...
Betting is one of the terms that I have trouble with; why I think this is an anti-capitalist, anti-Administration screed, a vast exaggeration of the truth....
I really can't believe that the Pentagon / DARPA is actually running a Vegas type Bookmaking Operation on violence in the Middle east....
As far as I can see, what they are doing is providing information to a business that will be trading in commodities (mostly petroleum?) and commodities futures.
While there IS admittedly some POTENTIAL for abuse and insider trading, this situation IS within the purview of DARPA, as far as predicting things that will be important to national security, both in determining strategic materials stockpiles, and economic effects.....
Since this information IS of National interest, Someone might as well attempt to profit from it.
I suppose because of the potential of abuse, someone ( Congressional Oversight, GAO, etc. not that any of them are particularly honest either) should keep an eye on it, but I don't see anything inherently immoral or illegal about it.
There's been several stories in the papers about it and as far as I can tell, it's as bad as it sounds. It's run by Robert Poindexter, same guy who cooked up Total Information Awareness. TIA is now 100% defunded and several senators have denounced the terror betting scheme.
well -- when I do folks the favor of telling them the truth based on my expert analysis and someone disagrees, I find the quickest way to demonstrate their lack of conviction is to offer to make a bet... (I even used this in court once againt the prosecuter in an argument about whether or not a BMW motorcycle had a link-chain in the throttle, I offered to bet him a hundred bucks, and he backed down immediately)
Seems it might be a good idea to let all the "Nostradamusses" (sp?)
put their money where their mouths are..? How else to get the people who know to talk? Probably they won't 'talk' ie. 'invest' - anyway, though..
TedtheLed makes a very good point about using the language and concept of betting in order to get people to quantify their surity of knowledge.
Turing this around, a 'futures market' provides a great tool for distilling and evaluating group knowledge available on a topic. If suddenly lots of people start buying a future that pays off if world leader XXX dies, then either they have discovered an unknown problem that the pentagon _should_ be looking at, or they are acting on a well known issue that everyone knows about and thus the future will only pay off a small profit (or none at all).
Also, while there is a certain amount of risk that individuals might try to 'force the market' by betting that a leader will die and then tring to kill them, what better way to discover who wants someone dead. Additionally, since in such a market the winners have to be balanced by the losers, anyone who wants to see someone dead will be balanced by people who have a monetary interest in keeping that person alive.
I believe that running this 'Terror Futures Market' is potentially a great intelligence gathering tool. I'd make the following requirements: 1) Terror futures should include 'betting' on American losses, as well as 'foreign' losses. Think of the intelligence boon if there were a sudden upsurge in foreign investment on a US terror attack.
Of course, since this is an intelligence gathering tool, and should be used to prevent the terror attacks, incentive should be built in to help stop the attacks. So there should be a larger payoff if the 'invested attack' is actually going forward, but then the attacker or the terrorist cell gets caught. This would put people who might have knowledge about an attack in the position of 'if I invest, then I could make some money. If I invest and then rat the bad guys out, I could make even more.' This could turn the 'futures terror market' into a 'forward reward' system.
I would think that the Pentagon has already pinpointed areas of potential terrorism and such. While such a betting plan might identify potential threats, any such threat that pinpoints a problem area that the Pentagon hasn't considered is sufficient evidence that someone isn't doing a good job there, and doesn't belong in such an important position.
The idea of someone having gotten rich from successfully betting on the 9/11 tragedy, and rejoicing over their newly won winnings, and sharing the headlines with the story would be unappealing to America and the families of the victims. The damage to the Pentagon on 9/11 would have been an even more remote prediction, and would no doubt have created wealth beyond belief for some "lucky" gambler. The odds that passengers would overpower terrorists on a hijacked plane and crash it into the ground in Pennsylvania would have really paid off. Neither the World Trade Center threat nor the threat to the Pentagon is so remote that it shouldn't have already been assumed already.
I think I would have found headlines offensive that told of the 9/11 tragedy, with a subheading that a gambler has hit it big.
My understanding was that the bets were small, more a token than anything else, and more importantly, it wasn't the general public that could make forecasts, but limited o recognized experts in the Middle East and in Terrorism. A way to get more of them involved. 10,000 experts from the major US universities, beats just the analysts at teh DIA, and each branches MI.
What it proves to me is that the pentagon folks, especially the ones they keep holed up at DARPA are a little out of touch with reality. It's actually not a bad idea for getting some info on the "way the wind is blowing" and to poll a lot of experts without having to bring them all in on staff. unfortunately they don't know enough about the rest of the population to know how they would react to it. No wonder they can't predict the actions of people from other cultures when they can't even understand their own well enough to know this was in such bad taste.
Ya know... It is that "other cultures" stuff that I'd like to see us work on here in the ol' US of A. As a whole, we don't understand other cultures, and we certainly don't respect them. For some reason, the subject of this thread just reminded me of that.