Trig­ger Happy

Shoot first, ask ques­tions later


Steven Poole sketches out our postBrexit, mi­grant-hunt­ing AR fu­ture

In the new sov­er­eign utopia that is post-EU Bri­tain, adults and chil­dren alike are go­ing nuts for the lat­est craze, Poké­mon Go Home. We took back con­trol of our borders; now

Poké­mon Go Home lets ev­ery­one help in the demo­cratic task of send­ing mi­grants back where they came from.

Us­ing ro­bust pro­fil­ing al­go­rithms and your smart­phone’s cam­era, the game has you search for mi­grants in streets, parks and cafés. With its deep-learn­ing tech, Poké­mon

Go Home sim­pli­fies the task of the vig­i­lante, who may not be able to tell at first glance who is a mi­grant and who isn’t. Af­ter all, a Pole might well speak bet­ter English than many of the na­tives, and will also be in­dis­tin­guish­able in skin colour. In this way have lit­er­ally bil­lions of East Euro­peans come over here to per­form skilled work while blend­ing im­per­cep­ti­bly into the pop­u­la­tion. But there is no fool­ing the AI be­hind

Poké­mon Go Home. On the AR dis­play, an Al­ba­nian orthopaedic sur­geon is suc­cess­fully rep­re­sented as ‘Al­basaurus’, a dis­gust­ing green mon­ster that frauduently lives on dis­abil­ity ben­e­fits, while a Lithua­nian mi­cro­bi­ol­o­gist is un­err­ingly un­masked as ‘On­cosaurus’, part of the im­mi­grant cancer that is eat­ing away at our coun­try.

Once you’ve tracked down and iden­ti­fied your un­sus­pect­ing mi­grant, you ‘col­lect’ them by throw­ing a brick to knock them out. The player must use an ac­tual brick, rather than a vir­tual one, but help­ful tar­get­ing in­for­ma­tion and phys­i­cal hints are pro­vided by the phone; as we all know, the govern­ment has thought­fully pro­vided stacks of ac­tual bricks for just this pur­pose at ‘Pokéstops’ all over the coun­try. When you have suc­cess­fully knocked out your tar­get, the app au­to­mat­i­cally con­tacts the Home Of­fice with a pre­cise GPS lo­ca­tion for the for­eigner, who is then picked up in an un­marked black SUV.

At this point the player is given two choices: send the mi­grant straight to a de­por­ta­tion-pro­cess­ing cen­tre, or build him or her into a pow­er­ful fighter. Ex­cit­ingly, mi­grants may be ‘trained’ us­ing tech­niques shared by our friends in CIA black-ops ren­di­tion re­search, in­volv­ing tor­ture, brain­wash­ing, and forced steroid in­jec­tions. When the player con­sid­ers them ready for bat­tle, mi­grants are paired off in a glad­i­a­to­rial fight to the death, con­ducted at one of many pub­lic ‘gyms’ in pop­u­lar lo­ca­tions. There are hun­dreds of such bru­tal fights tak­ing place ev­ery day all over the coun­try, though of course the mi­grants with the best train­ing stats do bat­tle at the most pop­u­lar sites, such as the Olympic Sta­dium, the fa­tal en­coun­ters streamed live via In­ter­net paysites.

The loser of each fight, of course, is blood­ily killed; the win­ner is trans­ported on a pun­ish­ment ship to an in­hos­pitable rocky is­land where it is planned that, once they are all let out of their cages, the last re­main­ing mi­grants found with Poké­mon Go Home will be forced to kill one an­other in a grand Hunger Games-style fi­nale un­til only one re­mains. At this point the last-ever mi­grant will be ‘plas­ti­nated’ while still alive ac­cord­ing to the preser­va­tion tech­niques de­vel­oped by Gun­ther Von Ha­gens, and the body, as a com­mem­o­ra­tion and a warn­ing, will re­place Nel­son atop the col­umn in Trafal­gar Square. Our coun­try will fi­nally be free of the scourge of the for­eign-born.

The suc­cess of Poké­mon Go Home, an­a­lysts sug­gest, arose from an in­no­va­tive com­bi­na­tion of two ideas: first, that the referendum re­sult made it nec­es­sary to ad­dress the “very real con­cerns” about im­mi­gra­tion held by much of the pop­u­la­tion; and sec­ond, that the best way to at­tack any so­cial prob­lem is through gam­i­fi­ca­tion.

Poké­mon Go Home’s ad­dic­tive way of gam­i­fy­ing xeno­pho­bia has shown that there is no so­cial ill that can­not be prof­itably ad­dressed in the same way. Af­ter all, be­fore she be­came prime min­is­ter, Theresa May had presided over the roll­out of bill­board vans that lit­er­ally ad­vised il­le­gal im­mi­grants to “GO HOME OR FACE AR­REST”. The new videogame re­al­i­sa­tion of such sen­ti­ments might ap­pear sick to a few elite met­ro­pol­i­tan lib­er­als still whin­ing about racism, but its over­whelm­ing pop­u­lar­ity should surely be proof enough that, in post-Brexit Bri­tain, the mood has changed. Fu­ture se­quels to

Poké­mon Go Home will en­able peo­ple to cathar­ti­cally en­act their danger­ously re­pressed fan­tasies of ab­duc­tion and abuse of any pre­ferred mi­nor­ity group, be­cause as we know, sim­ple arith­meti­cal ma­jor­ity now means jus­tice. As an­other strong leader once said, more or less: Gotta catch ’em all!

Once you have tracked down and iden­ti­fied your mi­grant, you ‘col­lect’ them by throw­ing a brick to knock them out

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