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Gaming can make a better world Jane McGonigal
I'm Jane McGonigal. I'm a game designer. I've been making gamesonline now for 10 years, and my goal for the next decade is to try to make it as easyto save the world in real life as it is to save the worldin online games. Now, I have a plan for this, and it entails convincing more people, including all of you, to spend more timeplaying bigger and better games.
Right now we spend three billion hoursa week playing online games. Some of you might be thinking, quot;That's a lot of timeto spend playing games. Maybe too much time, considering how many urgent problemswe have to solve in the real world.quot; But actually, according to my researchat the Institute for the Future, actually the opposite is true. Three billion hours a weekis not nearly enough game play
to solve the world's most urgent problems. In fact, I believethat if we want to survive the next century on this planet, we need to increasethat total dramatically. I've calculated the total we need at 21 billion hoursof game play every week. So, that's probably a bitof a counterintuitive idea, so I'll say it again, let it sink in:
If we want to solve problems like hunger, poverty, climate change,global conflict, obesity, I believe that we need to aspireto play games online for at least 21 billion hours a week,by the end of the next decade. (Laughter) No. I'm serious. I am. Here's why. This picture pretty much sums upwhy I think games are so essential
to the future survivalof the human species. (Laughter) Truly. This is a portraitby photographer Phil Toledano. He wanted to capturethe emotion of gaming, so he set up a camera in frontof gamers while they were playing. And this is a classic gaming emotion. Now, if you're not a gamer,
you might miss someof the nuance in this photo. You probably see the sense of urgency, a little bit of fear,but intense concentration, deep, deep focus on tacklinga really difficult problem. If you are a gamer, you will noticea few nuances here: the crinkle of the eyes up,and around the mouth is a sign of optimism, and the eyebrows up is surprise.
Hey, Vsauce. Michael here.Do you want to be infected with Ebola without having to leave your own home ordeal with other peopleé Well, you might be in luck. You canalready download an Ebola virus genome. Right here on the Internet, right now.And if you're willing to wait a few years for 3D bioprintingtechnology to progress a little bit, you can just acquire onethen, submit the genome to it and ta da! All you can print Ebola.
Or anthrax or whatever it is you wish tomassproduce at home to wipe out humanity. Are humans going to go extinct sooné Will human extinction be anthropogenicé That is the result of human action. Or will it be one of the good oldfashioned kinds of extinction Earth's history knows pretty wellé The Global Catastrophic Risks Survey,issued by Oxford University's
Future of Humanity Institute placed our risk of extinction before the year 2100 at 19%. Now, you might be thinking quot;whatever, blahblah blah armageddonquot;. quot;It'll be okay, humans are too smart to go extinct.quot; Maybe you're right. But it's difficult to predict the distant future with a lot of certainty. What's really cool though is that if you embrace that uncertainty,a simple argument
can show that human extinction soon is actually more probable. It's called the Doomsday argument. Imagine a giant urn that contains either 10 balls numbered 1 to 10, or a million balls numbered 1 to a million. Now, you don't know which is the case, but you are allowed to pull out one ball. You go ahead and do that
and it is ball number 4. That's pretty strong evidence in favourof the 10 ball condition because drawing a four from a set of 1 through 10 is a one in 10 chance. But drawing fourfrom a million different numbers is a one in a million chance. By analogy you are also a numbered ball. You are a human who knows approximately what your birth number is.
It's probably somewhere around 100 billion. That's how many other humans were most likely born before you were. Importantly, you didn't get to decide which birth number you would have. So, just like the number for a ball, you are a random sample from the set of all humans who will ever live. The Doomsday argument points out that from 200 billion people there's a50 percent chance that a randomly chosen