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Innovation Officer with Schmidt Futures, began what for him has been a continuing campaign to instill a Challenge ethic into the broad public mindset. His aim, he said in an interview earlier this year, has been to increase, diversify, accelerate, and otherwise elevate the adoption of audacious innovation as a value that can further the public good. Challenges and incentive prizes, Kalil noted in 2012 during a speech at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, “shine a spotlight on an ambitious goal without having to predict which team or approach is most likely to succeed. Incentive prizes help us reach beyond the ‘usual suspects’ to increase the number of minds tackling a problem, bringing out-of-discipline perspectives to bear and inspiring risk-taking by offering a level playing field.” DARPA added the Grand Challenge approach to its bag of technology development and community-building tricks only in 2004. As the current trajectory toward a world rife with autonomous vehicles indicates, the Agency has enjoyed some potentially world-changing success with its first three challenges, all of them designed to advance autonomous vehicle technology. Other challenges, among them the DARPA Robotics Challenge and Cyber Grand Challenge, are showing signs that they too, in time, could prove to be as prescient and consequential in their respective domains as the first DARPA Challenges. As Kalil defined them, Grand Challenges are “ambitious yet achievable goals that capture the public’s imagination and that require innovation and breakthroughs in science and technology to achieve.” That definition maps well onto DARPA’s own institutional way of thinking and doing. It also reveals that DARPA itself amounts to an ongoing Grand Challenge with the ambitious yet achievable
TOP: Team Tartan Rescue’s robot, CHIMP, earned the third-highest score, 18 points, during the Dec. 20-21 DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials 2013. The team’s lead organization was the Carnegie Mellon University National Robotics Engineering Center. ABOVE: The seven automated contenders, or cyber-reasoning systems, of the Cyber Grand Challenge finals stand ready to compete on Aug. 4, 2016.
goal of providing a culture of innovation that consistently identifies and helps realize those not-yet technologies that need to become here-now technologies.