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CATS Log Book Entry 6- TED Talk- Sherry Turkle, Connected but alone?

This is the second of the TED Talks that we was asked to write up upon for further research as part of our “Contextualising Digital Cultures” topic about the area of “Futures”.

Sherry opened with her daughter texting her “you will rock” and went on to say I am a person who loves getting texts I am part of the central paradox but I will go on to say too many texts are bad for you. 20years ago she did her first TED Talk and was going to be on the cover of wired magazine for her work.

Those devices in our pockets are so powerful they don’t only change what we do but they change who we are. some quick examples are texts during work, school, meetings etc. which is referring to how texting is taking us away from the social aspect of life, the importance of real life connection and eye contact is key to build us as a human being, we are setting ourselves up for trouble. I strongly agree with this as I hate the idea that if I for example said to my friends “want to go play football at the park” that they would reply with through text message or some form of communication “im ok, we can just go on fifa” this is taking away social interaction we as human beings believe we are still interacting but when really we are hiding behind some form of screen so we are alone, and that is removing us from an important aspect of life which is interaction with other people/ social skills.

We are alone but together as we are connected through social networks, contacts, messages etc. but you only want to pay attention to the bits that interest you as if  you are hiding from each other. Sherry calls it the “goldilocks effect” not too far, not too close, just right its controlled to their liking, its a problem for the younger generation as they don’t develop any communicative skills. She talked to a 18 year old boy who texts for nearly everything and he said to her “…someday, someday, but certainly not now, I would like to learn how to have a conversation…” which makes you think what? how have you not got them skills its a aspect of life, and the answer is edit and delete and perfect what we say though social communications, conversation is now connection. People think that all those tweets, texts, posts add up to one big communication but they don’t as they remove the understanding and the learning of conversation with others effects the conversations we have with ourselves. Its so vital for children to interact with others to avoid segregation but if you would rather “text than talk” it allows people to chose to ignore you and that no one could be listening behind the technology.

Socialable robots is the term she used, we are losing so much confidence we think that the computers care for us that’s why things like Facebook are so appealing to make us feel like we are being listened too when actually its removing us. Its pretend empathy.

We now expect more from technology and less from each other, as technology appeals to us best when we are vulnerable so it gives is an illusion of companionship as we are afraid of real life companionship and its problems whereas the computer seems to be the centre of a perfect storm as we never feel alone. “Being alone feels like a problem that needs to be solved” but connection is a symptom rather than a cure it shapes a new way of being to try make yourself understand you rather than feeling we connect to try bring a feeling causing isolation.

“All we will ever know is how to be lonely” as the lives on the screen isolate you rather than make you communicate. I do agree with her to some extent as yes the devices are used to connect to others to talk but that doesn’t mean that us as people are becoming purely connected through these devices, I know I myself would rather talk to someone than text as it breaks down the barriers and allows you to bond with another people to create a friendship or possibly more. But if we recognise our vulnerability to technology then we will truly see that the virtual worlds are not truly us the human life is us.

If technology is used properly it can lead us into the future and our dreams it can make this life “the life we love”.

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CATS Log Book 6- TED Talk Jane McGonigal The Future of Gaming.

This is an addition to my Log Book 6 as further research on the “Futures” topic in our Contextualising Digital Culture series. This video is  TED Talk from Jane McGonigal who talks about the Future of Gaming and how it can make a better world.

Her name is Jane McGonigal she is a Games Designer who has been in the industry for 10years, she opens with a statement of what she wants to do which is “to make it as easy to save the world in real life as it is in a online game” from her research she found out the world plays 3billions hours of gaming a week but that is actually no where near enough to be solving all the worlds problems, the world doesn’t game enough. Sounds mad as most people have a lot to do outside the world of gaming but she wants 21billion hours of gameplay every week which is 7times the current amount if we are to survive the next 100years on earth.

A phrase she used to describe an image of a captured game face of a gamers on the very of an “epic win” an epic win is a term I use a lot in my gaming time as it refers to a huge/ awesome success in your gameplay its a shock of your capabilities in game, recently for me it was finally defeating the Master difficulty on Resogun PlayStation 4. This was used to contrast the face of people who solve the real worlds problems which we see as a bore as its not as much as a “epic win” as in the game world, I think this insight is a fantastic way at looking at things the passion of “epic wins” achieving what you think is the impossible why cannot that be used to bring out the best of us in the world today. Collaborations in games of how 100000’s of people are ready online to assist you in your future endeavours, like a quest on a massive online multiplayer role playing games people from all over the world might want to join you due to their particular skill sets. We don’t get that enough in real life.

Another quite humour related thing she said was the level up reference, in games we level up e.g. +1 strength +1 vision etc. so we have a sense of achievement every time we play games which gives us progression, whereas she said “im not going to go off the stage with +1 speaking +1 crazy ideas…+20 crazy idea you don’t get that in real life”. Its so inspiring to be on the verge of a epic win people spend so much time gaming to achieve that so if that was incorporated into real life achieving.

The 10,000 hours of success theory was then mentioned, referring to research that young gamers now play by the age of 21 on average of 10,000 hours of gaming so this is a parallel education to school. So what do gamers achieve and what they learn? well gamers are always made of these 4 superpowers:

Optimistic: they always think an “epic win” is possible.

Social fabric: gamers take a lot of trust to collaborate and work with someone else so collaborations in real life are much easier for gamers it builds stronger co-operation.

Blissful productivity: we know when we play a game we are more happy to work hard than relax on something we want to focus and be inspired into.

Epic meaning: gamers want to be world saving heroes so meaning to life with an epic objective will bring the best out of people who game more.

Gamers are “super empowered hopeful individuals” they believe and want to save the world but are confused to think they can only do it in the game world when they can do it in the real world with these 4 superpowers combined.

“We have to make the real world more like a game” I cant help but want to jump up in joy at this statement from her, gamers are so underestimated in all areas of life and sometimes are shunned or rejected due to their gaming activities when its actually games have been proven to increase all your reactions and give you these superpowers as Jane said so we are the future of the human race. Games are used to get away from all the worlds bad like hunger, famine, drought, disasters etc. what she references is making a world real life game where everyone is given a adventure from e.g. a roll of a dice it will give them a sense to achieve the “epic win”.

She rounded up with 3 survival real life simulated games which the first one was “world without oil” where they use your current location to gather feeds of data about cost of oil and what you have to do is solve how you can live without oil “if you emerge them in an epic adventure most of the players keep up the habits they gain in the game”, the 2nd was “the global extinction awareness computer” it made everyone collectively decide on the future of energy, health, food, security and social safety net it made people come up with over 500 insanely inventive ways of the human race future, and finally the 3rd game is “evoke” “if you have a problem, and you cant solve it alone, evoke it”- African proverb. If you complete the game you will be certified by the World Bank Institute as a social innovator working with universities all over Sub-Saharan Africa to imagine there own world saving social enterprises.  All these games are simulations of getting people to achieve the “epic win” in a simulated real life situation, especially with the last game making you a certified social creative is fantastic.

“Gamers are a human resource that can be used to save the world”. Let the world changing games begin.


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Log Book Entry One: 4/10/13 CATS

In our first lesson for CATS (Critical and Theoretical Studies) we was given an introduction to what we would be doing in CATS, this involved learning the history, theories and perspectives of Games Design to give us a “toolbox of information” about our chosen course. We will study others to give us inspiration which we will also critic.

For our first exercise we was given  multiple pictures and asked to us what they meant to our subject, for example there was a range of pictures from the Magnavox Odyssey (the first household games console) to the iPad (the all in one tablet). We decided as a group to individually discuss each picture and how it was relevant.

Then we was asked how Cultural artefact, Material culture, Media practice and Form of entertainment was relevant to Games Design, first off as a group we identified they all are in some way. Cultural artefact– The history and future of gaming shapes cultures of all ages due to the social participation and how it brings people together, for example: women’s role in gaming. Material culture– that a game has evolved into a social gathering online to speak and play co operatively. Media practice– one of the largest industries in the world with around 70% of people play video games. Form of entertainment– Goes without saying really one of the most prominent forms of entertainment around with around 3billion hours a week spent gaming as a planet.

We was then asked our opinions of what we believe the relationship is between a game and a gamer. This is not a straight forward question to answer due to it is totally reliant on both the game (emotional, shooter, adventure etc.) and the gamer (regular, occasional, rarely or hard-core) these factors both play a part in how engaged the gamer will be in the game so it totally depends on the situation.

After this we watched this TED lecture by Kevin Kelly on How technology evolves

Once we had watched this we was given our brief and some homework. The homework set was some keywords and also was to bring in a picture which to me personally meant gaming, I have chose to pick a childhood system which to this day is the reason why I am so passionate about gaming and have chosen to pursue it as a career, The PlayStation 1. This system was bought for me when I was just 2years old and I enjoyed many hours on games such as Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, which are still my favourite games to this day.