It’s only a game…

by | Tuesday, July 22, 2008

… but what if real people die?

Excellent article by William Saletan on Slate about a new breed of war-toys that blur the line between video games and real war. As the article says, “if looks and feels like a video game. But it kills real people.” As it turns out, the company that designed these new tools, Raytheon actually hired game developers to design how these weapons would work. The result is “a user-friendly array of throttles, switches, and thumb controls.”

You can see the demonstration video here, or read Saletan’s article — War Is Halo: Killing real people becomes a video game.

The military already grooms teenagers through a video game called America’s Army, explicitly designed to let the user “virtually experience Soldiering in the most realistic way possible.” The next step is to combine virtual combat with real consequences, by turning gamers into drone pilots. “The current generation of pilots was raised on the PlayStation, so we created an interface that they will immediately understand,” says one Raytheon spokesman. Another points out, “The Air Force will be able to recruit pilots who already have the dexterity required.” In fact, the Guardian reports that “operators could simply be trained to the requisite level of proficiency on … Xbox 360s or PlayStation 3s, rather than costly simulators.”

Virtual combat with real consequences!! What a terrible phrase.

I had written about the psychological aspects of some of these new technologies in some previous postings (see here, here and here).

Topics related to this post: Design | Engineering | Games | Politics | Psychology | Technology | Video | Worth Reading

A few randomly selected blog posts…

Symmetry: new ambigram

I love the idea of self-reference, words or sentences that refer to themselves in some manner or another. For instance consider the sentence, This is a sentence. This is an example of a relatively benign self-referential sentence. Other examples may not be less...

Systems level change in education

Systems level change in education

How do you design for change in complex systems—like education? Implementing large-scale changes within educational systems can be a challenging task. Doing so requires many actors, working at different organizational levels (and perhaps across organizations), to not...

Ganapati 08, Photos

As un-official photographer for the Marathi Group, I took a bunch of pictures of this year's Ganapati celebrations. These are now (finally) on Flickr. Enjoy.

Working with constraints: Creativity through repurposing

Working with constraints: Creativity through repurposing

Teaching is an inherently creative act, requiring educators to navigate constraints and find innovative ways to engage students. In our recently published chapter, Danah Henriksen, Lauren Woo and I explore the notion of "repurposing" as a vital skill for fostering...

Good teaching is good design

Good teaching is good design

I just came across Dieter Rams: ten principles for good design and was immediately struck by how closely they paralleled what is essential for good teaching. All one has to do is replace the word "design" with "teaching" and I think we get 10 pretty...

EDUsummIT 2019: eBook released

EDUsummIT 2019: eBook released

EduSummIT is a global community of policy-makers, researchers, and educators working together to move education into the digital age. EDUsummIT has been convening every two years since 2009. In each case the participants focus on some significant theme relevant to...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *