Self-serving at its finest: Gamer analyzing human nature

The premise of the science fiction movie Gamer delves into the world of the future, one that poses to address the corruptness that is fully realized when technology has given us opportunities to advance ourselves, either financially or by exertion of power. In Donna Haraway’s “A Manifesto for Cyborgs”, the generation of the positive and negatives of technology are discussed, and referencing Gamer, gives a look into how things are changing in our society and we are becoming and interacting in a culture which has been advanced through technology and dehumanizing the population to the point at which we possibly won’t be able to tell the machines from the people who made them. Gamer shows a version of this world in which the very mortality of the humans in the games is of no concern to the person controlling them. In other words, they are machines to the gamer, just a projection of what the person can do with their controller.

This idea is present in one moment in particular in the movie. When Simon, the gamer controlling Slayer icon Kable, accesses an alternative app for the game which allows communication between gamer and player, he decides to make Kable start dancing in the middle of what resembles a war arena. Kable then takes the opportunity to remind Simon that this is not a game. A constant fear of death is Kable’s life until he can pass enough levels to earn his freedom.

Simon’s complete lack of concern of Kable’s well-being can be attributed to his age for one (I don’t know a 17 year old that takes anything outside themselves seriously) and the non-understanding of the shift into thinking of the world as a completely mechanically oriented society. Things, and people, are made to be used and discarded when we are finished with them. Kable wasn’t real to Simon until they had that conversation. Before that, Kable was just Simon key to fame.

When you really think about it, we are constantly using the people around us for our own hedonistic purposes. You might turn on an appliance to prepare your food the same way you might decide to “turn on” the charm to get a ride to the grocery store from your friend. We are more codependent than most people would like to believe and to get the things we cannot achieve ourselves, we might reach out to technology. But this technology can be interpreted even by our very interactions with others. The behaviors and methods to which we even are able to ask a friend for a favor is psychological technology that allows us to utilize people around us to our advantage.

This use, and, in reference to Gamer, misuse, of people in order to gain some sort of advance in life is what Donna Haraway references in her article. We have become so advanced that people cannot tell the difference between what actually constitutes a machine or a cyborg and what we have made the human race into.

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3 Responses to Self-serving at its finest: Gamer analyzing human nature

  1. To add to your point, I would argue that Kable wasn’t “real” to Simon even after they had a conversation. Even after Simon set Kable free, he didn’t treat him like a fellow human being. When he realized that Kable was drunk, he groaned and said something to the effect of “how are you going to win like this,” like a child would say to a lagging Xbox.

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    • jmc211 says:

      That’s a good point. However, Simson was at least willing to let go of his control over Kable after talking to the “Humanz” group. He let Kable have a chance at freedom, and expected to be caught as a cheater in result. Although this could have also only been to serve Simon’s own interests, since he was told it was the only way Kable could win. If he did care about Kable’s well-being it was only shown briefly, but he may have.

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  2. jmc211 says:

    I wrote my response on a similar topic, but with the scenes where Angie and other members in “Society’s” are being controlled. It is not uncommon for people to use others for their own benefit, treating them as a resource. In “Gamer” people are given the option to do this anonymously online, making it very easy to exploit.

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