Documentarian Alex Gibney (Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine) takes on the Stuxnet story — and more importantly, its implications for the future of international relations, foreign policy, rules of combat, what have you. You know, global-scale life-and-death stuff. It’s more fun following the narrative if you don’t know too much going in (though a bunch of the hard reporting has appeared in the media already), but suffice it to say that Stuxnet is a piece of computer malware — spread across the world, discovered in Belarus, and analyzed in the U.S. — that can actually do the sort of things computer viruses do in the movies: i.e., manipulate computer-regulated machinery in destructive, potentially deadly fashion. Put another way: it’s the first proper cyberweapon. Don’t be distracted by the ominous score, the layered displays of code, the juxtaposition of bursting balloon and mushrooming cloud; that’s just (alarm) bells and whistles. Instead, pay attention to seasoned military officials talking about a weapon with unlimited range and an extremely low signature to the Iranian gentleman discussing unintended consequences of aggression, to the former director of both CIA and NSA mentioning August 1945, and to the gradual spread of secrecy as policy when it comes to war. (2016) — Matthew Lickona
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