Saturday, July 14, 2012

Television has ruined America, Pt 2 video games.

In my previous piece on the subconscious effects of televised media, I spoke about mirror neuron response. Its pervasive effects can be felt in our daily lives in some of the most profound ways. Video games also present actions that on a subconscious level are being vetted as a learned behavior. Scarier still, modern systems of fighting seem to be exploiting the very skills, and disassociated attitudes that video games generate.

One of the horrible things about war is that people die and even if you live, the imagery of being apart of so much death and violence can leave veterans haunted for life. But what if you could kill with impunity. Swoop in, invincibly slaying opponents that you never had to face and at the end of the day, return to your family. That day is today. Video games allow you to "kill" as many enemies as you wish with hurting anyone in real life, if you are taken out, you simply wait to re-spawn.

A predator drone can zip off the deck of a battle ship far out of the reach of the target's guns, fly in and destroy the lives of "enemy combatants" targets, and fly home on auto-pilot while the controller breaks for lunch. The disassociated pixels he faced on the computer screen, no more real to him than the millions of computer generated images he might have "destroyed" during training or playing video games as a child.

By taking the risk out of warfare, the military has sidestepped one of the biggest hurdles of popular opinion during wartime, casualties. But like any arms race, once technology has been developed and deployed, it is only a matter of time before it universalizes. The desire to reach out like "the hand of god" and destroy with impunity can only be ours temporally.

Much of the technology can be imitated with off the shelf goods. How long will it be before flying bombs made from radio controlled planes with off the shelf video transmission sets start to represent the greatest challenge for ground troops instead of crude IEDs. Just imagine the position of superiority China will hold as this becomes the norm for warfare with the manufacturing infrastructure they can easily re-purpose.

As always I welcome all comments, anonymous or not, and will not edit or omit them.

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