Friday, May 05, 2006

Entrepreneurship is a double-edged sword

Entrepreneurship is a double-edged sword
This item, on how Islamist militants from al-Qaeda and other groups are creating mods to popular videogames, shows that the power of entrepreneurship can be used for good AND ill.

Tech-savvy militants from al Qaeda and other groups have modified video war games so that U.S. troops play the role of bad guys in running gunfights against heavily armed Islamic radical heroes, Defense Department official and contractors told Congress.

The games appear on militant Web sites, where youths as young as 7 can play at being troop-killing urban guerillas after registering with the site's sponsors.

I'm fond of asking people whether Microsoft's 50,000 employees generate more or less innovation than 10,000 5-person startups. The point is that entrepreneurship is a powerful tool.

The U.S. Army spent millions of dollars creating America's Army to boost their spends a few bucks a month to distribute their mods.

The irony here is that these organizations are using the entrepreneurship that makes capitalism great against the United States.

But the answer isn't to restrict mods, or to ban violent videogames. The answer is to do a better job of creating and distributing compelling content.

And rather than asking the CIA or DoD to create the project, why not simply offer a prize to the best privately-developed efforts?

If you could convince the government to pay, this might be a huge business opportunity. After all, how much would you pay to avoide spending billions upon billions on a war if you could accomplish your objectives peacefully in the online world.?


Fancypants said...

According to the Reuters article written by David Morgan published on Thursday, May 4, 2006 states, “One of the latest video games modified by militants is the popular "Battlefield 2" from leading video game publisher, Electronic Arts Inc (ERTS.O) of Redwood City, California.” In fact this video was made by a member of the Planetbattlefield forums who apparently has no provable connection with militant Islam “Science Applications International Corp., has a $7 million Defense Department to monitor 1,500 militant Web sites that provide Al Qaeda and other militant organizations with a main venue for communications, fund-raising, recruitment and training.” Regardless of any reasons our government will give for this contract with SAIC, the result of our tax dollars at work is government sponsored propaganda right here in the land of the free. Readers across America have been led to believe that this video was made by “Islamic militants to exhort Muslim youths to take up arms against the United States” but despite huge amount of resources spent on big government ‘intelligence’ an amateur researcher uncovered their mistake. Public awareness of our government’s lack of professionalism about this very serious matter is widespread. One can only assume that this was a slip up and that most other government propaganda is well camouflaged. American citizens who currently enjoy some of the highest living standards in the world should ask themselves: “What do we have to gain from this so called ‘war on terror’ and what do we stand to loose if it spirals out of control?”

Nathan Heilmann

Chris said...

Nathan, thanks for the comment. That is disgraceful. Once again, the MSM lets us down.

I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry about the fact that some of the content came from Team America: World Police. I thought that the "I was just a boy when the infidels came to my village in Blackhawk helicopters..." sounded oddly familiar.

Hillary said...

I've been wondering just when Ender's Game would migrate from fiction to fact. I think gaming is the future in ways we have barely begun to imagine. I hope to be able to attend a game-based university in my dotage, and to telecommute to a multi-dimensional game-based office environment. And I would definitely volunteer for the online army!

Chris said...

The beauty of gaming as a paradigm for education, work, etc., is that it encourages choice and playfulness, rather than obligation and duty.

I'm a big fan.