Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED for short) is a foundation that is best known for hosting conferences at which speakers regularly deliver current, timely, and thought provoking discussions about, among other topics, the development of tech as it applies to society and life. Jane McGonigal, a gaming R&D director at the Institute for the Future, gave a fascinating talk at TED in February about gamers and their potential as a massive human resource in solving the problems of the world. The video of her talk went online at the TED website in March, but I just stumbled across it thanks to the magic of Twitter.
McGonigal delivers a lot of interesting and occasionally disturbing statistics about gamers, gaming, and World of Warcraft in particular, and then she draws some inspiring conclusions from that data. I personally don’t agree with the entirety of her talk and where she thinks things will lead, but I do think all those thousands of hours we spend leveling up our shamans and sending them on epic raids are developing benefits beyond our simple enjoyment of the game. Take a look at her presentation and see what you think. I’d be interested to hear our readers’ thoughts about all of this, as well as how the theoretical gamer-as-resource could be harnessed in the best way.