Robert Rosenkranz introduces the Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate Video Games Will Make Us Smarter
Video games have long received blame in the media for promoting violence and desensitizing players to it, but in recent years, many video game creators have begun developing games that focus on critical social issues facing mankind, such as climate change, poverty and so on. The video game industry continues to experience considerable growth, but is this growth benefiting players and making them more in-tune with the modern social plights of humankind, or is this growth contributing to antisocial behavior among players while making them increasingly numb to extreme violence?
The phrase “universal basic income” is becoming increasingly well-known among Americans, thanks in large part to Facebook Founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg expressing his support for the concept during his recent commencement speech at Harvard University. Essentially, universal basic income involves a country giving a set amount to its citizens each month – say, $600 – to help offset the struggles many experience because of diminishing job opportunities, a growing reliance on technology and automation and increasingly widespread poverty.
As video games gain prominence, some game creators are turning to global issues, such as poverty alleviation, international diplomacy, and combating climate change, for inspiration. Playing these socially minded games, they argue, allows users to build tangible skills in combating crisis and solving critical problems. But others see the multi-billion-dollar gaming industry, dominated by portrayals of crime and war, as a threat that desensitizes its users to violence and encourages anti-social behavior. Will video games soon provide innovative solutions to our most pressing social, political and economic challenges? Or is the impact of gaming overrated and potentially destructive?