It’s “Call of Duty for real”

This past month, news came of soldiers training with a system called Tactical Augmented Reality.  …

The idea comes from Will Roper, a Rhodes scholar in his late 30s with a PhD in mathematics. Roper runs the Defense Department’s secretive Strategic Capabilities Office; his job is to study where war is headed, and to develop the technological tools that help the United States win there. The military services think about today; DARPA thinks about the distant future; Roper thinks about tomorrow.

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RAF urged to recruit video game players to operate drones

The commander who oversaw the use of Reaper drones in Syria has said the relentless demand to deploy the unmanned aircraft means the RAF needs to test recruiting “18- and 19-year-olds straight out of the PlayStation bedroom” to operate the weapons.

Air Marshal Greg Bagwell, a former RAF deputy commander of operations, disclosed that the psychological pressure on drone operators in the UK was such that some had quit due to mental stress or illness. Continue reading

The rise of the military-entertainment complex

Excerpted from War Play: Video Games and the Future of Armed Conflict

Corey Mead, “Shall we play a game?: The rise of the military-entertainment complex,” Salon, 19 September 2013

The origins of the U.S. military’s involvement with video games lie in its century-old status as this country’s primary sponsor of new technologies. A quick checklist of the technologies that either stem from or were significantly refined in defense-funded contexts shows how pervasive the military’s influence has been: digital computers, nuclear power, high-speed integrated circuits, the first version of the Internet, semiconductors, radar, sonar, jet engines, portable phones, transistors, microwave ovens, GPS—the list goes on. As Ed Halter writes in his book “From Sun Tzu to Xbox,” “The technologies that shape our culture have always been pushed forward by war.” Continue reading