PBS' Idea Channel Video: Minecraft As A Model For The Future


Posted July 26, 2012 - By Stephen Johnson

  • Videos
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  • Cheats and Walkthroughs

  • Videos
  • Screenshots
  • Cheats and Walkthroughs

This week, PBS Arts’ weekly web series, "Idea Channel"  takes a look at Minecraft and Makerbot in terms of our future. If you're not familiar with Idea Channel, it's basically a series that examines "serious" ideas in a light-hearted, slick way. This week, Idea Channel points at sandbox game Minecraft as a forerunner, or model, of a post-scarcity society, and asks the question: If life was like Minecraft's creative mode, what would the real world look like? If the future brings us printers that can print literally anything we'd like, what kind of world is that?

Check it out and get learnified.

It's a pretty interesting argument, but I had this reaction: If a post-scarcity economy is like Minecraft on creative mode, what happens when you don't prefer Minecraft's creative mode?  I only play survival mode, because I find creative mode to be directionless and without purpose or meaning. I can't imagine the kind of ennui that could come from living in a real post-scarcity society. Depression forever!

Imagine everyone having everything they wanted. While it seems like a beautiful thing at first, deeper reflection suggests it could be a terrible nightmare (at least to me). In my opinion, most people are just terrible at making things. Terrible at having ideas. So they generally don't bother.  Right now, one of the main things that keeps us from drowning in terrible objects and art is the difficulty of creating them. The work. The sheer effort discourages all but the most driven, determined and awesome among the human race.

If you remove the countless hours it takes to make something truly great, you just end up with lazy creators half-assedly realizing terrible ideas constantly. Want an example? Click a random video on YouTube some day. See what I mean? Now imagine every physical object around you at this moment was created by a YouTube video maker. That's not a future I want to live in.

Of course, it would be nice if everyone on earth could replicate food and clean water. We should probably start there.

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PBS' Idea Channel Video: Minecraft As A Model For The Future


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