Thursday, December 26, 2013

Coffeehouses on Mars part 2

Spirit Mars Rover in 'McMurdo' Panorama. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

"The greatest threat to our civilization is boredom! Its the catalyst for bad behavior amongst the youth." Mr. Watson is he a chief elder in the ninth district. He seemed to erupt when called upon to speak. As if he'd been holding this thought in too long.. "We need to offer exciting new way to engage them in their work or I predict Mars will have to build its first jail."

Folks shuttered in the town hall. Shuttered because some of their children part of that troublesome bunch the elder is speaking on.

"There's successful pattern we've establish here, one that the youth aren't following. They not contributing the required three hours a day to the soylent plants, water works or machine shops. They are loitering in ever increasing numbers about the city. They aren't mastering a skill. They aren't suitable to marry. They aren't building with us! Still, I don't see this as their failure, but ours, the adults have failed them.

"What I propose the gamification of their work. Let's use technology to add interest and intrigue to the sameness of their duties at the plants. We could overlay a virtual world of castles, starships, goblins and behemoths. We could tell them you are a wizard or a warrior. While playing the game, they would learn the skill we want to teach them at the plant and they would get to live out a fantasy of their choosing." The elder had a captive, but skeptical audience.

\\ A beautiful woman raised her hand.

Sir, my name is Nadia, I manage the water works in the third district. Your idea is sound on its face, but aren't we depriving the youth of the lesson of life that not everything is exciting? Sometimes you do things because they have to be done.

\\Another women spoke up, also from the water works, she was a bit younger.

Elder, may I add, some of my friends would fall into this wayward youth category. I don't want them to get in trouble…

"Let me be clear, this is not a punitive measure. I consider the project a form of education. We can think of the games as parables. The students play through the parables and complete their work. Not only do they get a sense of accomplishment for finishing a task, they get the added adulation from the game. We have a small pilot we'd like to start, of coarse we want the full support of the people of district 9 before we put any serious resources into this."

\\Another elder ask for more questions and small debate spouted, but everybody knows the herd of teens and twenties roaming town is growing. Unanimous approval is given and elder Watson iss asked to present a detailed list of scope of the pilot, duration and list of resources needed within two weeks.