1. The World’s Largest Shopping Mall… Empty!
The largest mall in the world turns out not to be the famous Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. It’s the New South China Mall outside of Guangzhou, China. Outdoing the techniques of American consumerism, South China Mall is Disneyland, Las Vegas and Mall of America rolled into one. There are carnival rides, mini-parks, canals and lakes amid classic Western-style buildings with space for hundreds of shops. …the mall sits virtually empty of both shops and shoppers.
2. A World-Leading Tech Firm’s Office Park… Empty!
In filming at the IBM offices in Westchester N.Y., we were astonished to find the huge, slick office park almost deserted. We learned it was a byproduct of the fact that so many IBM employees telecommute from home or hotels. In fact, now, IBM is shifting a significant portion of their internal meetings into virtual worlds like Second Life, giving their employees another excuse not to come into the office.
3. U.S. Military’s Underage Recruitment Arcade… Full!
Declaring their (highly questionable) “Mission Accomplished,” the Army is shutting down a high-tech, $14 million recruiting center in a Philadelphia mall where gung-ho teenagers could sit atop a Black Hawk Simulator and “blow people away” in a virtual Afghan village in video games like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Strategically set between a skateboard park and arcade, the so-called Army Experience Center also featured Apache and Humvee simulators, a Global Base Locator and Career Exploration Area.
Military Entertainment Complex
Global conflict management has migrated into the Military Entertainment Complex, the domain of culture, media and the creative industries. A post-industrial network of military, media, and entertainment has taken over as the warlords and wizards of symbolic domination and information peacekeeping. Based on the subjective experience of instability and insecurity, a transfer of desire to the informational security apparatus shapes society towards authoritarian implications of psychological regression and dependence.
The collaboration of Walter Disney and Wernher von Braun, Disney’s expert on the “World of Tomorrow”, to sell terrestrial audiences on the idea of space with TV programs about Man in Space or Man on the Moon was deeply symbolic.
Pong, the first videogame and arguably the first computer game, was developed at Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1958 on the basis of missile trajectory plotting.
By now the technologies of war games, simulations and recreational computer games have converged and computer games and entertainment are overtaking the cultural and economic significance of the movie industry.
What John Naisbitt dubbed the Military-Nintendo Complex refers to an increasingly intense collaboration of high tech, media, military, and intelligence sectors involving personnel and technologies from both security and the entertainment industry in cooperative ventures. An unholy wedding of the security complex and the entertainment industry has been breaking the ground of what experts now consider the future of post-human conflict management. –Becker, Konrad 2009. Strategic Reality Dictionary.