Monday, March 24, 2008

Modeling Terrorist Behavior in World of Warcraft

A while back I read a couple articles about some behaviors in World of Warcraft, one was about the spread of a plague called "Corrupted Blood" that was being used by epidemiologists to study how diseases spread, and the other was on Chinese gold farmers.

These articles got me thinking and I proposed using World of Warcraft to study some of Ron Paul's economic theories. An idea that was pretty soundly criticized by everyone with a pulse, (real life people not blog people) but it turns out that counterinsurgency experts are doing something similar.

Virtual terrorists blowing themselves up and spreading disease inside World of Warcraft could provide counterterrorists with a window into real-world plots.

Such activities in the massively multiplayer online game bear an eerie resemblance to actual terrorism, and analyzing terror tactics in Warcraft could prove more enlightening than current computer simulations used by counterterrorists.


Charles Blair, deputy director of the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies, said he thinks the game could provide a powerful new way to study how terrorist cells form and operate. His organization already uses computer models to study terrorists' tactical decision-making, but World of Warcraft's army of players adds a realistic dimension that might prove more enlightening than even the best baked-in artificial intelligence.

"The main strength is that [Warcraft] involves 'real' people making real decisions in a world with some kind of [controllable] bounds," said Blair, who said studying players' actions could prove useful to military intelligence analysts. "To put it academically, you have both dependent and independent variables."

Anyway I now feel vindicated and since my life mainly consists of revenging petty insults I feel validated this morning as well. :-)

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