Though Pokemon Go is blamed for resulting in some deaths, it can play a very crucial role in saving the lives of billions in natural disasters. This popular mobile game and many others like it could be used for good — and not just as a distraction possibly resulting in injuries and surprise discoveries — during emergencies, said Smithsonian Magazine.
How can Pokemon Go save lives?
Suppose a major hurricane strikes the East Coast, and then Pokemon Go is made to switch into “Red Cross mode.” In this mode, players are not required to hunt down virtual monsters.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, “Maybe all Pokemon Go players need is a little nudge in the direction of emergency response tasks when disaster strikes.”
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Instead, they would be urged to perform other tasks related to relief measures and then awarded for them, like donating blood, handing out emergency supplies, offering temporary housing, making donations, evacuating affected areas, and so on. It could serve as an emergency broadcast system too, with the only exception being that it would actually mobilize a community response to a disaster instead of just interrupting television shows, says newser.com.
It has already been shown how “gamification” helps compel people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do, such as reducing their electricity usage or learning a language. Such a plan, however, could encounter a few problems. A prominent one is spotty cell service during many emergencies, but technological advancement could address the issue.
Other games promoting a social cause
Pokemon Go has inspired several developers. Some are even developing games with similar ideas, of which one is a new gaming app called SwingVoter Go. The game motivated people to take more interest in the 2016 election, inspiring gamers who don’t live in swing states to influence voters who do.
In this game, players are prompted to pick any battleground state such as Florida or Pennsylvania. Then they are required to use Facebook to find people from their social networks who are from those states and can engage in election-related conversations, says Smithsonian Magazine. SwingVoter offers lucrative rewards, which players can share on social media to attract undecided voters to participate into a conversation. Successful players are able to increase their collective scores and get one step closer to becoming a “swing master.”
“By combining advances in augmented reality games with the sharing economy…we could be poised on the threshold of a revolution in disaster response that empowers the public to follow their natural helpful instincts in response to all kinds of crises,” Smithsonian Magazine says.