A True Gamer Revolution Coming? (As in overthrowing governments?)

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Matt Barton's picture

I was intrigued by an article mentioned on Dan Carlin's Common Sense Show about Gerald Celente, an analyst who studies big trends. You can read about his views here, and I'll post a fun video below. But what really stood out to me was his view that "the youth of the world" will unite--using internet and web 2.0 tools (Wikileaks, etc.) and overthrow the governments. Why? Because we're sick about all the debt and inability to get clear of it.

I'd like to tie this more into gamer culture in particular. I plan to explore this topic in more depth in the next podcast, but wanted to get your opinion on it. Do you get pissed off that our governments seem so corrupt, inept, and unconcerned about you--and feel that it's getting to the point where it's time to do something about it? Perhaps you've considered turning to cybercrime?

I think there's something about the gamer (some might call it a "hacker") mentality that encourages us to see even big problems like debt and joblessness as eminently solvable and not just inevitable. We also don't tend to trust authorities and feel that we could get in there and fix it ourselves if we had access to the information (transparency) and means.

I've formulated a few of these beliefs or attitudes that I think all serious gamers (or at least Gen X gamers) share. Please let me know if you don't agree with one or more of these points and be specific.

  • The government is incompetent, corrupt, secretive, inadequate, or in general just not up to the task of making intelligent decisions for us. We want to know precisely what they're up to and have more input into how big decisions get made. Just occasionally voting isn't good enough.
  • Every problem is solvable if you open it up to enough minds and aren't afraid to pursue unlikely leads. We should already have colonies on other planets by now.
  • Science and technology provide far better answers to problems than religion and mysticism. We'd rather donate money to cure a disease than send missionaries to China.
  • Anyone who doesn't know at least the basic operations of a computer has no business in any position of authority over us.
  • We can do anything we want if we want it badly enough. There is nothing "beyond us" in the sense that we just aren't smart enough to learn it given the time and resources to learn it.
  • We believe in personal responsibility for every decision. We don't believe that we are forced to make decisions by governments, institutions, our employers, etc. We could always quit or refuse, and would if it meant breaching our personal code of ethics. None of us would ever be throwing the switch in a death camp because of "orders."

Celente has made some good predictions before, but I'm not going to sell the farm yet. But I do find his ideas intriguing and at times disturbing. Are you a "progressive libertarian?"

Comments

David (not verified)
Digital Democracy

You are zeroing in on a trend called digital democracy, and it scares the ever living crap out of constitutional purists and establishment figures. The funny thing is, I don't think anyone has thought about the potential role gaming culture could play.

Yeah...you have a real point.

clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
I cant see it. The people who

I cant see it. The people who created the mess we are in are at least accountable as they dont hide behind identity free posts (they just hide behind everything else). Also the youth we are talking about are the same ones who cant show up for a job 5 days in a row, have a car their parents bought them, and have no idea about the real sacrafice a real change would mean. Maybe age has made me that grumpy old guy in my youth i laughed at.. but I had to show up for work. I have more freind than I care to mention who manage stores (and I hired people for my dept also) kids dont show up for work.. they work 2-3 days and have to be away for this reason or that. My friend who owns a video store hasnt had a kid work 2 weeks in a row without a day off. I'm not sure I want them running or changing anything.
Of course, who knows, maybe I am the grumpy old man who doest see the change comming... the people running our countyr sure cant make any changes.. maybe some slacker can do it :)

Matt Barton
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He might be on to something.

He might be on to something. There's no doubt that the youth in the 60s had a real impact that we're still feeling today. Indeed, I can't think of any other generation that has had anything close to that impact. Now that Gen X's are finally getting into important positions and the like--or realizing that they're screwed and will NEVER get into those positions without major change--we might indeed start to see that again.

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gilgamesh (not verified)
The Empire Strikes Back

The goal of the Sirius Program is to create Serious Games to train participants and measure their proficiency in recognizing and mitigating the cognitive biases that commonly affect all types of intelligence analysis.

http://www.iarpa.gov/solicitations_sirius.html

Nous
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Joined: 04/07/2007
Interesting! My main worry,

Interesting!

My main worry, more than anything else probably, is that most people's knowledge ("education" but not strictly in an academic sense), attention span and discipline is pretty low.

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Mark Vergeer
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Smart or not?
Nous wrote:

Interesting!

My main worry, more than anything else probably, is that most people's knowledge ("education" but not strictly in an academic sense), attention span and discipline is pretty low.

Indeed, in most educated countries the average intelligence of the public is that of a 12 year old. Of course people have had life experience and all that, but the majority of people have the intellectual capacities of a 12 year old and don't grow much beyond that. Pretty harsh but that is the case, people writing or making media for the general public or are in the public information business will be able to tell us all about language levels in texts and that a lot of effort is put into making text readable for larger audiences by simplifying texts.

Not all societies/countries focus as much on training language skills and the ability to express oneself in the schooling systems. My experience in the US is that it gets a lot of emphasis and that is a good thing as it makes people more vocal and able to speak out in a coherent way. In the Netherlands this is less the case - despite our high level of education - but there are quite a few folk that are not able to string two coherent sentences together. Often in lower socio economic groups people tend to focus less on getting a good education and give in to the distractions of today's society even more - so attention spans are quite low. Everybody thinks they have ADHD but basically they are overwhelmed by the amount of information that is thrown at them and not all can keep up.

Smart people often end up with more money but studies have shown that IQ is NOT directly correlated to the amount of money in the bank. That is attributed to much more other traits and factors.

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Anonymous (not verified)
I think you're absolutely

I think you're absolutely right, but in order for things to be right in the world, there is so much that would have to change. Like, eating habits, shopping habits, transportation styles, and such. The world isn't right if we're constantly making it too easy for us to survive. It insures a lot of waste.

davyK
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Joined: 05/21/2006
The government is

"The government is incompetent, corrupt, secretive, inadequate, or in general just not up to the task of making intelligent decisions for us. We want to know precisely what they're up to and have more input into how big decisions get made. Just occasionally voting isn't good enough."

yeah - and what is the alternative? An election isn't perfect but until there's a real alternative its all we have got.

With too much input continously getting everyone's opinion you just get a mess and achieve nothing. How many statues are raised to committees? Somebody has to make the call and its too easy to jeer from the cheap seats. Got a problem with government? Get your name on an election paper.

Someone has to be in chair. Coalition governments are essentially crippled - like what we have now here in the uk.

Economics is just too complicated. Strategies need time and space to adjust to events and good politics is about getting a consensus to make the right choices. There is too much emphasis on soundbytes and suntans on TV now. Too much political point scoring between parties.

Mark Vergeer
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Digital democracy

What happens is that social structures and the way news travels is much more global than ever before. Freedom of speech and different people highlighting events from their points of view makes the established news media less powerful, makes the government less powerful as both can't exercise their information shaping techniques as they would like - they are less in control.

Same goes to a large extend for media and game companies. The global public goes "hey why is it okay to have access to this and that service/game/movie/tv series for them and why can't we?" when they try to regionize their releases trying to milk as much money out of the public as possible. Hushing or trying to cover up faults can be pretty damaging for the big companies too as the global public just doesn't take the crap.

The thing is that the global public is not regulated, basically is perceived as a mob by the powers in place. And they fear that Chaos will be the result - and to some extend their fear may be justified as we as a human species are still very power happy and even untrue rumors spread through the global audience as wildfires.

Hence the lockdown / forces trying to regulate and dominate commerce (free trade and fair trade are illusions), Internet (the revolutions in the middle east may have looked totally different if the Internet hadn't been available)...

People with power and money (and sadly in quite a few countries the two are more or less synonymous) are willing to do just about anything to hold on to it hence the current situation. My question is, is this the beginning of a big global social turnabout? I that a good or a bad thing?

Are we all reading too much into this?

Perhaps it is time for the united federation of planets from StarTrek to be instated as for some reason they seem to function without any form of monatory system, although the Ferengineith their gold bars of pressed Latinum do seem to think otherwise.

I do think that the Internet is beginning to change our society even more so then ever before as it is becoming even more of a mainstream thing. Some argue it even is a basic human right to have Internet access. If the latter is the case what about the governments, companies restricting those rights?

Very interesting discussion, topic.

Mind you change can be good but people need to be safe too. So how to deal with these changes in a transparent knowledgable and wise manner?

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Matt Barton
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I'm not quite sure what to

I'm not quite sure what to think of the internet in terms of its influence on our civilization (in a global sense). Some people seem to think it's absolutely huge, the most significant invention since the wheel or printing press. Others seem to think it's just a phase or even an impediment to our growth.

There's a great book by Walter Ong called Orality and Literacy that focuses on how writing changed the way we think. I'm tempted to say the internet is having an even more dramatic effect, since now more and more of us can not only easily communicate with text and audio, but images, video, and even programs. Probably more important than just communication, though, is the ability to archive all this stuff, search through it, and datamine it.

I think better algorithms are the key. Algorithms to find what we need, to recognize patterns that none of us would ever see in huge mountains of data, algorithms to tell us what we want, even. If we think now about extending the range of our human senses, we might think about a pair of binoculars. But, as you say, the the real problem is not being able to see much, but rather in seeing SO MUCH that we are overwhelmed! A good algorithm could help us sort out the noise and get to the signal, whatever that is.

On the other hand, Ong makes some good points about oral societies (societies without writing). They have incredible memories and all sorts of "algorithms," if you will, for retaining information, mostly in the form of poetry, songs, and stories. It could be that we've become so dependent on the ability to store stuff and quickly look it up that we aren't able to retain as much in our head--and that could have dire consequences for thought. What do you think?

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