Admit it, you’ve thought about how you could probably fly a UAV as well as any military pilot. The truth is, the average gamer likely could. While soldiers are honing their bodies and marksmanship skills, gamers have advanced fast twitch coordination and an emotional disconnect from taking life. After all, if that target on the screen is half a world away, it might as well be as real as all those people you just shot in Halo 4.
While it might not be as glamorous as flying a Predator drone bombing terrorists in Afghanistan, Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system has saved the lives of many civilians in the recent conflict with Hamas in Palestine. The system requires an operator to quickly decide which incoming threats to take down. The defense batteries have a limited supply of $100,000 interceptors that can’t be wasted on a rocket headed for an empty field.
Much like the UAVs, the Iron Dome is manned by a “gunner” in the IDF, a person whose resume often highlights his/her Xbox Live Gamerscore.
So, while it might feel like another round of DEFCON, these men and women are saving the lives of many civilians by making sure that the incoming rockets headed for cities are quickly shot down. Just a few years ago we might have laughed and called it a joke, but now, who knows? Maybe before you know it your gamerscore will have Army men knocking at your door asking you to take part in some top secret project.