We are all retards now

I just want to jot down a few things that have been running through my head lately. I have yet to play Will Wright's new game, Spore, but from what I've read my worst fears were realized. Will Wright was the genius behind Sim City 2000. In Sim City 2000 the player was given a dynamic world to interact with; a set of rules to try to learn and understand which were not presented upfront.

In that way it reminded me of Legos. Legos and Sim City 2000 were my two favorite toys growing up. Both had rules which one had to learn by doing. The tricks to building a healthy city or a stable building were not in a book, but in the experience. When I heard about Spore, like many people, I was excited. Video game press releases have a tendency to inspire people to dream. What if this is the game that does everything I ever wanted a game to do? I had just hoped that Spore would be more like Sim City 2000 than the Sims.

From the reviews, even without all the DRM drama, Spore failed this test. Like Legos, Wright's newest project is dumbed down. The choices you make do not participate in a complex set of virtual reality math. Aparrently, the difference between a creature created with two legs or ten is not registered by the computer's calculations. Like with the Harry Potter or Star Wars Legos, with half as many pieces per set as there were when I was growing up, this product presents a dumbed down shiny toy to children it assumes are dumb already.

I learned more from the smart toys I had growing up, than I ever did at school. But as important as I think education is (I never cut funding to my schools in my Sim Cities, even when the police were operating at 20%) I also recongnize that maintaining a healthy economy is equally important. The buisiness math of Sim City was fairly simple and libertarian. Lower taxes, boost business.

But now we have an economy that no one can understand. Secretary Paulson says he needs a trillion dollars to keep the confidence going and save the credit market. Credit comes from the latin word 'credere,' to believe. And right now no one can or should believe these people who have no idea how the toy they built works.

So now it's time for the computers to take over. This article was published in the New York Times today, and it sounds just right to me. It basically says that instead of using laws of thinking to determine what the markets will do we should use computer forcasts; with complex models of little indepent agents jumping up and down and doing what they do in real life. Those outside of the legitmate sciences keep proving we are as much robots as the cockroach; more complex maybe, but not less predictable. So let's start predicting. Let's start writing fate down before it happens. Not for you and me, but for us.

Will Wright should have spent less on animation and more on creating really complex algorithms that were representational, if not of real life, then of a realistic life children could learn from. I'm sick of hearing from people on the news who don't have a fucking clue as to what's going on, besides knowing that something is going on and for some reason believing someone else does get it. I don't get it and I don't think these people do. If they could show me a bunch of SimBrokers jumping around and reacting and give me a forcast as complex as the ones which say we are environmentally fucked, then I would probably believe them.

But I don't think there is anyone left to make a learning toy as smart as Sim City 2000. Like how we can't make it back to the Moon, this knowledge is lost. We are all retards now. Be honest, you just skimmed this didn't you? Not that I can really argue that it's worth your time, but a good book is, how long has it been since you have read a book?

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