You don't need big bad government and corporate conspiracies to subjugate people in the days of the coming Singularity. All you have to do is hop online and look around. I noticed the advent of virtual serfdom a few years ago, when an eminent professor for whom I worked had one secretary whose main job was simply to answer his e-mails. People with real power do not go online and waste countless hours of their lives in virtual worlds. They hire others to waste their lives for them. Think of all the hours you have spent online since 1995. Undoubtedly some of it was productive - and creative - in online environments. But what about the time that wasn't? What could human beings have accomplished in the real world in the past fifteen odd years if many of them had not been plugged into the drug of the Millennium? Yes, we get a great deal out of the Internet and can communicate and socialize in ways never before imagined. But the next time you relax into the warm fuzzy cyber embrace of the Internet, ask yourself: to whom am I giving up my freedom, and for what reward?
BBC reports that a man in China hired gamers to assassinate his son's virtual avatar inside an online video game to force him into the real world and get a job:
One of the commenters on the Kotaku piece wrote: "His son should get a job working for other fathers to kill their sons in online games."A man in China hired virtual "assassins" to hunt down his son in online video games and kill off his avatar, according to local media. The man, named by the Kotaku East blog as Mr Feng, was concerned about the amount of time his 23-year-old unemployed son was spending online. He hoped his actions would deter his son from playing the games, he is reported to have said. His son eventually asked one of the gamers why they kept targeting him. "It's not going to do much for family relations," Prof Mark Griffiths, a gambling and addictions expert at Nottingham Trent University told the BBC. "I've never heard of that kind of intervention before, but I don't think these top-down approaches work. Most excessive game playing is usually a symptom of an underlying problem."
Source at Sanqing Daily. Additional report. And here. There are more disturbing reports from Dvice:
Add this to the list of crazy stuff people will do for technology. We've heard of young teens trading kidneys for iPads, virginities for iPhones and weirdos who eat deep-fried PSPs, but parents selling their kids to fund internet gaming addictions? That's new and insane. Chinese newspaper Sanxiang City News reports that a young couple and former parents of three children sold their offspring off as they came into the world for money to spend on gaming at local Internet cafes.
Image Source: Kotaku.
In other news, Kotaku (via the Guardian) has reported that in the Jixi prison labour camp, prisoners are forced to spend hours playing video games:
There are more reports on Chinese video game gold farming here, here, here, here, here and here.Inmates at China's Jixi prison labor camp are tasked with backbreaking, mind-numbing work: mining rock, carving chopsticks by hand, and assembly line work. Some are even forced to endure grueling video game play, farming for gold in online games.
That's no joke. The Guardian reports on the conditions at a Chinese labor camp that allegedly put prisoners to work in (unnamed) massively multiplayer online games, reaping virtual gold that prison guards would resell and profit from.
While playing the likes of World of Warcraft may sound like a welcome break from the physical toil of breaking rock and whittling toothpicks, the reality of it sounds like nothing but an endless grind interspersed with beatings.
The Guardian quotes a 54-year-old, former prison guard "who was jailed for three years in 2004 for 'illegally petitioning' the central government about corruption in his hometown" in its story. He explains.
"If I couldn't complete my work quota, they would punish me physically," he said. "They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air and after I returned to my dormitory they would beat me with plastic pipes. We kept playing until we could barely see things."