Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ender's Game, Army Crack and The Game That Became Real

The $67 billion video game industry now generates more than twice as much as the Hollywood's box office. In fact, video games are inspiring Hollywood movies rather than the other way around. Good news for the gaming industry, bad news for our future as human beings. Why? Well, simply put, the "Playstation mentality" in modern warfare. In an age where almost anyone can be taught to use a joystick and fly unmanned aircraft capable of taking out large groups of people using remote control, being raised on video games like "Call of Duty" or "Halo" are literally training and desensitizing these children to the blood and guts-- a trophy in "Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified," requiring the player to earn 3 stars in each Operation--of warfare.

Take the futuristic tale, Ender's Game, a "science fiction" novel by Orson Scott Card, where government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers in an artificial or virtual community of young boys, aged 5-12-years old. The ultimate agenda is to create military leaders, some might even say genocidal dictator superheroes, albeit, with "good" intentions, who will, one day,  save the Earth from an alien enemy.  The problem with this sci-fi novel is that the ultimate sacrifice is made: all the qualities that make us human, and separate us from not only animals, but machines. Unfortunately, this book is not unique. The negation or degradation of that which makes us human is a theme that permeates pop culture today.

Remember, it is said that the most dangerous "soldiers" are child soldiers, more specifically, 6-year old boys with guns. Why? Guns are toys to 6-year old boys, and "killing" people is fun because they have not yet grasped the finality of death. So immersing them into a virtual reality of "kill or be killed" will almost certainly prepare them for the military, making it much easier to condition these young men to kill, especially when situated 7,000 miles away, in what appears more like a theater of war, where the victims are reduced to the status of players in a video game, shielded from the dismembered body parts in the aftermath of strikes, rather than plunged into the blood and guts warfare of the front line.

In a nutshell, movies, books, television, and most disturbingly of all, violent video games, condition concepts of profit, status, technology/technological development, violence, and/or anything that defines our materialistic, scientific world trumps humanity every time.

Army crack

"You don't have to be a qualified fighter jet pilot anymore to be allowed to fly these things - or an officer. Thousands of young enlisted soldiers - many as young as 18 - are being trained to fly these aerial vehicles and the US military just can't get enough of them.

"Is it a bit like playing a video game?" I asked as I handled the joystick. It is they admitted - although everyone was at pains to stress that doesn't mean they don't take their job seriously.

Even the trainer admitted its easier to teach the "video game generation" and told me that all those hours they'd spent in their bedrooms - being nagged by their mothers to do something more productive - was now paying off.
"Is it a bit like playing a video game?"
The US military are now so addicted to the use of these drones they call them "army crack". One hit and you are hooked they say. Ground forces now don't want to leave their bases in Iraq and Afghanistan without those "eyes in the sky" above their heads.
So is "Ender's Game" really science-fiction? Maybe when it was written, but certainly not now. The book’s premise—that training children for war through  playing video games —has left the realm of science fiction and has,  in fact,  become a reality.

Links:

“Zero Dark Thirty” And The CIA's Hollywood Coup

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