Social Simulators

I've seen two social simulator projects in the last couple of months, and they are both worth exploring.

The first was at the NCTI: National Center for Technology Innovation » 2007 NCTI Technology Innovators Conference, where I had a blast keynoting.
Tracy Gray, seated, Jim Fruchterman with both hands over his head at a podium

The first project was Social Simentor, which is aimed at helping people adapt their behavior to the workplace. It has broader applications, but we were definitely talking about using this for people with disabilities that affect their interpersonal behavior. It's an early prototype, but I could see the potential of this approach to teaching social skills for job readiness.

The second project is from Australia. Reach Out! is an online role playing game, called Reachout Central. Reach Out! is an organization that serves at-risk youth, and ROC is a way of allowing youth to play an on-line game that helps illustrate social interactions. I've played it for a while, and thought it was well done. It's Australia-centric, of course, but one could imagine the concept being adapted for other communities.

At the NCTI conference, we also heard from someone from Second Life. It also seems to be a place where similar social interaction scenarios can happen (in addition to the frequently sexually oriented interactions that are already a major part of any new tech innovation!). Of course, I brought up the lack of accessibility to some people with disabilities, based on the conversation I had in Brighton with Hiroshi Kawamura and Kevin Carey. Larry Goldberg of NCAM/WGBH brought up that they were starting to work on access with Linden Labs, the maker of Second Life. That was great news!


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