Alex Quinn, the new Executive Director of Games for Change, (center) moderated a
panel with Adam Green of MoveOn.org (left) and Ted Castronova of Indiana
University (right), on the intersection of public policy and games. Adam talked
about how activists working on Net Neutrality were looking to expand
their outreach to the gamer community and were launching a new
initiative “G4C-MoveOn Gamers Task Force.” Ted argued that
virtual worlds present an enormous opportunity for new kinds of social
science research and public policy change.
My notes from their comments follow.
Ted Castronova of Indiana University
I’m supposed to talk about what I as a policy scholar am learning from video games. I’ve always been a dilletante in PC games while I was an economist scholar. So I wrote a paper on virtual economies and here I am.
I’m trying to change how social scientists do their research. The argument: getting social scientists to do their work differently is a way to unlock social transformations. I believe that quantitive social scientists have capacity can help effect policy change.
We can use virtual worlds as a petri dish. Taking lessons of natural sciences, controlled experimentation, an incorporate into social science research. It’s hard to establish causation in the social sciences. Introducing the controlled experimental method could unleash enormous policy change.
How does this become social change. The role of fantasy is very important. Fantasy is hypothesis. Scientific research on society is about experimenting different ways of living together. This would result in persuasive findings and lead people to imagine different lives for themselves.
- Quakers: their radical lifestyle example changed the way we live today.
- Luudium II: the idea is toget people together to conceive of a party platform in a game environment and imagine what that would be like.
- The Arden Shakespearean Virtual World: The big secret of the Arden World is that it’s not about literature, its about tweaking the money supply and seeing what happens.
See out website for more info at http://swi.indiana.edu.
Adam Green of MoveOn.org
Adam talked about their work on net neutrality as an issue, working with a range of other organizations, companies and individuals as part of the Save the Internet coalition. They are looking to bring into the effort the gamer community through the new project “G4C-MoveOn Gamers Task Force.” They plan on a number of activities including:
- Custom games and machinima about Net Neutrality
- A Second Life headquarters for Net Neutrality advocacy
- Organizing gaming blogs to talk about this issue
- Bring together a leadership team to coordinate this work
Go to http://Civic.moveon.org/games to sign up and get involved.