This is a continuation of my Final Year Project development/research diary (ramblings).
So my project is coming along nicely, and I have been prodded by my research into an interesting thought; could gamification of the world be a way in which we can decentralise technology and include more people in large-scale problem solving?
In my research I have read a number of interesting thoughts and opinions from people who believe that the main problem with technology and industry is its central architecture/infrastructure. Technology (through industry) is a driving force of anthropogenic climate change, but some believe that this does not need to be the case; that it is only necessary to decentralise production and innovation to solve this issue.
Wendell Berry, for example (in Nye, 2006) calls for “a revolt of local small producers and local consumers against the global industrialisation of the corporations.”
A centerpiece of any strategy to achieve sustainability must be the accelerated development of local capacities in science, engineering, and health throughout the world (Hassan, 2001)
But the issue is this; how exactly do we decentralise the whole of the world’s technological industry and put innovation and problem-solving capacity back into the hands of the majority?
My project aims to explore this question through the use of technology itself. I.e. can a piece of technology itself be designed in a way that it encourages the user to take action against climate change?
I’m therefore currently experimenting with a system of gamification;
As I’ve discussed in my previous posts, my device grows food. In this “game” the healthy food is the prize to be won. To win the prize, the right conditions must be kept with are controlled by global pollution data – the more pollution, the worse the conditions get for the plant. The user can use technology (conceptually a simple button right now) sparingly to keep the system healthy as a metaphor for the need to reduce our dependence on technology for solving problems, thus putting a need for reduced pollution into the system.
Of course, the user is not going to be able to reduce the entire globe’s pollution (unless they happen to be CEO of Maersk or something). Therefore the game is one of collaboration. If everybody in the world had one of my devices in their kitchen, growing their own food, not only is the food production decentralised, so is the capacity for a solution. The point being that everybody must then collaborate to reduce their own emissions and pollution to achieve the desired results.
Ergo, decentralisation of innovation and climate change solution-finding through technology becomes attractive to the masses through gamification.