A Silicon Valley company has integrated iLink, a social network analytics technology, into three online military communities in hopes of improving the way users, ranging from Army wives to platoon leaders, share critical information across a wide variety of domains.
iLink is a machine learning-based system that models users and content in a social network and then points the user to relevant content, discussions, and other network members with shared interests and goals across a broad range of scenarios.
"iLink learns to deliver the right answers to the right people at the right time," SRI International's David Gutelius said in a press release. "It identifies needs, questions, and issues as they emerge in online communities and matches them with highly relevant resources and people. The goal is a more adaptive, effective problem-solving military."
The technology was developed as part of CALO (Cognitive Agent that Learns and Organizes), funded under the DARPA PAL (Personalized Assistant that Learns), a program to develop an "enduring personalized cognitive assistant." (PDF) CALO, from the Latin word "calonis," means "soldier's servant."(PDF)
The military is currently evaluating the technology and how it can be applied to solve battlefield problems, promote professional development, and support military families, according to SRI International (PDF). The goal is to create online communities where soldiers can troubleshoot, converse, and brainstorm with each other in social networks, using software that learns from its users. One site is devoted to information exchange and mutual support between U.S. Army lieutenants, another is for captains, and the third assists families in dealing with the challenges of military life.