Steven Berlin Johnson

Author, "Everything Bad Is Good for You"

Serious Games
38 minutes, 17.7mb, recorded 2005-10-21
Steven Berlin Johnson

Stephen Berlin Johnson brings a unique perspective to the consideration of the cultural impact of video games. Until recently, the discussion of video games focused primarily on the negative aspects – the violence, immorality and potential for addiction. He points out that this conversation has shifted and is beginning to accept that there are positive benefits inherent in playing video games.

Johnson argues that judgment of video games should consider the intellectual and problem solving skills they require. The games of today are quite different from those of 25 years ago. They have become more complex and challenging. There is much more required of a player in order to be successful. The player must observe and learn the rules of participation, develop strategies for moving forward, and constantly make decisions based upon feedback received from the game. The development of these strategic and critical thinking skills, balanced with the need for moderation and participation in other activities, make it reasonable to accept that video games can have a positive impact upon society.

This talk was from the Serious Games session at Pop!Tech. The other speakers in this session were Edward Castronova and Ivan Marovic. The question and answer period for all three speaker can be heard at the end of this talk.

Steven Berlin Johnson is renowned for his ability to explain complicated and counterintuitive ideas cleverly without overwhelming readers. He is the author of the national bestseller, Mind Wide Open: Your Brain And The Neuroscience of Everyday Life. Featured on NPR's Fresh Air and in Reader's Digest, the book relates new brain science to our understanding of personality - using Steven's own personality as the test case.

Steven is also celebrated author of the acclaimed Interface Culture and Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software. The latter was on four prestigious "Best Book of the Year" lists and was named a New York Times Notable Book. It was a finalist for the 2002 Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. His books have been translated into ten different languages.

Steven is currently a contributing editor for Wired and a monthly columnist for Discover magazine, writing about politics, media, science, and technology. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, and many others. Steven was the cofounder and editor-in-chief of FEED, the revolutionary Internet magazine that managed to blend technology, science, and culture. He was named by Newsweek as one of the "Fifty People Who Matter Most on the Internet."

Steven is an avid speaker and has keynoted dozens of conferences and corporate retreats. He has spoken to the Homeland Security department about the war or terror, the BBC interactive division about the promise of new media, and delivered a keynote speech about the brain at Esther Dyson's PC Forum.


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