21 June 2010

Serious Gaming ~ Solving Real World Problems

Thanks to MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge (and VC) colleague Claire Wadlington for spotting this Fast Company piece IBM's CityOne Is Like Sim City, Except the Solutions Are Real by Cliff Kuang. He gives a shout to IBM's under-development CityOne...
"... a video game that plops you into the role of being a city planner, trying to solve the sorts of business and environmental problems that grip today's modern cities. The ultimate aim for this so-called "serious game" is to teach laypeople how to better cope with complex modern problems by showing them the forest of solutions that have to be brought to bear, ranging from technological wizardry like smart grids, to better IT, to smart environmental policy."
On the serious gaming front, see here Jane McGonigal's TED talk on Gaming Can Make A Better World... I'm very keen on serious games for helping us crowdsource solutions to complex problems as well as doing experimental interventions on randomized populations of social gamers. Experimental and synthetic sociology, here we come! Indeed, here WSJournal blogger Michael Casey writes Real Economist Learns From Virtual World about a virtual...
"...world controlled and influenced by the interactions of real people: the 350,000 real world subscribers to EVE Online -- its "capsuleers," as the spaceship-piloting gamers are known in their virtual existence. These people’s actions, economists say, offer a treasure trove of information to study and analyze, primarily because each one of their decisions leaves a trail, creating a vast database that economists can only dream of in the real world. In effect, it creates a giant laboratory within which to study human behavior, dramatically scaling up the kind of classroom-based experimental economics that were pioneered by 2002 Nobel Prize winner Vernon Smith."

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