Lift12, Gaming: Sebastian Deterding

[fr] Je suis à la conférence Lift12 à Genève ces jours. Voici mes notes de sessions.

Live-blogging from Lift12 conference in Geneva. These are my notes and interpretations of Sebastian Deterding’s session — best effort, but might be imprecise or even wrong!

What happens when our everyday life becomes more and more structured like a game?

Russian bureaucrats: need a job to get a flat, need a work permit to get a job, need a flat to get a work permit.

Mobile boarding pass. Transfer at Schipol, but image broken, can’t read QR code! Machine won’t provide paper boarding pass because pass has already been downloaded. Thankfully service agents are not robots… yet.

Gamification. Mindbloom.

Scary: what if we let computers run our systems and put humans inside? What happens?

  1. The first thing we encounter is exceptions. The rule system might not foresee certain situations. But exceptions are the rule! We always need a manual override. Handling the exceptions.

The more we replace humans with computers, the more we remove these manual overrides.

  1. Rules are also never explicit. Spirit and letter of the law. Work-to-rule: follow rules so strictly that nothing gets done.

Foursquare. In London, holding a session of foursquare users to determine what kind of behaviour is “in the spirit” of foursquare use.

Journalist who tried to gamify all aspects of his life during a week. Including “better fiancé”. You look lovely tonight! Pfff, you’re just doing it for the points.

The reason we’re doing something is really important for us.

Scratch: programming videogames visually, with resharing etc. Automatic credit line, but in the community social norms require a manual note with credit.

  1. How rules beget gamers.

lift12 1100325.jpg

System => intention.

The more you use quantitative measures to influence decision making, the more the actions leading to those measure are subject to various forms of corruption.

Munchkin: tries to amass as many points as possible even if it’s at the expense of others. Maximise their outcome within a given system. Forget they are also social actors.

Everyday life is full of this kind of munchkin.

“Fixing the game” by Roger L. Martin — this is what happened to our economic systems. Too myopic on the results.

Same thing in organisations with KPIs and targets. Forget that they are there for the long-term survival of the company and not short-term personal benefit.

Also: the exploiter.

Guy who tried to raise his children using economic systems. Potty-training rewarded with sweets. Multiplication and fragmentation of potty-breaks.

Refunding a product when people write an amazon review.

The hacker: tries to reconnect the system to its intention. Often found in healthcare. Gaming the system to be able to heal patients.

Technologies of power. Systems, procedures, technologies set up by governments and institutions to get us to do what they want us to do. Foucault: technology used to rule people can also be used by people to rule themselves.

Book (do not read, bad novel): The Dice Man. Guy who decides for each decision to come up with six options and roll a dice.

If you set up a system to be competitive, that’s what you’ll see, but if you set it up differently, humans are actually pretty cooperative.

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