DARPA funds wacky things that go nowhere

Many DARPA programs that didn’t go anywhere and sound stupid in retrospect. This list meant to show how wacky some of the programs sound, especially in Explain it like I’m Five English and becauseYou can’t cut off just one tail of a distribution funding these wacky things is essential to getting outlier results.

Of course, the other side of this blade is that DARPA money isn’t particularly “efficient.”

DARPA has a 5-10 percent program success rate

  • Sonofusion - creating fusion through sound waves. (was so wacky they actually were investigated for wasting money)
  • Trying to solve cancer by having a computer read a bunch of papers and propose mechanisms for
  • Delivering gene modifying viruses to plants via insects
  • Quantum effects in biological environments
  • Remote controlled insects
  • Jetpacks
  • Earthworm robots
  • Taking over/Recycling satellites
  • Turning plant matter into jet fuel
  • Chemical interventions to reduce stress
  • Encoding information in photons
  • Literally trying to build a full memex The memex is the philosopher’s stone of computer science
  • Central nervous system interfaces
  • Technology to climb vertical walls like Spiderman

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