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War and tech: Could video games change the face of combat?

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN -DECEMBER 8:  U.S Air Force Staff Sargent Ryan Propst (center) plays "Call of Duty" video game with a small group of service members at the United Service members Organization (USO) lounge at Kandahar Air Field (KAF) December 8, 2010 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. There are 16,000 NATO troops in Kandahar province and approximately 20-30,000 military and civilian personnel living, working and traveling through Kandahar Air Field (KAF). The base has continued to grow rapidly with a variety of shops, restaurants and cafes. Kandahar Air Field (KAF) has been in operation since 2002 with troops camping out on the floor of a bombed out airport in late 2001 after the U.S lead bombing strike. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
U.S Air Force Staff Sargent Ryan Propst (center) plays "Call of Duty" video game with a small group of service members at the United Service members Organization (USO) lounge at Kandahar Air Field (KAF) December 8, 2010 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

It’s no secret that video games have long been used to recruit and train the military.

It’s no secret that video games have long been used to recruit and train the military.

With first-person shooter games, soldiers have endless access to new information to train them on the latest fighting techniques. And gaming companies benefit too. With veterans’ help in development, games are becoming more realistic. But the relationship between gaming and the military has one more step to take--actual combat. Will Roper is the director of the Defense Department’s Strategic Capabilities Office. His job is to think outside the box in terms of what comes next in U.S. military capabilities.

As reported by Wired, Roper is looking into gaming technology’s use in the future of war. And hypothetically, this could mean tasking gaming developers with ways to give soldiers technological advantages in combat. For example, making a headset with the ability to show what’s behind you, where your fellow soldiers are and new information from your commander, just like in a first-person shooter game. And what about the role of gaming companies? What ethical considerations would they have to take?

Guest host Libby Denkmann in for Larry Mantle

Guests:

Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED Magazine; he wrote the WIRED article, “The Pentagon looks to videogames for the future of war”; he tweets @nxthompson

Corey Mead, associate professor of English at Baruch College CUNY and author of the book “War Play: Video Games and the Future of Armed Conflict

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