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Entering the automated world, where robots, artificial intelligence, and androids take over our lives seem to be the favorite topic of the day for many. It is true that our lives are becoming ever more automated, and that certain tasks and jobs that used to be done by humans are now predominantly done by machines. What this means is not what the Doom-Sayers of the day enjoy shouting about; losing jobs, giving up freedom, independence being taken away, etc… No, what automation means is that the tasks that are soul destroying and mind-numbing will be taken over by machines, who are firstly very efficient, but also do not have a soul or mind that can be lost by such trivial work. What is true, is that there are still people who have done these types of jobs, and we as a society and civilization will need to retrain these individuals. Training and education will need to change in an automated world anyway, we cannot continue the way we have, once we’re given greater freedom and responsibilities in an automated world. This where gamification comes in. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that the emergence of gamification comes at a similar as that of automation. They will continue to both go hand in hand in terms of learning, work and life will change. Initially, it will be used for retraining us all to be effective in a more automated world, but gamification will then be used in work, in life, as perhaps gameful design, and in education as game-based learning. These terms don’t necessarily denote each aspect specifically, but they fit quite well. Eventually, all of these gamified experiences will evolve into something new and different that will define how we live, learn and act. It is worth remembering that challenging, effective and applicable learning processes for All ages are how society will integrate into the automation age with gamification or its successor. It is not only children but everyone that will have the benefits of this paradigm shift. It is also worth identifying that when we speak about gamifying something it is about increasing engagement, improving ability and application, it is not about making life, work or learning easy. A great example of not making learning easy, but effective through games is from the TedX talk held at the CUHK by Dr. Christopher See, where medicine is being taught through the use of escape rooms:
As we see, the learning process has been improved, making it engaging and enjoyable. No false efficiency indicators with points, or badges or leaderboards. Those have always traditionally been the go-to tools for gamification, and many mundane tasks cannot be gamified, but automation will lower and eventually remove those tasks. Leaving only worthwhile pursuits and experiences.
We need to position the process of the automation age differently. It isn’t stealing jobs away from hardworking people, it’s about removing unnecessary labor, improving peoples lives and making them more effective as individuals. It only becomes an issue when there nothing to fill the void of the lost labor.
You can use the time now to prepare, shed the dead-weight, mind-numbing activities and improve your life and work skills, as artificial intelligence systems aren’t powerful enough to fully take over ever all the areas we would like them to take over. As you shouldn’t have any illusions that AI and machines will take over anything that requires repetitive work. And it’s good because productivity increase, its cost saving and the long-term return on investment are better than with humans doing those kinds of tasks.
What we’re seeing is that all the small actions are being removed from the individual. You can already see this with the emergence of ubiquitous linking of applications and appliances. Each communicating with the others, learning from your routines, likes, dislikes, tailoring themselves to you. This may sound like a dystopian notion, but the benefits are that you receive more useful weather notifications, you know when you need to go for groceries and where to get the best deals. You will be aided in choosing the right courses and what’s the best path for career progression.
This type of life customisation already has gamification imprinted in its DNA. These types of high-level pursuits fit well into gamified narratives, knowing progression paths offer more effective goals, or quests if we want to use some gaming parlance. As the realm of gamification can really come to its own with the automation of mundane tasks.
Customization and tailoring of interests, content curation, life management, using all of these options, information can be gathered quickly and delivered effectively to you. With the speed of the information at your fingertips, social connections will improve, you can swiftly find likeminded groups and people to share and collaborate with. Examples of where this is already happening are in subreddits and Facebook groups. These types of groups are essential for learning in the future as it’s done through the equality of sharing. The knowledge being shared is determined by its usefulness and accuracy, a meritocracy of learning can be done.
This level of quality and application vetting offered by automation and the human interaction that comes with it through gamification will push people to new heights.
Whatever term you use, or are familiar, or feel is more accurate, gamification, gameful design or game-based learning are all about increasing and improving engagement, motivation, and learning. In a world that is automated, people can focus on communal and personal development. Perhaps Yu-Kai Chou’s term of “Human focused design” should be added as well, as that is the essence of what gamification can offer.
People will have the freedom of experimentation in their experiences in this new world. With education and reskilling a whole new avenue is opened up to us:
“Through gamification and game-based learning we can attempt to resolve problems we cannot even fathom solutions for in the real world because games remove realistic limitations our environments enforce upon us”,
– Mohsin Memon, CEO, MemCorp and an expert on Immersive Learning and Game Design.
This also extends beyond the solitary individual, as gamification is such a context allows for valuable collaboration around shared goals. Both group and solo simulation-based gameplay are relevant. As the above quote highlights, the effective translation of the real-world into game simulation experiences, helps us to test, learn and implement new and innovative concepts.
Social and collective learning and collaboration will not only improve everyone’s prospects but will also foster better relationships. At a very basic level, you won’t be replaced or forgotten if you are important and well known to everyone in the community. It is also a small hope of optimism, that in a world with shard quests and end-goals, that that is also a world where everyone understands each other.
You must understand that using tools and processes like gamification isn’t about having a quick solution for the immediate future of automation. No, it’s about altering a worldview. As the future no longer holds lifelong, singular job. Those will disappear, and sooner than you think. Some estimate that the world will change significantly by 2020. Research studies and surveys show that the jobs as we know them today, in 2017, will be redefined in the 2020’s.
Therefore, we will need to learn to remain flexible, elastic, switch companies, professions, careers on the fly. Requiring solid well-created systems of learning and application that will allow us to do all of that. We will be entering the world, not unlike that of a game, where if the class you’ve chosen, or the profession are no longer relevant. Your team doesn’t need a Tank, but a damage dealer. Your clan doesn’t need an herbalist, but a blacksmith. You will need ways that such changes can be done efficiently in the real world.
Hopefully, this piece has offered you a different perspective on what the future of an automated world can hold for us, one that isn’t dark and distant world. But rather one filled with endless opportunities.
I hope that this piece has given you some food for thought and helped improve your own methods or at least offered a different viewpoint to consider.
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