Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How to recruit cyber privateers: Dear Sony Entertainment

My inspiration for creating Oracle's "The Last DBMS" ad for Larry Ellison came from none other than The Last Starfighter movie, where a kid aced a video game which turned out to be the recruiting mechanism for an alien race looking for top talent to help protect the Galaxy from outside invaders. They of course ripped off Orson Scott Card's book Ender's Game. Over the years, I've shared the idea with entrepreneur friends of mine that a really cool game could be "corporate America's" way to identify and recruit people with special talents. One of those entrepreneurs is Steve D'Angelo at Spring Lake Technologies. Imagine playing a multi-player online game (via your PC, your X-BOX or PS3) when you suddenly get a message:
The folks at IBM have been watching your online play and would like to offer you a job. Click here to set up a meeting.
Now that I've formalized all 22 Principles for Creating the Perfect Virus,  complete with the user-definable oversight dashboard (discussed in Principle #11, Prosumption), I can actually envision a pretty neat online game called (since I own the domain) Cyber Privateer. Each player gets a toolkit detailing the 22 qualities the cyber attack suite available in his arsenal, and then has to fight other cyber privateers as he or she builds a penetration campaign for fictional government, criminal and banking entities. Naturally, players would need to be informed that "Destroying Angel" or some other cyber privateer entity was watching their play, and I guess each player could choose whether or not to opt out of the potential recruitment scenario. But the possibilities are endless, some of which I list below:

  1. You could build a complete psychological profile of potential candidates just by observing their game play.
  2. You could find the best dashboard metaphors and, even if you didn't hire the individual, you could pay them to use their dashboard design.
  3. You could sell advertising that appears on billboards during game play (Sony does this now on some of the auto racing games).
  4. During a national emergency, there might be some legal way where the players could be "turned lose" on actual criminal or rogue-government IP addresses.
What a cool game, eh? Visually, you could navigate networks and hostile systems as suggested by William Gibson in Mona Lisa Overdrive. Complete with shooting, blowing things up, spawning botnets, and even launching pseudo-virus infections on the systems of competing players. 

You know, Sony, I could really get into this game.

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Implementation suggestions for THE MORGAN DOCTRINE are most welcome. What are the "Got'chas!"? What questions would some future Cyber Privateering Czar have to answer about this in a Senate confirmation hearing?