Wednesday, June 27, 2007

World Without Oil

World Without Oil is an alternate reality event, a serious game for the public good.

It invites everyone to help simulate a global oil shock. People participate by contributing original online stories, created as though the oil shock were really happening.

The game's masters rank the participants (“players”) according to their contributions to our realistic portrayal of the oil shock. The game also places value on player-created communities, collaborative stories, and collective efforts.

Each contribution helps the game arrive at a larger truth. No team of experts knows better than a given individual what effect an oil shock would have upon that individual's life, or what action he or she will take to cope. Personal reactions to our simulated oil shock, placed in context with many other points of view, will help us all realize what’s at stake in our oil-fired culture.

World Without Oil aims to help fill a huge gap in our nation's thinking about oil and the economy. As people everywhere grapple with the problem of growing global demand for petroleum, no one has a clear picture of oil availability in the future, nor is there a clear picture of what will happen when demand inevitably outstrips supply. That will depend in large part upon how well people prepare, cooperate, and collectively create solutions. By playing it out in a serious way, the game aims to apply collective intelligence and imagination to the problem in advance, and to create a record that has value for educators, policymakers, and the common people to help anticipate the future and prevent its worst outcomes. “Play it, before you live it.”

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