Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Spontaneous Order Art

I am currently reading The Art of Immersion by Frank Rose. In it he describes an online game associated with the opening of the film AI. In it he describes how Jordan Weisman and Elan Lee of 42 Entertainment developed and ran the game. However, there is something of interest to Austrian school economists:

When he and Lee were planning the game, Weisman had argued that no puzzle would be too hard, no clue too obscure, because with so many people collaborating online, the players would have access to any conceivable skill that would be needed to solve it. Where he erred was in not following that argument to its logical conclusion.

"Not only do they have every skill set on the planet," he told me, "but they have unlimited resources, unlimited time, and unlimited money. Not only can they solve anything -- they can solve anything instantly. He had dubbed his game The Beast because originally it had 666 items of content -- Web pages to pore over, obscure puzzles to decipher. These were supposed to keep the players busy for three months; instead, the players burned through them in a single day.

Talk about a demonstration of spontaneous order!

It seems that this element of the internet has yet to be truly taken advantage of. Imagine a business offering to pay people whatever percentage of a solution they contribute. What possibilities are there for not just games, but for interactive works of literature? Might there emerge a real spontaneous order form of literature? Would it be participatory? Involve multiple authors and editors (could one imagine a wikinovel?)? Multi-genre? All of the above? May the spontaneous order of the internet and of the world wide web give rise to a real spontaneous order art form that was impossible before their arrival?

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