I want to recommend a movie that I think is a good allegory for the way the technology behind electronic entertainments was coopted by the military very early on in its development: Brainstorm (1983)
I love this movie! Aside from being Natalie Wood’s last film before her death under suspicious circumstances, it’s also notable for being filmed in two different aspect ratios, which it switches between throughout the film.
(Christopher Walken in a prototype helmet)
Brainstorm is about a team of researchers who are working on a technology that will allow people to record their experiences so that they can be played back later by others. It isn’t very long before the military begins to take an interest in the project. The lead researcher objects, saying she doesn’t want to allow the military to have control over this technology before they even really know what they have on their hands yet. It’s a new medium of communication that could have irreparable ramifications on art and culture, but all the military sees in it is it’s potential as a flight training tool and a torture device, and it’s not interested in pursuing using this technology for anything loftier or more intangible.
(the mass production helmet for training fighter pilots)
I dont want to spoil too much of the film, but a good deal of it is about the team of scientists trying to explore the other uses of this technology under the nose of the financiers who are quite happy just to have a lucrative product it can sell to the military.
Here in the real world something similar is happening. Here’s a long talk by a former Google and Oculus employee about “practical telepathy”, and how tech that can read your mind will firstly be sold as a videogame peripheral. You’ve even got Gabe Newell out there publicly talking about “brain computer interfaces”, “cybernetic limbs”, and calling the body a “meat peripheral”. This should be cause for some concern. Just like the Unity story that inspired me to make this thread, I think that some technology that is being worked on, that has truly terrifying applications, is flying under most people’s radar because it’s being done under the banner of “gaming”, which makes it appear relatively harmless.
Brainstorm is available for rent or purchase on Amazon prime.