I don’t have anything particularly insightful to say about this, except that the it creeps me out so much more than regular warfare. These Ender’s Game-like drones trivialize warfare to an absolutely unacceptable extent, doing so much more than simply dehumanizing the enemy. At least with ordinary war tactics, opponents are considered alive, even if they’re Othered; here, they’re targets on a screen.
This is even creepier:
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.”
Hey kids! Join the army — it’s just like a video game.