So I decided to review the podcast put out by the Discovery Chanel called ” Next World – Sim City .” It discussed how new technology is being built that crosses over from being distinguishably virtual to almost like a second reality.
I think that this was a great podcast because it posed a lot of good points. Firstly, games, such as Sim City, are more like toys because they have “a more controllable” feel where the user can alter what ever they want really.
Secondly, technology like this is being used for high risk job training, such as security emergency responses and flight practice for pilots.
Thirdly, and most importantly, this lets people play out a scenario in their mind with out real consequences. People can easily build and create entire metropolises with out conquering the world. They can create their utopia and see what it would be like in reality, with out actually forcing people under their will.
In one sense, this builds a bit of a cult-leader mentality for the user because he or she can become a little bit over controlling which may transfer into his or her daily life, especially considering the games are trying to push the boundary of fantasy and reality to such extremes.
In another sense, however, this could be a very useful educational tool. To help learn about different social organizations and just how difficult it is to manage people, students could be assigned different scenarios that they must create (i.e. different building budgets to represent different degrees of poverty or wealth) and manage. They then could reflect on what they learned and what they would change given the opportunity to do it over again. They could also write a reflection on how their scenario is real in the world (i.e. where is this situation most prevalent, what is happening currently to change the problems they faced, etc.) to build a deeper meaning beyond the realms of the game.
Overall, I really enjoyed this podcast! If anyone has five minutes to themselves and wants to ponder technology, give this one a try!