Thursday, August 16, 2007


Lately I have been thinking more and more about how we are automating our lives, and how wrong most people have been in their assumption that humans would welcome such advances with open arms.

Nobody wants to feel replaced by a machine, and nobody yearns for the existence of somebody who has nothing to do at all because robots do it all for them. How exciting is 72 years of life sitting on a sofa doing nothing? How horrible a fate that would be.

Anyway I was thinking along the lines of automation and how most tasks are being reduced to simply pushing a button. What if that pushing of a button was actually fun? Could you get people to do that task for you for free instead of paying them?

What if sitting at the console of a power plant watching all that information flowing around and monitoring everything was instead a game? Sure, it's a game where the lives of people are on the line but all video games have that. These are real people now, so its not so much a game as it is a job and you are all that stands between a city being powered and a huge explosion.

Still... what if that console was made differently, and the ideas and goals of a casual game were put in to it? Would it make your job more fun? Would it make you want to come to work every day and therefore get paid less?

See it has to come down to money at some point otherwise our reptillian overlords would never consider such a thing.

The power plant idea is just too over the top. But what about Taco Bell? I worked there once I kid you not. They have little bins with about 8 ingredients. Each menu item is really just those things combined in different ways. Didn't you notice how all their food tastes the same?

Replace the human workers with a robot arm and now make the entire staff just one person. He sits at his console playing a Diner Dash meets Cooking Mama type of a game where his moves are actually making real food and actually delivering these items to the pickup window. He gets efficiency bonuses, high scores, etc... they are compared to other workers at other stores and aggregate performance and customer feedback determines if you get paid a "High Score" bonus.

This is the psychotic world of the future I envision. Video Games will some day mediate our basic tasks. Children playing "shoot the zombies" really are controlling soldiers?

Hello. My name is Ender.

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