Jan 032011
 

Glasgow based digital animator John Butler is fascinated by ‘the long war’ between humans and finance, which he sees today as people battle with processes such as government cuts. His latest piece, The Ethical Governor, brought to our attention by Bella Caledonia, explores the concept of drone ethics.  In an exclusive interview with Dangerous Minds John Butler talked about the ideas behind The Ethical Governor and how they reflect today’s political, corporate and military world: “I’ve been very interested in all aspects of what is now branded as the Long War, which I see as a war between Finance and Humans, rather than East versus West, Capitalism versus Islam, or whatever. A military invasion to secure resources and a financial austerity package to placate bondholders are all part of a unified process. It’s just that force is applied in a somewhat cruder manner in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Africa. What I’ve done is transposed the action to the Homeland, where it will eventually arrive anyway. The Drones are Chamber of Commerce assets, part of the elite Milton Friedman Unit.”

What is the inspiration for the presentation?

“The piece is based on actual systems being developed in universities right now in anticipation of fully autonomous war fighting. What I’ve done is resynthesised an academic presentation to reveal it’s true intent. The language comes from the Military Educational Complex, but has been rewritten by the Butler Brothers to fictionalize it, and therefore make it more effective. Concepts like the “Ethical Adaptor” actually exist. I liked that aspect most of all, the calibration of guilt, and the option to override the Ethical Governor when convenient. I think that says it all about battlefield ethics. I like the idea of robots being “in Harm’s Way”, one of my favourite phrases. In John’s latest film – T.R.I.A.G.E. (Target, Respond, Identify, Administer, Globalise, Exit ) a sick and failing area is swiftly restored to sound financial health …

FILMS: The Ethical Governor, Fire and Forget, T.R.I.A.G.E. and John Butler’s Channel and ButlerBrothers, John’s own channel