Extract from Kill Command – 2016 – Directed by  Steven Gomez

Kill Command is a military scifi movie that has not really been an audience success. However, it is full of interesting interactions, gadgets and of course robots gone mad. In this scene, we can see the sniper targeting a contractor from defense industry. While he is aiming at her, she is gaining access to his weapon, and locking.

There are numerous fictions that present the key role that hacking is currently and will be playing in the battlefield (just think of Ghost in the Shell and AppleSeed in the manga realm), but what is interesting here is how the contractor is able to hack the weapon.

She basically has the easiest access ever to it. So, either it is legal and there is a reason for it (why not), either she has a backdoor and that becomes clearly an issue. In this very specific case they both are on the same side (and are about to be in dire need of each other while fighting robots…), but what if this backdoor was accessible to a foe?

This is what the novel Ghost Fleet is about : the F35 (which already has enough issues to deal with), is presented in the fiction as being easily hackable by the Chinese, who are capable of grounding it whenever they want. Warning or not, it has raised some concerns in the US, where civilian technologies are not being banned due to risks of hacking (remember the army banning the DJI drones ? ;))

Another interesting thing in this extract is the existence of the two “devices”. By comparing the amount of information provided by the gun scope and the amount provided by the contact lens, the second seems to offer more data, but the link between them is not very clear : what do you put in the contact lens, and what do you put in the scope.

Another interesting feature of this video clip is the fact that she must target the gun with her gaze in order to lock it. This interaction runs counter to the popular ideology of hacking, which behaves like an invisible hand, supposed to capture everything it wants through an invisible network.

On the contrary, it reminds us that each network needs an infrastructure to function. So fragility has a material background. The irony of the scene is that in order to lock the weapon, it seems to have to be placed in front of it. Which is probably not the best way to act safely. This is probably due to the aesthetics of the scene, to create a dramatic athmosphere, a design feature that we must take into account in order to analyze the technical problems of SF films in general.