The billions of text messages, video calls and postings that are travelling through the world are in fact, seriously subverting the relationship of individuals with the institutions they belong to. They are challenging a number of well rooted conceptions on the need to remove people from their personal social environment in order for them to be productive and effective. The issues at stake are far more complex than “etiquette” because the conflict is between people’s sense of fundamental emotional wellbeing and organizations that for the last 150 years have banned the private sphere from their premises. Much of society has functioned on the principle that attention, isolation and productivity are strictly interrelated; therefore each minute spent on personal communication is seen as reducing focus and efficiency. But is this really the case? Or is the problem that the intrusion of the private is suddenly and finally concerning everyone and not everyone is seen as sufficiently trustworthy to handle this new found autonomy?
UC Irvine’s Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences has established the Center for Computer Games & Virtual Worlds, led by ICS Associate Dean Magda El Zarki and senior research scientist Walt Scacchi of the UCI Institute for Software Research.
The center’s goal is to expand campuswide research activities that draw upon UCI’s strengths spanning the social and technological aspects of games and virtual worlds. More than 20 faculty members from computer science, arts, humanities, social science and education will collaborate in the center.
..I’d love to see the University of Cincinnati establish something similar. And I want to work there. 😉