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« Profound Implications | Main | Revolution or Hypocisy? »

March 29, 2007


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Jan-Willem Bats

Another example of a 'serious game' can be found at www.costlife.org.

It is about a third world family.

The player needs to manage the lives of the 5 family members so that they're doing well after 4 years of ingame time.

I have played this game a dozen times and managed to find a way to bring it to a succesful ending. My family was in good health and wealth.

I don't see how it is ever possible to get any of these guys a diploma, though. I can never find the time for education. I'm always putting them to work to be able to afford the cost of life.


>>If we really want to get our hands dirty, we'd need to build up Stop Disasters scenarios for the advent of molecular manufacturing, self-aware artificial intelligence, global pandemic, peak oil and asteroid strikes.<<

I was struck by this sentence, specifically "the advent of molecular manufacturing" as being a DISASTER that needs to be stopped. Hopefully this is simply poor communication of ideas because I don't see this as automatically resulting in disaster. Can disasters result from it? Of course, but the same could be said with there being 10,000's of intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles. Yet, that disaster hasn't occured. The invention of the ICBM itself wasn't the disaster, but the use (or mass-use) would be.

I have the same issue with self-aware AI...

I know I'm supposed to assume the resulting disaster, but please don't be lazy in communicating these ideas. I don't want to see technologies that could save (and improve) millions of lives tossed out because we can't differentiate between technology run amok and the actual tech.

Mike Treder, CRN

Hm, you're right, Eric. The formulation of that sentence is somewhat misleading. I'm quite sure that Jamais meant to say we should explore MM-related scenarios for disasters that might occur. That's not the same thing as saying they definitely will occur, or that beneficial results will not be found. Jamais is on his way to Europe right now, I think, but I'll see if I can get him to respond as well.

Jamais Cascio

Mike is quite right: I don't see the advent of MM (or SA-AI, or even peak oil) as inherently disastrous. Each of these has the potential to be disastrous, however; a "Stop Disaster" model would, in these cases likely focus on preventing those types of outcomes as well as dealing with the aftermath.


I also forgot to say that I really enjoyed reading this in the first place. I've always thought that gaming/simulation would eventually spread well beyond the military and their war games.

I'd love to see something that shows how geography and native resources impact things like economics, politics, religion and population and technology. Then take all of those secondaries and see how they intermingle.

Throw in the human element at "critical" junctures.

It's always felt like a quantum computer-type simulation...

Tom Craver

From different perspectives:

1) Apocalyptic Nihilism: This is the abandonment of belief; decadence rules.
2) Apocalyptic Fundamentalism: This sees a retreat to certain beliefs (whether secular or religious); dogma rules.
3) Apocalyptic Activism: The transformation of belief; hope rules.

...Might be:

1) Grounded realism: seeing things the way they are; rationality directs
2) Reactionary Luddite-ism: rejection of potential progress; dogma rules
3) Blind Faith: believing things will "just turn out alright"; irrationality misdirects


1) Apocalypic Negativism: failure to see the value of humanity; pleasure seeking over-rules common sense
2) Pragmatic convervatism: a cautious outlook driven by understanding of all sides of human nature - positive and negative; balance is maintained or restored
3) Pollyanna-ism: blind optimism; novelty-seeking over-rules common sense

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