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Can Computer Games Save Us All? New Research Shows How Gaming Can Help Cure Our Social Ills

Tech futurist and game designer Jane McGonigle on how computer games can help the fight against AIDS, heal disabilities, increase optimism, and make us better people.

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TM: If you could stand in the future at 2050 and ask yourself, “Did humanity turn things around?” and if your answer is yes, then how did they do it?

JM: I will tell you how they did it. This will seem like an aside, but bear with me. I’m a big believer in the movement to take back our time.

TM: Jon DeGraff and those folks….

JM: We are working too much. The New Economics Foundation just put out this amazing report on the 21-hour work-week.

They want to move the whole planet to a 21-hour work-week for more sustainability, more equitable employment, so we have more time to spend with our family and friends, doing things that matter intrinsically to us. And to move to a less materialistic, consumption-oriented society. 

I believe that is how we would turn it around, and I think gamers are showing us the way because of how much they value this thing that has no extrinsic value, that doesn’t necessarily help them get ahead in the work place. They spend hours doing this thing that provides all these intrinsic rewards. We can make time for ourselves to play by letting go of our obsession with the formalized 40-hour work-week.

TM: When we look back we’ll say that once that started happening, we had at least come to a fork in the road, and we were headed in the right direction.

Terrence McNally hosts Free Forum on KPFK 90.7FM, Los Angeles and WBA I99.5FM, New York (streaming at kpfk.org and wbai.org). Visit terrencemcnally.net for podcasts of all interviews and more.

 
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