Gorgon Stare

Ellen Nakashima and Craig Whitlock report for the Washington Post on the US military’s latest initiative in its never-ending quest to solve political problems with technological solutions:

This winter, the Air Force is set to deploy to Afghanistan what it says is a revolutionary airborne surveillance system called Gorgon Stare, which will be able to transmit live video images of physical movement across an entire town.

The system, made up of nine video cameras mounted on a remotely piloted aircraft, can transmit live images to soldiers on the ground or to analysts tracking enemy movements. It can send up to 65 different images to different users; by contrast, Air Force drones today shoot video from a single camera over a “soda straw” area the size of a building or two.

Most of all, this seems like a sad example of the decline of classical education in the United States. If you take current Air Force surveillance technology and ask “in what ways does this differ from the gaze of a gorgon” the natural response is “when you look into a gorgon’s eyes, you turn to stone, whereas today’s USAF surveillance has no petrification powers whatsoever.” The Gorgon Stare initiative appears to improve on current surveillance in a variety of ways, but involves absolutely no turning of anything into stone.