I think the most interesting new adaptations of technology are the ones that make clever combinations of the real and digital world. You might say the ones that live in symbiosis, where the digital world feeds on the physical world and vice versa.
Second Life I do not like since it merely involves the digital realm. Meeting somebody from a discussion group in real life creates great physical meetings and makes the discussion later on more interesting, knowing the other person also in real life.
At the moment I am talking to an organisation involved in the safety sector. Practice for them is extremely important. Problem for them is that practice in real life is difficult and expensive. Not all situations can be created in real life (too costly or physically so destructive that it can not be done). On the other hand practice in the digital world does not feel real. It is hard to substitute loud noise, a roaring fire and wind and many people putting pressure on you. In a game you also can get the adrenaline working but different …
The idea of the project is to set up an environment where digital and physical practice is completely intertwined. A group of policeman can be training in a special trainings village while their physical coordinates are transferred to a simulation environment. The commander can than command the real people who are training as well as digital troops. These two world you might say feed on one another, like the fish help the turtle to stay clean buy picking of the algae and getting a good meal by doing it.

Games or Work

I came across a fascinating article today that describes how a famous economic historian is thaught a lesson about the history of World War II. Niall Ferguson has written some books about “what if” scenarios is history: what if Gorbachov would not have existed etc.

He recently played a bit with a computer game called “Making History” where the games are based on WWII scenarios. What was amazing was that the game showed him that he was wrong in one of his hypthesis that if England would have attacked Germany in 1938 after the invasion of¬†Czechoslovakia WWII would not have happened. He kept playing it over and over but England kept losing because France defected.
The game is based on thorough research on the period. The mindbogling part is that his 13 year old son, an experienced player in strategy games, had no problem in showing him the answer by first investing in a better bond with France and than attacking Germany.
The interesting part here, I think, is that young people grow up with a completely different environment and have a different attitude towards the tools that surround us. Strategic thinking through games and multiple simultaneus communictation through MSN is a normal part of their life. Because of this they arrive at different processes to deal with their environment. Young people of today are the employees of tomorrow. We better be prepared by doing our research into the way we can build on these new tools and people!