I’ve been working a little on the multi-touch table project with Mark and Jenny. The mechanical details are still being worked out, but the game will basically model the discourse around climate change—values, attitudes and beliefs amid the social factors that influence them. The current iteration would have players dropping colored dots onto a map of the US. These dots would have a localized social effect, rippling out to influence other dots.

The game could really be about anything, as high-quality general models exist to represent social decision-making in a large population. Mark showed me one they were thinking of using, and I can’t say I understood it. It’s spooky to think that humans are that predictable, but it’s not really surprising. The social sciences are sciences, folks.

But what could these arbitrary dots say about our beliefs? Does the model represent the reasons for our behavior? That’s something the social space of the touch table, along with the game project itself, will address. I’m looking forward to eavesdropping.

We’re all odd concretions of disparate identities. There are no molds cranking out factory-perfect “hippies” and “rednecks.” In my experience, these and other designations often fall apart quickly with even idle conversation. The human—or, I think, any—mind is more complex than its verbal and gestural expressions. These are the things that continually bring us to the table—multi-touch or otherwise.

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