The joys and sorrows of play

From Monday to Friday this week, I’m blogging every day for Wired’s new Change Accelerators blog. I’ll be looking at the cutting edge of digital play, and – as tends to be my obsession – some of the unlikely ways in which it may help to predict and to remould our future, and reveal new trends in technology and society.

You can read extracts from my first couple of posts below, and the whole thing by clicking through to the blog. I’d also recommend checking out the other seven bloggers’ contributions, including some fascinating stuff from Rachel Armstrong on the future of architecture and urban space.

Blog one, on attention migration:

As a species, we have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to find certain things satisfying. Today, we have begun to engage in an extraordinary kind of reverse engineering: building artificial worlds and spaces designed to intrigue and delight us, free from nature’s complexities and disappointments. The amplification of our species’ potential is incredible. Both together and individually, we have a scope inconceivable a century ago. Yet in our potency, we are vulnerable too…

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Blog two, on love and the uncanny:

My wife and I started characters in World of Warcraft when it first came out in 2004. Since we don’t have childen yet, it means our characters will be at least eight years older than our eventual offspring. Even in absolute terms, it would take more than a hundred days of continual contact for us to spend more time with a real person than our avatars. Does this seem strange to you? I’m interested in the ways technology does and doesn’t freak us out—because our sense of the “uncanny” is a powerful indicator of the ways in which our emotional lives are changing…

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