Is the world really a complex place, or have we made it one?
There is no doubt the world seems more complex than it used to be. While most of us techies revel in the possibilities new technologies bring, we hurtle ourselves at a speed that is too great for social-scientists to properly study the actual societal costs of change.
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Game theory isn't a novel idea, though in recent years we have obsessed over it more than ever. The answer to "how do I make people work without realising they're working?" continues to be elusive.
Make your users feel valued. Insert entertainment. Reduce the cost of interaction.
As a user-experience professional I know all these things because they are the psychological tools we use to keep our systems in play. But as a parent, I feel we might be evading a very fundamental law:
Some things are meant to be done because they are right, and these things might come at a personal cost.
I suppose one could gamify a crusade against poverty, tyranny, disease and war; badges for the number of orphans one supports through donations, made highly visible so active participants can proudly display their impact on the world. But doing so seems to cheapen the very basic tenets of doing good unto others, replacing it with a narcissistic, exhibitionist mechanism.
There are so many things in the world that could be made simpler. Cars needs only be looked upon as a mode (not a very environmentally-friendly one at that) of transport, not an indication of self-worth. A paycheck would dictate one's ability to help the less fortunate, not one's position and stature in life. Having children would be seen as a natural next step of life for married couples, not a means to increase a country's GDP.
If we could, even for a moment, be able to separate the game from the reality of it all, imagine the world we could achieve, all the bullshit we could leave behind. Where life is lived for its sheer joy; work, service rendered for the betterment of others; and children, a perpetuating of all that is good and beautiful in the world.
We are as babes that have learned only to grasp, and not to let go. Unable to take hold of that which is fairer.

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