How ego saved the world one game at a time

Like any reasonable thinking human, the topic of most interest to me is myself. But, I guess it is that understanding of my own ego that makes all of this “being human” think work? With that in mind, I will redirect my attention towards my own little obsession with understanding others focus on themselves. Which describes my my new found interest in studying influence, motivation, and whatever that other fancy word is for “what makes people do the things they do.” I am currently naive enough to believe the way to change the world, and make it a better place, is to master the art and science of influence.

This is why gaming theory is so interesting to me right now. For better or worse, social gaming has discovered a way to drive people to do things that are not necessarily in their best interest (a.k.a. give someone else money for no tangible ROI) i.e. spend $3 on a “flower” that is nothing more than 2k bits of completely un-unique data.

What if some of the lessons learned by these companies could be applied to social-change and make the world a better place? What if we could derive ways to inspire people to do something else that is not necessarily in their best interest (a.k.a. give someone else money for no tangible ROI) i.e. spend $3 towards the drilling of a water well that potentially saves more than 2k lives.

Fortunately, a lot of the research has already been paid for by the entertainment industry. So, my real task will be discovering a way to get them do do something that is not in their best interest. I guess it is time to go back to studying ego.

Tell an Alternative Story

Neither revolution nor reformation can ultimately change a society. Rather you must tell a new powerful tale. One so persuasive that it sweeps away the old myths and becomes the preferred story. One so inclusive that it gathers all the bits of our past and our present into a coherent whole. One that even shines some light into our future so that we can take the next step. If you want to change a society, then you have to tell an alternative story.

[ via Ivan Illich ]