It has always been, for a decade and a half, a convening of people who make games, love games and use games for social good in the world. And this year NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio gave it official standing in the Gotham city proclaiming, June 28th, Games for Change day.
The festival marked a meaningful 15th anniversary making it old enough to become an institution and young enough for everyone involved to believe it’s still nimble. The organization runs all year and culminates in this event which draws people from all over the world to discuss, plan, plot and swap notes about where and how efforts are making a difference. They are tackling complex global problems from climate change to literacy, equality, inclusion to mental illness. This year the tracks included Games for Learning, Civics and Social Issues, Neurogaming and Health, Games for Learning, Civics and Social Issues, and XR (virtual, augmented and mixed realities).
Susanna Pollack is the president of Games for Good and a force of nature. She’s developed robust programming that spans three days and provides extraordinary opportunities for connection and thus, new ideas to form and grow. There were programs for students.
And of course, plenty of games to experience including the debut of Lost City of Mer intended to “inspire players about the impact that humans and their carbon footprint are having on the oceans.” A full list of the games that won awards is here.
This is an important organization, of which I am an ambassador because they have and are leading the way on gamifying content. Gamifying content can be a powerful tool for multi-disciplinary purposes. It’s moved into the mainstream and the potential to educate, engage and change behavior for the better is happening.
Future of work startups, fintech and blockchain are taking up a lot of my conversations these days. That’s on top of regular consulting and working on projects in augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. I don’t code. I don’t invent. I don’t project manage the making of software or technology products. But I am tech literate.
Interestingly definitions of what that means vary. There are many like this, IGI Global says it’s “the ability to effectively use technology to access, evaluate, integrate, create and communicate information to enhance the learning process through problem-solving and critical thinking”. I would suggest there are broader, applicable definitions today since nearly all of us are surrounded by technology in everything we do from driving a car to researching a term paper.
After a discussion recently, a friend sent this take by Joyce Shen in an article she wrote, “Let’s talk about tech literacy.” Fantastic. In sharing videos from a Lehigh University challenge held at Carnegie Mellon University, she noted this about the students:
“The students did not just talk about the technology or coding, they talked about problems and impact — -specifically, the value to have real time streaming data capturing energy consumption from buildings and the value of having blockchain to secure and process certain information. The students explained concepts clearly for techies and non-techies alike, in an applied way. That is tech literacy”.
It’s a new day. We all need to understand basics about operating systems, coding languages, how it’s made, who makes it, how it’s used and so on. It’s critical as we become more dependent on technology that larger percentages of the population understand what’s happening to us and for us.
It was an extraordinary three days at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Thousands descended to talk about our increasingly augmented world. Founders, creators, entrepreneurs, investors, creatives, corporates, students, and startups lead and participated in robust conversations focused on AR Cloud, blockchain, and storytelling in AR.
I was impressed by the new Epson mixed reality glasses. The field of view was 23-degrees, but what I loved was the comfort level. And there were some really interesting companies, the vast majority building products and services in the Future of Work categories of healthcare, retail, security and marketing.
Some of the companies I found most impressive: @obsessVR@PerioSim @Xeste.io @CameraIQ #NeuroRehabVR #WallAR.
AWE announced they’ve added a conference in Israel this Fall.
I’m about 32-thousand feet in the air flying over middle America heading to San Francisco to the Augmented World Expo (AWE) conference. It’s an enormous gathering, thousands of people will be descending from around the world to talk about, learn, network with people focused in some way on augmented reality and virtual reality among so many other emerging technology. This is heaven for those of use pushing these new technologies into products and lobbying for roads to commercialization. I will be leading a fireside chat with engineer and venture capitalist Nathanial Krasnoff of Wildcat Ventures where we talk about who’s making AR, who should be and what it’s going to take to win. Stay tuned for a recap.
Vermont has quietly done something no other state or federal entity has managed in the middle of global headlines about data privacy. The legislature passed a data broker law, requiring sellers of consumer personal data to register, maintain certain standards and if they don’t potentially face serious consequences.
These are brokers most consumers have never heard of because the companies serve businesses not individuals. I’ve heard these brokers referred to as modern day “garbage sifters.” Before the internet, they were going through your garbage for signs of what you buy, when, what medications, banks and that the household used so they could generate a profile and sell it to companies.
There was a line in one of the articles about the landmark law byTechCrunch that really stuck me:
“Data brokers have been quietly supplying everyone with your personal information for a long time. And advertising is the least of its applications: this data is used for informing shadow credit scores, restricting services and offers to certain classes of people, setting terms of loans, and more”.
For all the decades of laws outlawing redlining (where banks cannot discriminate based on where you live, often racially motivated), protecting our medical privacy rights (e.x. HIPAA Privacy Rules ) and consumer credit protection laws, are we now back to square one? How can there be zero accountability to the ever growing sources of data that may or may not be accurate, especially as new predictive algorithmic tools claim to make “scientific” conclusions based on the piles of information they collect?
We should all pay attention to how this law unfolds in Vermont.