[ExI] farmville, was RE: RPGs and transhumanism

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sun Feb 27 12:49:44 UTC 2011

spike wrote:
> ...On Behalf Of Anders Sandberg
>> ...Tanzania trying to reboot itself in the rings of Saturn using a
> Farmville-like game ...--Anders Sandberg,
> Would anyone here speculate about the wildly popular Farmville increasing
> the demand for actual farmland?  My guess is that for every thousand people
> who spend time playing simulated farmer, there would be one or more who
> would like to try her hand at the real dirt and sweat version.  If for no
> other reason, it would give the player street cred with the others, and
> perhaps lead to improvements in the simulation.

I am sceptical about how many actually do farming due to farmville. It 
compresses farming into a series of quick actions and rewards, while 
real farming seems to be about having a really long time horizon. Plants 
vs. zombies is not quite like real gardening.

I wonder what games actually make people go out and do things in the 
real world? RPGs have certainly stimulated me to learn odd subjects, and 
even helped my research. But what about other games (computers and 

(In my RPG game, the Farmville-like game is actually a clever interface 
to the nanotech infrastructure underlying the construction of a space 
habitat. Players are playing a game but actually, just as lot of people 
filling in captchas are together doing reliable text recognition, 
solving morphogenesis problems and controlling the evolution of various 
nanosystems. Ideally this should all have been done with cheap AI, but 
it turned out that it was cheaper to run the 3.5 million surviving 
Tanzanian uploads on the servers... and they can get enticed by using 
game points in their virtual economy. And yes, the whole project will be 
in monumental trouble if people start tiring of the game before the 
critical control period is over. )

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute 
James Martin 21st Century School 
Philosophy Faculty 
Oxford University 

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