It might sound downright awkward, but games and movies created for fun and might give ideas for warfare of the future. One such game is Pokémon Go, a virtual reality-based mobile game that garnered huge popularity in very little time.

Pokemon Go
natureaddict / Pixabay

How Pokémon Go inspires warfare

Recently, the founding director of The Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO), Will Roper, spoke about warfare strategies and how they are influenced by technology. Roper’s job is to help the U.S. government prepare for “tomorrow’s war,” and he believes he has the “best job in the world.”

At South by Southwest (SXSW), Roper spoke about the role that popular war-themed games such as Call of Duty, Pokémon Go and Halo have in determining the types of wars that will happen in the future.

“Until now, games mimic warfare. But warfare will mimic games,” he said.

Roper told WIRED’s Nick Thompson, “I think they’ve [Pokémon Go] solved one of the toughest challenges for warfare” by making “amazingly complex information” “integrated with the person interacting with it.” Roper talked of a day when soldiers will be able to put a digital marker on the battlefield for concerned units to see, similar to how Pokémon Go allows millions of strangers to spot the same creature at the same location.

It’s all about keeping the interface simple

Game developers are highly skilled at creating simple interfaces that can be used to resolve complex problems, and no expert training is needed for the deployment of useful information.

“The interface is the key… the simplicity. Pokémon Go will allow us to learn. Add a roadblock, drop a marker, add a good sniper location,” the expert said.

Roper believes that “group play” could also help his department in the development of weapons and software. “Group play” allows people to connect with each other and share information from remote locations to keep mission-critical information updated.

While Roper doesn’t think that everything should be left in the hands of technology, he is in favor of delegating tasks to technology such as drones. The SCO used largely commercially-available technology to  develop autonomous drone swarms comprised of micro-UAVs, notes Wired.

In this case, if one of them is shot down, the other drones go immediately into action and cover the vacancy. Humans act as quarterbacks here laying out the plan while the machines perform the prescribed actions, believes Roper.