Sunday, March 30, 2003

Echoes of Ender's Game

From today's New York Times:
At the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, a 15-inch remote-controlled truck, the Dragon Runner, now close to deployment, is guided by a six-button keypad modeled after Sony's PlayStation 2 video game control, explained Maj. Greg Heines, because military designers felt confident that soldiers would be familiar with it, and by default, partially trained to use it.

This reminds me of the science fiction novel Ender's Game, where people are trained for war through the use of video games. Here the military is not designing video games to be combat simulators, instead they are designing combat technology to be like video games. As the use of unmanned vehicles in combat grows, so will the similarity between video game skills and real battlefield skills. The military could capitalize on this by creating a PS2 video game based on the Predator drone plane. Tomorrow's Predator pilots could be trained today, at relatively low cost, from the comfort of their own couches.

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