Azure Jane Lunatic (azurelunatic) wrote,
Azure Jane Lunatic

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MMORPGs: the job of the future

amberfox has a guide on how to make money in World of Warcraft. This led me, in a roundabout fashion, to the idea that someday, the now-familiar MMORPG interface may be work.

Currently, a lot of dirty, sweaty, nasty, but exacting work is done by real live human beings, because there's rather a lot that needs a human brain at the helm to know exactly what needs to be done. For almost anything that requires comprehension and decision-making, a human is a lot better than almost any form of automation. A human is really good at recognizing a broad variety of situations and reacting appropriately, or notifying someone in charge if there's something that they need help dealing with.

Robots are getting better and better at fitting in places, doing things, and being flexible. Bandwidth is getting cheap enough that video chat is all over the place, but the real kicker that bandwidth is cheap is vidding, and the overnight explosion of places like YouTube.

I suddenly flashed to Ender's Game, where children fight a war by remote control, under the impression that they are playing a tactical game. Then I thought about things like the Roomba. How much different would it be to create an MMORPG for things like picking up litter? You could have a small army of robots (once robots are cheap like those $20 cellphones you see at Target now) all hardwired to play the game, and there are people logging in and competing to see who can pick up and get rid of the most cigarette butts. Kids could do it. People with limited mobility who can use a computer could do it.

As gas prices go up, there may even be a rise in an enhanced form of telecommuting, video-conferencing with a twist: waldo-commuting. If the only reason you need to be physically in the workplace is because you have some physical things there that you need to refer to on any given day, and you've got your laptop, got access to the work network, and you have an audio-video-motion (grasp and transport and move around inside the office) robot available, why go in at all? Perhaps to stay motivated/on task, but perhaps you can do that better at home.

I can honestly see a day where the sign of status is that you do go in to the office every day to work, rather than staying at home with your own machine and operate a robot remotely.

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