A bunch of nerds developed in the sixties, a computer, game that would change the world. The playing man shows us a glimpse of the future.
Unsuspecting runs a young man in the early sixties through the halls of Stanford University. He gets a tour of the fledgling department of computer science, where the unworldly nerds play with zeros and ones. Suddenly he hears coming from almost ecstatic cheer behind one of the doors. Are these nerds? Then they are probably not entirely sober.
They are indeed quite high, but their own work. They are a side project to test one of the first computer games ever: Spacewar! The young student had never seen people on a chair in such a state of excitement seen – although he was part of the counterculture and had enough experience with psychedelics.
It is difficult to imagine, but computers were still bulky, expensive machines, the exclusive domain of large organizations and totally invisible in society. Stewart Brand, which the young student that we are talking about a number of years later, Rolling Stone as one of the first to predict the democratization of the computer: ” Ready or not, computers are coming to the people,” so began the article. And it was a game that brought him to this understanding.
Games have more predictive power, Steven Johnson writes in Wonderland – How Play Made the Modern World. He describes Spacewar! therein as a crystal ball that perfectly predicted the future of the computer industry. The gaming industry is a gibbet in the halls of Stanford has become a global money machine with a turnover of more than hundred billion dollars a year. And those are just the games themselves. One of the inventors of Spacewar! would later leave for Seattle, where he was the mentor of a brilliant teenager with a passion for computers: Bill Gates. Meanwhile founded in California, the company Atari, with the specific purpose a commercial version of Spacewar! to develop. Inspired by the Fire product applied a young hippie to the company Steve Jobs.
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All the more reason to take seriously games. Scientists at The Mind of the Universe do this week, whether origami or gaming in a virtual reality. You see how the son of one of the researchers with great naturalness moves in a world created by man, and mingles with the real world.
Because games keep itself far more concerned with the limits of a screen, they explore the three-dimensional reality. Gaming is becoming a game with reality, rather than a way to get out of the reality here. For this development to understand, it helps to distinguish between limited and unlimited play. Not because of undersigned will, because a select group of thought leaders in Silicon Valley does. Their inspiration is a book from 1986 of the American religion scholar James P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games – A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility.
A limited play writes Carse has a clear beginning and end, and play to win in goal. The rules are fixed, and foul means the end of the game. The unlimited game has neither beginning nor end. It is not played to win, but to keep the game going – and often to play with more players. Threatens to end the unlimited game, the rules must be changed to keep it going.
Carse makes the distinction clear with a row wonderful aphorisms: Finite players play within boundaries, infinite players play with boundaries. A finite player spends time, a player creates infinite time. A finite player wants life eternal, infinite player eternal birth.
Is science, our quest for knowledge falsifiable, whether such infinite game? You might not think so – research has strict rules and methods that do not follow then you can research the trash. At the same time, science has indeed some features of the infinite game: the rules and methods in the course of centuries greatly expanded and changed, and there are more and more players come.
We seek advice from Stewart Brand. “Yes,” he responds wholeheartedly and concise, but due to time constraints, he refers us to the notes to his friend, technology guru Kevin Kelly. That affects Kelly was his idea about the development of technology inspired The Mind of the Universe. He charges except life itself (which is, of course, the endless game where Carse was talking about) the human spirit and the development of technology to the infinite game. And science. Indeed: “Science is probably the clearest example of an infinite game that we have,” he says. “Never complete, always expanding, win-win, with rules that have changed enormously over the centuries and expanded without limits. Moreover, rewards scientific exploration and breaking rules. ”
Economist John List, also a guest on The Mind of the Universe, is a wonderful example of such infinite player: he says he rules the economy like so wants to change that more people can continue to rotate, rather than outside the boat attack by financial setbacks.
Initially, he was not taken seriously, but now he is even tipped as a potential Nobel laureate. Sunday about the latest developments in the infinite game.