Space Ramblings

The Future Is So Bright I Have To Gold Farm All Night

I’m talking about the Guardian story on widespread gold farming by political prisoners in China. Moments like this make Bruce Sterling and Wiliam Gibson irrelevant.

But it was the forced online gaming that was the most surreal part of his imprisonment. The hard slog may have been virtual, but the punishment for falling behind was real.

“If I couldn’t complete my work quota, they would punish me physically. 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,” he said.

Cyberpunk is dead. Reality is much worse than dystopian fantasies about nanoplague hackers. The future is already here it’s ugly enough.

Think of a prisoner escaping to a virtual world inside a prison, but the virtual world turns out to be just another labor camp. A virtual prison inside a real prison. A situation that would make a great story. Except it’s reality. And what does it say about our virtual worlds that they have their own hard labor camps tucked away inside them?

Will Blizzard and other online gaming services finally terminate gold farming for good? But that would mean taking currency out of the game. Players would have to rely only on their own achievements. It would be the ethical thing to do. But in the age of Farmville, ethics only get in the way. Blizzard sold itself to EA. So the odds of an EA company doing something ethical are not good. (See Bioware)

The political prisoner gold farming thing along with the iPhone suicide factory shows the real price of American geek indulgences. People suffer and die for these things.

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