A gun company named TrackingPoint recently figured that, since we now have smart cars and smartphones, why not sell a "smart rifle"? Since no one else was around to answer that question, they actually went ahead and made the thing: Meet the TrackPoint XS1, which can do everything from guiding shots to streaming video. Also, it has motherfucking USB ports.
"Now I can charge my PS3 remote AND shoot animals!"
It also holds the distinction of instantly turning any sucker who can afford it into a bona fide Bond-style world-domineering villain. How? Well ...
#3. It Makes Anyone a Professional Sniper
Have you always wished that you could shoot things from afar, but you don't have the skill, discipline, or minimum amount of sanity required to learn how to operate a rifle? Good news: The smart rifle is so smart that it even aims for you. Seriously. First you "tag" your target with a red dot on the rifle's display screen:
The "tag" stays put even if the target moves, or you sneeze really hard.
Then you just pull the trigger, and the gun waits until it's perfectly lined up with the target to fire, taking into account stuff like distance and wind direction. Meaning that this thing actually chooses when to shoot itself to get a perfect kill.
"We're putting the same technology into our new T-800 robot butler. 'T' is for 'terrific'!"
In other words, novice shooters can make a target at 500 fucking yards on their first try. By the way, the use of the word "tag" here isn't coincidental, because ...
#2. It Takes Facebook Spamming to a (Terrifying) New Level
Did you notice the word "REC" in the corner of the pictures above? That's there because this thing not only records your shots, but also streams them to mobile devices through a Wi-Fi connection.
The relationship between shooter and spotter is the cornerstone of our society.
If you can't see how that's troubling, keep in mind that the first thing people are gonna use this for is uploading images of that deer they (or, more accurately, their futuristic gun) killed on YouTube and Facebook. As the company's president explains, the idea is "making shooting more fun" for the "younger generation that embraces social media" -- they even have an app for it, and anyone who has actually used a Facebook app of any kind knows the ridiculous amount of spamming that comes with it. This will be no different.
Only, you know, instead of baby pictures, it's exploding animals you're watching. This can easily turn into a pissing match: We're probably going to see entire YouTube channels devoted to upping the ante of shit you can shoot -- and thanks to the fact that the gun does all the work, you can pretty much shoot whatever the fuck you want. And that's not even the worst part ...
#1. Someone's Going to Use It to Get Famous in the Wrong Way
Everything about the smart rifle seems designed to make the shooter think he's just playing a video game, from the FPS-like display screen we showed above to the dramatic animated logo at the beginning of the company's videos:
Presumably the slogan "EPIC. SHOT. FTW." was already trademarked.
Combine this with the fact that this thing practically comes wired to the Internet already and ... is there any chance some attention-seeking psycho won't at least try to use it to instantly turn himself into the new and upgraded Charles "Texas Tower Sniper" Whitman?
To be fair, the company did add some safeguards to prevent this type of thing: The guided aiming mode can be password protected, they vet their clients before selling them the rifles, and the things cost over $20,000 bucks anyway. But, at the same time, they're licensing the technology to another gun manufacturer who wants to make a $5,000 version.
Richard I'Anson / Lonely Planet / Getty
Nerf is presumably getting in on this action, too.
If this technology catches on, it's only a matter of time before someone with a poor grasp of reality gets his hands on it and something terrible happens. Or the T-800s rebel and kill us. Whichever comes first.