There has been a lot of talk in the past about using computer simulations to train people. The military has pioneered this approach, so it was with interest that I read this article: New York Times (May 1, 2006) Mock Iraqi Villiages in Mojave Prepare Troops for Battle by Dexter Filkins and John F Burns, about the Fort Irwin training grounds.In order to improve the performance and expertise of US troops in handling counter-insurgency activity they have built mock Iraqi and Afghani villages complete with civilian population and insurgents drawn from the the Iraqi-American community.
Apparently this has been so effective that a three-week tour has been giving some of the soldiers battle fatigue and one soldiers career has been finished early due to excessive killing.
It goes to show how far technology has to go in order to provide an immersive experience compared to the real world.
Photo of a real house in Baghdad courtesy of the US Department of Defence.