You've seen it in ever war movie ever: soldiers trying desperately to get in touch with command. Well, soon they'll hardly have to phone home at all, at least if DARPA has any say in it. They'll get all their data the same way pirates do. Torrents, basically.
DARPA — makers of mind-controlled prosthetics and creepy robots — just completed a field test of technology called the Content-Based Mobile Edge Networking (CBMEM) that lets soldiers sync battlefield intel peer-to-peer, like seeders and leechers in a torrent network, or maybe even more accurately, like different computers using BitTorrent Sync. With the software loaded onto Android phones and other battlefield software, separate teams are able to get the same picture of the situation without having to phone home for an explainer.
DARPA's test went something like this. In a scenario ripped from recent military history, several groups of soldiers went out in pursuit of
Osama Bin Laden a simulated person of interest. The first squad managed to scrape up some identifying information, and as the rest came in range, the software pushed and pulled the information between crews over Wi-Fi, cellular and radio networks until they all had the same data with no help from home base.
Theoretically, soldiers still have to call home for orders, but instant, synced communication like this is sort of a step towards the hivemind. Just get some drones and robots in on the situation, and you're really rolling... towards Skynet. But for an organisation that basically invented the internet, it sure took 'em a long time to figure out torrenting. [Ars Technica]