Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Live from Etech - my keynote on Happiness Hacking

I just finished my Etech keynote "Creating Alternate Realities - what the new game designers know about improving quality of life." Yay! It was a totally new presentation, created this week from scratch, and so I was a bit nervous about debuting it. I am happy that it was very well-received.

Here's the abstract:

This talk will explore what the new game designers know about improving everyday quality of life, and how non-gaming companies can become a part of the solution. Alternate reality game designers are solving problems that other technology companies have yet to discover. Cutting-edge collaborative, reality-based games are addressing a whole new set of social needs and personal desires, individual challenges, and collective wants. But games are not the only way to meet these needs and desires. In this talk, McGonigal explores how other technology products, services, and brands can capitalize on the key signal - a desire for a life more worth living - that is coming out of the most innovative game genres.

My slides are here. I'll have a webpage with links and references up on my Avant Game site on Friday. (Here it is - references for Hacking Happiness!) In the meantime, here is the text from my four favorite slides to give you a sense of the stakes and claims of the talk!

3 things you need to know about me:
1) I’m a hacker. I hack the real world to be more like a game. (that’s what I mean by creating alternate realities)
2) I think a lot about the future. What are today’s game trying to tell us about tomorrow?
3) I’m an existentialist. I identify with Sisyphus. My primary goal is to reduce human suffering.

The future forecast (Think: 2012)
Quality of life is the primary metric for evaluating everyday technologies
Positive psychology is a principal, explicit influence on design
The public expects tech companies to have a clear vision for a life worth living
To succeed, a brand, product or service, must increase real happiness – the new capital

Do our technologies pass the “deathbed test”?
“Though we must live our lives forward, happiness is gained by assessing it backwards. Only on your deathbed can you see your life complete and so judge its happiness.” – ancient Greek wisdom
How will the time spent with our technologies look in retrospect, when our users are on their deathbeds? What kind of life will they have enabled, afforded, or supported?

An ETech’07 call to action:
Invest a portion of your time, energy and resources towards understanding and innovating happiness. It’s the new capital.
Make your technology not only feel good (more pleasure), but also do good (more engagement)and expose good (more meaning).
Build your brand's culture around quality of life.
Together we can hack our everyday reality into a collective life worth living.
Hack Happiness!


Robin Sloan said...

I love this! Technology and games as pathways towards (& tutors in?) eudaemonia -- the good life. Cannot wait to see your slides.

Jane said...

hi robin! yes! i almost had a slide on eudaemonia. so I'm glad to hear you say that :)

leeander said...

Great speech at eTech! I was attending but unfortunately was impossible to ask you something at the end of your presentation. btw: if you have time (and broadband) this was my talk at BayCHI few days ago. Games are involved in. Click "right arrow" to start the presentation: http://www.leeander.com/photoshakr/california/

Patrick said...

Some nice poetry in those slides.

genderist said...

Sharp slides. How exciting it must be to know that your legacy is the world's happiness.