Once we cracked it we became unstoppable. Most people thought we were unstoppable before, but that’s only because it had been so long since we’d been stopped. We were only overwhelming back then—still impressive, but not quite the same as unstoppable. Our chances of ever losing another battle went from non-zero to zero.
It was a point system that did it.
The Internet of Things was birthed by the same midwife as its parent (the Internet itself): defense research. As inanimate objects became armed with sensors and transmitters and processors we bestowed them with the honorific smart: smart cars, smart watches, smart phones.
Smart optics. Smart rifles. Smart bullets.
Of course, none of these things had really earned the title yet, but eventually they would grow into it. Big data entered the warfare game.
The revolution was at the level of the individual soldier. They’d all grown up playing shooter games; it would be an unforgivable waste not to capitalize on those skillsets. They called it The Forge. Real-time data let soldiers know who got credit for every kill and who got the assist. Who was the most efficient with their ammo. Who was skilled and who was just lucky. Luck wasn’t a bad thing—it got you bonus achievements. There were trophies for fastest average time to clear a residence (minimum 10 times), badges for streaks (5 headshots in a row), and rewards for unlocking secret bonus objectives (take down a drone using an enemy RPG).
We didn’t even need to stamp out medals anymore. Points didn’t exist in the real world. They were free. We could make more anytime we wanted, like printing cash after ditching the gold standard. It even made the old ranking systems obsolete. Rank was tied to measurable, observable, verifiable data, and everyone could check their standing any damn time they pleased.
Yes, now that we can measure everything, we can’t be stopped by anything. So rest easy; the numbers say we’re winning.