Gamified Life: Signs and Meanings

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Gamified Life: Signs and Meanings
Albina, Bogdan
Cho, Jaeweon
gamification; semiotics; game as experience
Issue Date
Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology
The contemporary human society is more connected than ever, with almost two-thirds of the human population predicted to have access to the internet by 2023. A more interconnected world should mean more ideas, more creative and social capital that can be exploited to obtain solutions to a rising number of global issues such as climate change, increase of relative poverty rates, increase of economic inequality, etc. What is the factor that allows humans to connect on such an unprecedented level? Disregarding technology, I assume games and narratives to be the factor that allows people to come together and maintain this connection. From here on, I will present some reasons why games have been an ever more present part of human civilization and how they have been recognized as important parts of solving problems (and recently gained official recognition under the term “gamification“). The study will switch to semiotics theory and how this theory can explain a range of meanings assigned to games, especially in the contemporary world that most of the time associate games with video games. I would explain why gamification is different than games in both content and meaning, and I will propose a new concept of the game as experience that could help bridge the space between games and gamification while allowing gamification strategies to focus on the management and administrative advantages and allowing games to be restricted to their competitive nature. To bridge the space between concept and reality, I will develop several prototypes that will act as a starting point in exploring philosophical issues such as education and alternative currencies, personal identity in virtual worlds, and social justice through the game as experience model. The simplest game as experience model is based on educational games (also labeled as serious games), which are criticized for “losing their charm” once the users discover their limitations. Instead, the game as experience model will focus on creating an experience instead of a fixed set of rules. Because humans are natural players in relation to their environment and other human agents, it is in our own interest to take advantage of our strong intuitive decision-making mechanism and incorporate flexible rules instead of winning conditions. To do this, there is the necessity of experimenting with AI (artificial intelligence) and creating academic games. The commercial gaming industry is stuck in fixed business policies and is averse to risk incorporating a robust AI in commercial games, even though there exists a big connection between AI and games, in the sense that AI can make better games and games can improve the AI research. AI is one of the top growing technologies that pose multiple philosophical, social, and economic issues, to mention a few. While we can use games to study AI from a technical and algorithmic point of a view, I propose that the model of game as experience can be used to study the social issues of AI, both the issues of human-machine competition and human-machine cooperation in a safe medium, in order to understand the social impact of new technology, which grows at an accelerating pace in contrast to the understanding of the impact this new science has on the human being.
Department of Urban and Environmental Engineering (Convergence of Science and Arts)
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