Collapse dynamics: a lecture on complex change in social systems

June 16, 2009

Noah Raford, a contributor to this blog and consultant with HFP, posts this video and slides from a recent lecture on collapse and social transition he gave at the LSE Complexity Programme.

Video of the talk can be found here, thanks to our good friend Vinay Gupta:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Thanks to Professor Eve Mittleton-Kelly and all those who attended from the Collapsonomics group.

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The Gupta Option 2019 – Superstruct field report from the DCAR of the future

May 18, 2009
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vinay Gupta just forwarded us this lovely report from the future of the DCAR, produced as part of the brilliant Superstruct online futuring game (curated by the Institute for the Future, by the way, whose latest 10 year forecast we have been profiling here).

This is a wonderful piece of future theatre, synthesizing issues of electronic democracy, internally displaced peoples, state failure, and global pandemics.  Scenario planning exercises should all be this fun.

Thanks Vinay!


Hans Rosling Video Gapcast: Swine Flu News versus Death Ratio

May 11, 2009

Hans Rosling, of Gapminder fame, recently posted a humorous and perspective-inducing video comparing the number of deaths from swine flu to those from tuberculosis.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The famous Swedish statistician compares the amount of media coverage for swine flu to that of tuberculosis, normalised by the number of deaths caused by each in a two week period.

Obviously swine flu has pandemic potential and could still make a break for the big time, in substance if not in coverage alone.  But this is nonetheless a lovely measure of calm in the midst of an otherwise pandemic-crazy,  catastrophe prone outlook.

Many thanks to Infosthetics for the tip.


“A Force More Powerful” serious gaming to teach non-violent strategies

December 19, 2008

This is another fantastic example of combining contemporary gaming technology with humanitarian, training, and learning expertise on crucial issues.

A group of filmmakers and nonviolence activists at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) have created a serious game simulation which teaches players nonviolent resistance strategies under oppressive regimes. A Force More Powerful: The Game of Non-Violent Strategy”

From the website:

Can a computer game help people learn how to defeat dictators, military occupiers, and corrupt rulers–not with laser rays and AK47s–but with a non-military strategy and nonviolent weapons?

Featuring ten scenarios inspired by history, A Force More Powerful simulates nonviolent struggles to win freedom and secure human rights against dictators, occupiers, colonizers, and corrupt regimes, as well as campaigns for political and human rights for minorities and women. The game models real-world experience, allowing players to devise strategies, apply tactics and see the results.


“Virtual Peace” humanitarian training simulator

December 18, 2008

This project is a cutting edge example of collaborative technologies for humanitarian aid.

Duke University researchers have created an online world similar to Second Life, in which students can train for emergency humanitarian response situations.  The game is designed to help students learn disaster relief and conflict resolution skills through online simulation.

From an HFP perspective this project integrates new, online technologies with social networking to encourage collaboration in a cross-organisational context.  Players act as representatives of different groups, including the UN, local government, and international NGO’s, who must work together to understand each others goals and achieve a shared outcome.  There is also a great white paper online discussing the benefits of simulation in this environment, “Simulation and Game Environments Improve Learning”

From the website;

Virtual Peace: Turning Swords to Ploughshares brings together digital learning technologies and international humanitarian assistance efforts. Students and educators enter an immersive, multi-sensory game-based environment that simulates real disaster relief and conflict resolution conditions in order to learn first-hand the necessary tools for sensitive and timely crisis response.”

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