My brother-in-law, Josh, is a self-described geek who loves video games. As a twenty-something who’s in school for Network Administration, he’s a long-time Dungeon Master for pencil and paper D&D, a veteran Game Master for MMORPG’s, and an all-around programming genius. Consequently, he’s usually in the know about what’s up and coming in the gaming department.
When I asked him if he had heard of any games lately having to do with transhumanism, he replied immediately, “Deus Ex: Human Revolution‘s all about that.” He and I sat down at the nearest computer and started watching trailers for it.
Now, for all of you gamers who are earnestly looking forward to a Deus Ex HR review, understand that TCT isn’t a blog that reviews games or other media specifically. I’m not interested in the game itself; rather, I’m exploring the media trend of posing real-world and timely questions in the seemingly safe (a.k.a. unreal) venue of science fiction and/or entertainment. If you want to read what people are saying about Deus Ex: Human Revolution as a game, I’ve linked some reviews from IGN, Gamespot, and PC Gamer.
I thought about including an obvious trailer for Deus Ex: Human Revolution in today’s post – complete with images of gameplay, a sufficient display of impressive graphics, true-to-life animation, and credits given to Square Enix and Eidos Montreal – but I found the following clip much more intriguing for the purposes of this blog:
I sat for a few minutes just staring at the screen when this clip finished. Not once did I see or hear any mention of a game. No title, no creators noted, no narrative, nothing. For someone who doesn’t know to credit Serif Industries to the Deus Ex HR plot, it could well be taken as a movie preview – except that there isn’t any movie title anywhere in the clip, either. Instead, there are real actors and real experts weighing in on real issues. It might as well be real life, right?
Why should the apparent reality of a video game fantasy be so completely engrossing?
And then there is the agenda that the Purity First video is pushing; the irony of this video would be marvelously delicious if it weren’t just as marvelously disturbing.
Consider: by the time it’s over, it is clear that Purity First’s message is one against the advancement of certain technologies; and yet, it is precisely this sort of technology that has allowed for the convincing creation of such an advertisement to begin with. CGI “prostheses” and other computerized animations are necessary for advertising companies to present make-believe as reality (to then be sold as make-believe).
So after I finished staring at my screen trying to work out my feelings about the commercial I had just seen, several questions began to take shape in my mind:
If we really had to make a choice between allowing technology to overtake our lives and taking a stand against it, would we actually take a stand, or would we rather WATCH A VIDEO about how we would take a stand?
Do we live vicariously through our technology?
And if we do, does that mean we’ve forfeited our humanity long before we’re even faced with the need to fight for it?
I’m without an answer on that one. In fact, I’m still trying to reconcile the fact that I’m using technology to ask cyberspace whether or not it thinks we’re using too much technology.
By the way, we’ve had mind-controlled prosthetic limbs since 2008.