Phaedra Boinodiris, serious games program manager at IBM, writes a guest editorial on Forbes exploring the way that games can be used to energize and enhance other things besides research projects. The point of her editorial is that researchers have been helped greatly by games created to solve problems that take advantage of "collective intelligence," and global participation. This, she says can be used by governments, businesses, educational systems and non-profits to solve serious problems and accomplish other lofty endeavors.
Her point is that we are in a special place in history:
"There’s never been a time when people can work together on such a grand scale. Every day, from our Facebook posts to the apps we use, we’re engaging and contributing online. At the same time, we know all too well how complicated and interconnected the systems underpinning our societies and economies are becoming. Faced with this complexity, we’ve become a world of information seekers."
She then offers some examples of games that could use collective intelligence and crowd sourcing to solve some serious issues:
•Relief organizations, faced with ever more complicated and urgent emergencies around the world, could put together games that thousands could play to help map out more effective ways of coordinating care, getting the right aid to the right place, and pulling together coalitions of groups.
•Businesses could use games internally to tap the expertise of employees around the globe, uncovering ways to improve internal operations, get innovations to market faster, or target the right products to the right audiences more effectively.
•At the same time, governments and nonprofits could help citizens gain a better understanding of particularly intricate challenges, such as global warming, by letting them model different scenarios under which greenhouse gas emissions rise or fall – and the resulting impact on the acidification of oceans, sea levels and agriculture.
Boinodiris also points out that games teach skills that can be applied to the real world, and more business colleges and governments should use them to teach these skill sets or utilize players to solve problems using these skills.
You can read the entire article here.