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The Military Games

What's It Like To Pilot a Drone? a Bit Like Call of Duty 170

Velcroman1 writes "Teenagers raised on Call of Duty and Halo might relish flying a massive Predator drone — a surprisingly similar activity. Pilots of unmanned military aircraft use a joystick to swoop down into the battlefield, spot enemy troop movements, and snap photos of terror suspects, explained John Hamby, a former military commander who led surveillance missions during the Iraq War. 'You're always maneuvering the airplane to get a closer look,' Hamby said. 'You're constantly searching for the bad guys and targets of interest. When you do find something that is actionable, you're a hero.' Yet a new study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found real-life drone operators can become easily bored. Only one participant paid attention during an entire test session, while even top performers spent a third of the time checking a cellphone or catching up on the latest novel. The solution: making the actual drone mission even more like a video game."
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What's It Like To Pilot a Drone? a Bit Like Call of Duty

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:32PM (#42111453)

    If I recall correctly, this concept is addressed in the 1992 movie "Toys" [1] as seen in []

    [1] and yes, I know it's a bad movie, but the idea of maneuvering real drones as videogames doesn't seem so out-of-time today.

  • by Warhawke ( 1312723 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:40PM (#42111549)
    It's worth remembering that the concept of war as murder is an extraordinarily modern concept with regards to human society. It wasn't that many generations ago that our forefathers even believed that if you died home safe in bed and not in the heat of battle that you would never see the afterlife and your soul might simply vanish. While plenty may consider that to be sociological evolution, and perhaps rightly so, I do not think it is fair to blame the dehumanization of war solely upon LCD screens and video games. The British wore red uniforms to disguise blood, and even the bloodthirsty Romans put sand in the gladiatorial arenas to soak up the gore. We have dehumanized war and death for far longer than the presence of the console video game.

The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.