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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Ender's Game - annihilating real people by video game
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Monday, September 21, 2009

Ender's Game - annihilating real people by video game

in the park where i had my rv set up this summer, the man of the family parked across from me was an air force guy headed off to do drone training... he was a really nice guy despite being a batshit crazy, wingnut, fundamentalist christian, neocon... needless to say, i had to completely ignore all his comments about wicked liberals because i knew if i rose to the bait, only one of us would come out alive and since i'm rapidly entering my dotage, i knew it wouldn't be me...
This year, the Air Force will train more joystick pilots than new fighter and bomber pilots. "If you want to be in the center of the action, this is the place to be," Schwartz says. "It's not a temporary phenomenon. It's a sustainable career path. I've made that very clear." Lt. Col. Travis Burdine, a Predator pilot-from-afar, has gotten the message: "We all joined the Air Force to go flying, but word on the street is that job satisfaction is very high [manning a joystick]. Every day we're doing this, we're in the thick of the fight. We fly 36 [combat air patrols] a day. Where they're happening, the hottest 36 things are going on."

It's not hard now to imagine a time when the dominant combat leaders of the Air Force have no physical contact with airplanes. "We're opening an aperture," Schwartz says. "How do we define a warrior-airman? The definition is expanding." Whatever happens, he says, "the trend lines are inescapable: we increasingly will become less of a manned aviation force." C. R. Anderegg, the Air Force historian, says that just as the generals of the 1950s and '60s were predominantly bomber pilots, and the generals of the 1970s and '80s were mainly fighter pilots, so a lot of the generals in the coming decades may be UAV joystick pilots. "It's going to be pretty hard for a promotion board, picking the next one-star generals, to pick a colonel who hasn't commanded a UAV wing over a colonel who has. The UAV commander has the experience, and he has a larger, less insular view of the battlefield than, say, an F-22 pilot at Langley."

how cool is this...? annihilating people from 10,000 miles away... it's the ultimate video game and nicely fulfills the apocalyptic vision of one of the more popular science fiction bestsellers, ender's game...

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