It crossed my mind, when reading doofa's OP, that there are certain people who will now take one of these out, make an overhead pass or seven in their helicopter until the gun has killed the prize buck / elk / whatever for them and then go home to bask in the knowledge that they are truly the great hunters that their ancestors aspired to be. The Donald Trumps of the world will soon be able to pretend that they are Jim Corbett or Harry Selby with an even greater level of self-delusion.
The thought of what criminal / deranged / terrorist snipers may be able to do with these is pretty damn sobering, too. If any average shot is going to be able to be computer-corrected into the equivalent of a sharpshooter who has adjusted correctly for virtually every aspect of prevailing conditions, then as this technology becomes cheaper and more widely distributed (and you know it will), everyone from the nutcase taking potshots from his roof at passersby to every kind of terrorist is gonna be a lot more dangerous.
It's time to order those Kevlar footy pajamas with the hood that your fashion sense told you weren't appropriate for business casual. They are now de rigeur for any trips between your home bunker and the bulk-goods distributor with the best price on Spam.
At $17k this rifle will appeal to only the most wealthy of psychopath, so fear not Chuck, unless you live in the posh part of town
But think about how quickly electronics drop in price as each new generation supercedes the last. How long before these are $19.95 on the blue-light table at K-mart because everyone wants the one that can store your entire cd collection and play it for you over your wireless headphones so that you can listen to the soundtrack from "Enemy at the Gates" while you shoot?
Spotters in a combative sense aren't there to provide a hit/no hit call, (although they can and do that job) If a marksman understands how to control the recoil of his chosen platform, he can manage those effects to ensure he is able to put his cross hairs on the target immediately following release.
Bullet trajectory over long distance is influenced by many factors - distance, weather, humidity, spin drift and the coriolis effect are just some of those which need to be addressed together with the weapon platform's physical capability and the nature of the round you wish to fire.
At the end of the day, tech like this is fantastic but, someone has to carry and set up the thing and, Murphy's law of warfare states "What can break, will break" thus, someone still has to retain the ability to make the shot using conventional marksmanship skills.
Knowing what a precision marksman has to do to set themselves and their weapon into a stable platform (not to mention getting to a location suitable to take the shot,) setting an electronic system up is going to be just as complex and just as easy to **** up.
17k isn't a lot in terms of military precision grade rifles, the current British .338 complete is roughly 22k
If this computerized scope can break, well so can a regular scope. You test it for a year or two in field conditions, and if it is reliable enough, and can cut the time needed to train a sniper, or it can out-compute his calculations faster etc. than why not use it? they do it with artillery, missiles, etc. why not personal firearms?
This thing is going to have some inherent limitations when it comes to long range shooting. There's no way in hell it can accurately assess wind speed and direction downrange. It can do it at the rifle, but wind conditions can often be very different downrange.
Another problem from a tactical standpoint is that this would require electronic modifications to the rifle itself. So, if your electronic trigger shits the bed, then what?
I do think this sort of technology is the future, but I think from a practical standpoint it will happen in baby steps. For instance, Barrett already has the BORS ballistic system that offers most of the features this rifle does. The difference is that it doesn't adjust for wind and the rifle doesn't fire itself. BORS also has the advantage of a well tested, bulletproof, military grade design. It requires no modifications to the weapon and you can pick one up for $1400.