War Games (1983)

Winken and Blinken

There is less reason to see this now than when it was made, except for the lesson that is more clear here than in current filmdom: how do you cinematically convey concepts that don’t fit our fairly limited vocabulary?

The lesson here is stark, only because we have greater familiarity with computers and see that the blinking box is more Flash Gordon than tangibly real.

It isn’t just naiveness at work here. There’s a compact between viewers and filmmaker about what will be allowed as tokens of agency. AI is hard. It is hard even for practitioners in the field. I work in this specific area: military war gaming and command systems. I can’t express how much damage movies like this have done, together with millions of press pieces that accompany the anthropomorphic vision. Many level B workers in this field have been bent by the notions that AI is even possible, and that it makes sense to integrate it into decision making roles command and control roles.

And that’s before we get to the trope of a one man genius who creates the superhuman tech.

Posted in 2022

Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


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