Thursday, February 07, 2013

Gamification of life: Vegetarian? Really? You didn´t say that on your profile... (#EDMOOC)

On week 2 of the E-learning and Digital Culture course, we´re looking to the future. We have more films to analyze and now they´re related to visions of technology and education, exploring more utopian and dystopian discourses. I found the “Sight” movie dystopic (and very, very disturbing).
Sight from Sight Systems on Vimeo.

The main character seems to be addicted to gamification. For example: he´s hungry, opens the fridge and grabs a cucumber. Here comes a game asking him to put the cucumber on the exactly place and while he chops it, receives rewards: well done, you´ve chopped correctly! Then TV break announces that: “Life is a journey and on this journey we all want to live more – and with no boundaries”.

And off he goes to have a romantic meeting. And guess what? He has a “dating app” that scores the level of his questions, suggests him to give more alcohol to the lady and checks everything that´s written on her profile. A conversation that is mediated but technological rewards: “excellent, good job, amazing”. 

The end of the movie is scary. She realizes that the guy is using this “dating app”, calls him a creep and decides to leave the scene immediately. That´s when he says “stop”, letting her without movement. After accessing her profile again, he  suggests “shall we start everything again?”.One of my course’s classmate called this “a rape”. I agree this scenario is similar to rape because she couldn´t escape from the situation and was forced to do something against her previous desire intentions.
Will technology give us a second chance to perform better in the future? Will we be addicted to this kind of technological intelligence that gives us hints to win conversations, contests and everything else? Will we feel like losers when we choose to act simply based on our own feelings and moral ethics? “Sight” points out to a dark future in my opinion.

The instructor Jen Ross says that gamification in recent years has been argued to harness the motivating qualities of games for all kinds of purposes, including learning. I even discovered a “Gamification WIKI” (!), with an interesting explanation: Gamification doesn't rely on internal motivation. Instead, it's using the oldest tricks in the book: providing instantaneous feedback, egging on the competition, and rewarding even tiny steps of progress. Gamification assumes that the player isn't especially motivated -- at least at the beginning -- and then provides barrels of incentives to ramp up that motivation”.

I´m curious to read and learn more about “game-based learning”. I´m sure there are plenty of benefits, but the danger is to teach people, specially the youngest, that everything has to be fun. Life is not always funny, is it? In the real world we won´t likely receive smalls rewards each tiny step we take. In the name of humanity, we should not.

And here comes one more video about the “fun theory”.

Quick, easy and fun... to do, to learn, to live.

Is this the way to live without boundaries? I really don´t think so. 

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