Art imitates life imitates art? Can a video game possibly predict the consequences of future warfare?

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is a very popular game from a very popular series released late last year, of which I am a fan of. While many parts of the game are similar to previous titles, the major drawing point of the game itself is the use of various drones in the multiple game modes of BO2. Drones such as the Predator and the Reaper have been seen in previous Call of Duty games, but the sheer variety of the drones in BO2 contain many creative designs. Such designs include the A.G.R., a small, machine-gun armed (literally) robot on treads, and the Ziggy, a tiny spider-like device that is equipped with a camera and a miniature taser. Not all of the drones are small; the C.L.A.W. bot is a quadruped roughly the size of a bear, albiet infinitely less agile.


You win this time, small ledge!

However, it is the storyline of the game that intrigues me the most. This story revolves around a squad of U.S. Navy Seals that are attempting to capture a former Nicaraguan drug lord turned cyberterrorist. At this time, specifically the year 2025, the U.S. has amassed an immense drone army using rare earth elements that are almost entirely monopolized by China, which is currently in a state of Cold War with the U.S. The cyberterrorist manages to create a computer chip using a sample of these elements that has the capacity to take control of this drone army, and in true video game fashion, he manages to accomplish this by letting himself be captured. This almost instantaneously puts every drone in the U.S. under his control, and in a display of brute force nearly kills multiple leaders at the G20 summit in Los Angeles, to say nothing of the destruction of the entire city. After surrounding various other cities with his new drone army, in a bit of a twist move, rather than destroying the cities, he simply causes each of the drones to self-destruct, apparently to send a message to the U.S.

This plot raised a question in my mind: Could this happen in real life? No computer system is one hundred percent hack-proof, as shown by “hackers” including the infamous Anonymous gaining access occasionally to secure government data. Taking control of any computer device is at its core simply the deactivation of security measures planted on the devise itself, whether that’s a username/password, encryption code, or firewall. Some malware sent in e-mails or internet downloads even have the ability to give access remotely to another computer owned by the “hacker.” Technology is increasing at an exponential rate, and this includes both the security of computers and the devices used to get around said security. Is it possible that a “hacker” could manage to take control of the device used to program or issue commands to a drone? Certainly it’s not impossible. Is it probable? Perhaps not. Black Ops 2 is, after all, a case of the “worst possible scenario” action sequence, a Hollywood style semi-realistic storyline that at a glance would look ridiculous in real life. On the other hand, even semi-realistic leaves room for interpretation…

Well, if that may be the case, I, for one, support the rise of our new robot overlords.




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