10 March 2010

Addicting games & computer engineering

Cracked.com has an article on 5 Creepy Ways Video Games Are Trying to Get You Addicted. I think this is a bit sensationalistic, but some interesting things to consider.

Now this may seem completely unrelated... From Google’s blog, Helping computers understand language:

An irony of computer science is that tasks humans struggle with can be performed easily by computer programs, but tasks humans can perform effortlessly remain difficult for computers.

I wouldn’t call this “irony”. Rather, I think I’d call it the fundamental truth of computer engineering. Our task as engineers is to enable human and computer to work together. The computer should be doing the parts of the task that computers are good at, and the human should be doing the parts of the task that humans are good at.

The thing that is odd to me: It seems like a lot of games are getting people to do exactly the sorts of tasks that I’ve dedicated my professional life to automating so that people don’t have to.

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