Steven Johnson has been speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
It seemed surprising enough to me that World Economic Forum wanted to do a panel on video games, much less one called "Video Games Driving Social Evolution." But I figured that given all the world-saving panels going on elsewhere, our little session would attract a few stragglers who couldn't get in to see Bono. Imagine my surprise when our panel was one of the first to fill up in its time slot, and eventually attracted a packed room with more than a few media CEOs.
But maybe the most telling thing about the session -- which was skillfully moderated by the Times' John Markoff, whom I had somehow never met over my decade or so of conference-going -- was the overwhelming consensus in the room that games were largely a force for good: complex, challenging, and full of promise for future application in more traditional educational contexts. The few skeptical notes were voiced almost with an apologetic, I'm-just-playing-devil's-advocate tone. It was great to see; I hope the audience enjoyed hearing the discussion as much as I enjoyed participating in it.