Tuesday, August 18, 2009

16 bit. 32 bit. 64 bit. As I grew up technology also matured. I can remember first playing an original Nintendo, “Duck Hunt” was the first video game I every played.
In this game you shot some pixelized duck-like things on the screen. It was easy to distinguish these simulated acts from actually killing ducks. With that plastic gun, it was quite easy to kill those ducks.
It is becoming more difficult with every new video game system released to distinguish between the simulated world and the real world. Technology is blurring the line between reality and simulation. And at this point I can’t even see it anymore.
Without the distinguishability between reality and simulation one cannot expect the youth of today to come out “normal.” The implications of modern technology are horrifying, and they are redefining what is “normal.”
128 bit. 256 bit. 512 bit.
Knives. Guns. Drone missiles.
This progression of technology is very horrifying. I recently had a great talk with my friend that sprung from of a sign on the side of Illinois Route 74. There is something about the redundancy of Central Illinois highways that yields insightful conversation, but I can’t figure out what it is.
“Guns Save Lives” is what the sign said. These signs litter the roadsides of Central Illinois. This punch line is usually preceded by some cheesy rhyme alluding to the idea that banned guns mean criminals will run rampant with assault weapons shooting your children and the rest of this country’s daycares. But, the real message is contained in those three words.
“How can this be true?” I wondered out loud. “Maybe guns can save a life, but it would inevitably be at the cost of another life,” my friend responded.
What guns really do is make the process of taking someone’s life much less difficult. Like new video game systems make conflating reality and the simulated world easier, guns make the act of taking another human being’s life much easier.
In the heat of a moment, at the peak of their anger, people will do practically anything. With a gun, the peak of one’s anger need not last more than a second to cause the necessary muscles in their index finger to tighten. Click, boom, and it’s over in a second for the unfortunate recipient. If this prospective gunner only had their bare hands, or even a knife, the act of killing would take much longer, and is much more personal. They have to really want to kill that person to do it.
With the technological “advance” that is the gun, the depersonalization continues. But this isn’t the end of the advancements. The human element of killing is even further removed with a rather new piece of United States military technology, the drone missile. The drone missile takes detached killing to the highest degree.
War does not have to be declared on Pakistan because there are no U.S. troops within the borders, and yet missiles are being flown into potential enemy locations every day. These missiles are flown by U.S. soldiers, but these soldiers sit in a desert much closer to home. They sit in Nevada and fly these missiles into Pakistan.
The curious thing about drone missiles is that no one seems to care, or even know what is happening with them. There are U.S. Air Force pilots currently “flying” these missiles towards their targets in Pakistan.
Sitting in a booth and controlling missiles sounds eerily like video game playing to me. The military personnel who fly them are so detached from their targets; they aren’t even on the same continent. This technological advancement is taking even more of the human element to warfare, or lack of warfare, technically.
Unfortunately, the current administration is alright with pretending they aren’t fighting a war with Pakistan. And Barack Obama isn’t going to ban all guns like the crackpot right wing fear mongers say he will. These pieces of technology are going nowhere.
Rush Limbaugh, the state of Texas and the rest of them are spreading the idea that it’s time to stock up on guns before they can’t be bought anymore. Obama isn’t going to do that, but I wish he would.
Apparently the drone missiles aren’t going to cease their attacks on Pakistan, either. I wish they would, too. This technology stuff is taking the human element out of living, and killing, too.
Knives. Guns. Drone missiles. What’s next? I don’t even want to know. The means to someone’s end should not be equivalent to up, up, left, R2, L2.