Gamification is mostly seen as a possibility to communicate information. But the development went already one step further. The prestigious University of Geneva will partner up with the science-fiction online game EVE. The university will provide 167,000 deep space light curve images to the game community, where the users can use their virtual space ships to explore this information and support science to discover new exoplanets. EVE Online includes up 500,000 players and due to this, presents a relevant source to support the chronically understaffed scientific projects.
The game simulates a virtual world, where players can take on the role of spaceship captain and discover the wonders of the galaxy. With the connection to the university, the game becomes reality, as the users, sitting before their home computers, become scientists acting inside a virtual space. The software simulates a virtual object based on the scientific data and, inside his or her role, the human user evaluates it. If enough users evaluated the planet information, the games sends the information back to the university.
Back in 2003, EVE Online was designed as Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG). Today even conventional games offer an additional multiplayer option, where the users can play against others, independent where they are in the world. The Cloud makes it possible. It is up to the game-designers to explore new possibilities for this technology. But the trend that games and reality grow closer together will continue, and this not only because of the advancing graphics.
Thanks to the continuous connection to the internet, real-time information can be included into the game-play. Users could play Soccer against professional teams from the actual game day, including details as temporary excluded injured players or the actual condition of the team. Furthermore, the simulation can take the local weather conditions into the account. If it rains outside the window, so it does inside the virtual stadium. Such additional conditions bring the game nearer to reality, as the player does not react in an independent space, but stays connected to the outside world. In opposite to “Pokemon Go” what presents “Augmented Reality” with including virtual characters into the real world, such technology would go the other way around, with including real circumstances into the virtual world, due to this it could be called “Augmented Virtuality”
Besides these possibilities, the trend may also get a dark side. Similar to the classic migrant workers of the past, “Crowd-workers” may be a similar group in the near future. Artificial Intelligence will replace many white collar jobs, especially jobs with a high part of repeating tasks. These skills devalue. The replaced employees have the choice to develop new skills or offer their existing ones for a lower salary. One example for the last is that organizations will hire personnel providers for single tasks. The subcontracted employees work from home, using their private computers, connected via a virtual network to their temporary employer. Similar to today’s UBER or even traditional Pizza taxis, the crowd-workers offer not only their-selves, but additionally their work-tools. What for the UBER-driver means the private car, is for the crowd-worker the private computer.
- Fogel, Stefanie (2017): “EVE Online is crowdsourcing the search for real exoplanets”
- Henz, Patrick (2017): “Access Granted – Tomorrow’s Business Ethics”
- Koch, Hannes (2017): “Crowdworker – die Wanderarbeiter der digitalen Generation”