The dark side of gamification

Ryan Tracey, E-Learning Provocateur, Mar 20, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Every day at lunch I chop a carrot, a pepper, some peas and some cherry tomatoes and add some tuna for lunch. I'm trying to get better at chopping food so I appear to be expert when I'm making lunch in the staff kitchen. Yeah, I'm that shallow. Anyhow, Ryan Tracey points to this interesting video, Sight, in which everyday activities, like chopping food, are gamified. "It’s a clear case of gamification gone too far," he says. "Life is not a game." Now in fact I am generally in agreement with him, but I hesitate to take the attitude that pervasive gamification is inherently wrong. Peer fifty years into the future, and fifty years into the past. What we do today would seem strange to the people of 1965 - imagine spending hours at a time playing a video game! Imagine finding potential partners using video dating services! Why wouldn't like in the future be equally different?

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