Section No6’s crappy sniper tech

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Section 6 sends helicopters to assassinate Kunasagi and her team before they can learn the truth about Project 2501. We get a brief glimpse of the snipers, who wear full-immersion helmets with a large lens to the front of one side, connected by thick cables to ports in the roof of the helicopter. The snipers have their hands on long barrel rifles mounted to posts. In these helmets they have full audio access to a command and control center that gives orders and recieves confirmations.

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The helmets feature fully immersive displays that can show abstract data, such as the profiles and portraits of their targets.

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These helmets also provide the snipers an augmented reality display that grants high powered magnification views overlaid with complex reticles for targeting. The reticles feature a spiraling indicator of "gyroscopic stabilization" and a red dot that appears in the crosshairs when the target has been held for a full second. The reticles do not provide any "layman" information in text, but rely solely on simple shapes that a well-trained sniper can see rather than read. The whole system has the ability to suppress the cardiovascular interference of the snipers, though no details are given as to how.

These features seem provocative, and a pretty sweet setup for a sniper: heightened vision, supression of interference, aiming guides, and signals indicating a key status. But then, we see a camera on the bottom of the helicopter, mounted with actuators that allow it to move with a high (though not full) freedom of movement and precision. What’s this there for? It wouldn’t make sense for the snipers to be using it to aim. Their eyes are in the direction of their weapons.

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This could be used for general surveillance of course, but the collection of technologies that we see here raise the question: If Section 9 has the technology to precisely-control a camera, why doesn’t it apply that to the barrel of the weapon? And if it has the technology to know when the weapon is aimed at its target (showing a red dot) why does it let humans do the targeting?

Of course you want a human to make the choice to pull a trigger/activate a weapon, because we should not leave such a terrible, ethical, and deadly decision to an algorithm, but the other activities of targeting could clearly be handled, and handled better, by technology.

This again illustrates a problem that sci-fi has had with tech, one we saw in Section 6’s security details: How are heroes heroic if the machines can do the hard work? This interface retreats to simple augmentation rather than an agentive solution to bypass the conflict. Real-world designers will have to answer it more directly.

5 thoughts on “Section No6’s crappy sniper tech

    • Wow. That is pretty scary and a morbidly fascinating interaction model. Still, PGFs, according to the article, require the gunner to aim the weapon. I wonder what the laws are around that.

  1. Pingback: Report Card: Ghost in the Shell | Make It So

  2. I’ll have to re-watch the movie, but my recollection was that the undercarriage equipment may serve the pilot rather than the sniper op’s.

    I also get the feeling that the post-war climate the Nipponese agencies find themselves in would impose restrictions (either because of ethics or more likely because of treaties) on how AI can be weaponised.

  3. I can think of a few points:
    1) Perhaps the 2nd camera is used to help give a second point of view for depth measurements.
    2) We are talking about cyborgs with mechanical limbs. How do we know that they aren’t as fast and precise a turret? I mean, their
    3) Placement. If you have it tied to a dropship you lose the stealth of a placed sniper. It could be cheaper to have one sniper who can sit in a ship, hide on a rooftop, etc, then a smart gun. The other thing I can see is guns are a lot easier to damage, lose, etc, then people, so it could make economic sense to put the fancy electronics in something with a self-preservation instinct.
    That is a way to avoid the technology beating the characters thing: Make the characters the computers.

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