I finished Bioshock Infinite last weekend and have been thinking about it since. The game is incredibly well put together; the world and the story are both impressive. Just like the first Bioshock, Infinite shows what’s possible in narrative when it comes to the current world of games.
Obviously this post is filled with spoilers, so continue only if you’ve already played the game.
It was only a matter of time that the world of war games delved into the world of intelligence. The American military has now expressed interest in using gaming for figuring out some aspects of human behaviour. Presently, the Intelligence Advanced Research Agency (IARPA) has a request for information for using alternate reality games (ARG) in the intelligence community. From the RFI for their experimental games:
IARPA is soliciting responses to this RFI in order to assess the extent to which Alternate Reality Environments (AREs)i, such as Alternate Reality Games (ARGs), may provide capabilities that allow for high-quality, externally valid social, behavioral and psychological research in near-realworld contexts.
Over at Wired they have some more information in context.
The intelligence community’s blue-sky researchers, the Intelligence Advanced Research Agency (IARPA), announced they’re seeking designers for alternate-reality games, or ARGs. It’s for work, they swear. The project, which goes by the name UAREHERE (as in “you are here”), “may provide capabilities that allow for high-quality, externally valid social, behavioral and psychological research in near-real world contexts,” according to a request for information released this week.
While the ostensible purpose of the game is to research human behavior, the specific intelligence function served here is a mystery. Nor does the agency specify who the players would be: The info request notes that recruiting and screening players will be a challenge. Another: determining whether an ARG would even work as a research tool, let alone how to design an ARG.
“This is not a video game” says one of the Air Force people interviewed in this documentary on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). In 2015 the airspace in the USA will be open for roaming by UAVs run by the average person to the militarized police forces in the country.
These small UAVs discussed in the documentary are possible thanks to a whole bunch of disparate technologies greatly improving. Think smartphones meets AI meets improved energy efficiency.
I wonder when we’ll see augmented reality games that use cheap drones.
The website is a series of interactive and passive content that allows one to fully engage with the history of the crisis. It goes into great detail about the people and the decisions they made by providing films, books, graphic novels, podcasts, and even fictional blogs to flesh out what happened over those thirteen days. Jim Blight from the Basillie School believes that the Cuban missile crisis can teach us more than we previously thought about how close the world came to destruction because of a few men.
Cory Doctorow is a smart thinker when it comes to computers and how they relate to our basic rights. Over the summer he delviered a lecture titled The Coming Civil War over General-purpose Computing and it’s a fascinating look into the future of DRM (digital rights management), firmware, security, openness, and how we as a culture relate to computers.