Blog Post 2 – Emerging Technologies Impact on Australian Workforce.

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In my first DIGC335 blog, I highlighted the potential rise in unemployment rates globally as emerging technologies begin to take over our workforce. This concern is prompted by the role technology has played in dramatically reshaping all areas of life. In recent years, we have seen an exponential increase in the pace at which we see societal change, as well as an increase in the capacity of innovation. Economists believe that this continual emergence of information and communication technologies will have a dramatic impact on employment, which will see both growing demand for new skills and occupations, as well as job losses in a number of vulnerable industries (Angus, C 2015).

One economists who shares these views is Andrew McAfee (2013), who offers an insightful TED talk on what he believes future jobs will look life. His talk provides an extensive understanding on this shift into what he coins ‘The New Machine Age’. As mentioned by Andrew, the list of emerging technologies is constantly growing, with robots, VR, smartphones, 3D printing and online communications being a few recently trending. These technologies are broad-based in their scope and significant in their ability to transforming existing businesses and personal lives (West, D.M 2015).

In my initial stages of research I found a research report on NSW future workforce trends. Within the paper, Chris Angus (2015) highlights five overarching technological developments in the field of information and communications technology that are predicted to have the most profound impact on the Australian workforce. These being:

  • Cloud services
  • The Internet of Things
  • Big Data
  • Machine learning and robots
  • Immersive communications

It is made evident that the five points above will provide numerous benefits and opportunities for businesses sectors across Australia. These opportunities include:

  • Increased production + efficiency (particularly through automation)
  • Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 2.40.36 pm

    ‘World Bank Group, 2015’

    Innovation of new enterprises

  • Increased entrepreneurship
  • Greater workplace flexibility
  • Lower barriers for start up businesses
  • Reduced costs

A two prominent positive of these emerging technologies to industries, is the creation of thousands of “digital jobs” directly, for people involved in ‘Information and Communication Technology’ (ICT) production and for advanced users, who use specific software and tools as a main element of their work (World Bank Group, 2015). Another is the emergence of digital tools allowing for more people to connect to work from home. All these benefits can already be seen in the Australian workforce.

While increasing computational power and rapidly falling prices are encouraging greater use of computers, the capacity of machines to replicate aspects of human thought is set to most radically reshape the labour market. These advances mean that activities previously considered forever outside the scope of programming are increasingly being undertaken by computers (Gratton, L et. al 2015). In relation to The Australian workforce, we will see two impacts of increased technological dependency:

  • Direct substitute of AUS labour, with a high probability that as much as 40 per cent of the jobs in Australia could be replaced by computers within a decade or two
  • Disrupt the way work is conducted, expanding competition and reducing the costs to consumers but also reducing the income of workers.

 There is a strong need for the Australian government to consider, and implement specific actions to expand the opportunities that technologies bring, in particular for the workforce. I can identify four sets of policies and programs that would assist in the transition of technologically driven industries (World Bank Group, 2015).

  • The first one is the need to re-examine the regulatory frameworks governing education; to ensure students and future workers develop the required skillsets to prosper in this digital age. School curriculum’s need to be adjusted to guarantee all stages of the education process have some attention on instilling digital competencies rather than a pure focus on retention of specific knowledge.
  • The next strategy is the creation of more digital jobs. The Australian government should implement enabling policies and regulatory environments for entrepreneurship and innovation, that assist start-ups flourish. Creation of more jobs can also be done through connecting educators with employers to reduce the lag in educational systems’ and skills development programs
  • The third strategy is the improved access to digital tools across the country. The expansion and affordability of reliable Internet access is crucial to this strategy, allowing for a connection of digital tools as well as the accompanying work opportunities.
  • The last strategy is to assist workers with the transition. So workers, in particular labour industries, will not be able to adapt to technological change quickly. Therefore the creation of targeted assistance programs should be considered, in which the government works closely with businesses and training organisations to help such workers with specific assistance.

For my research report I plan to critically analyse the potential effects of continual technological development and dependency, and whether it will have any profound impacts, both positively and negatively, on future Australian employment. I believe that a focus on the Australian job climate will provide the report with more direction and relevance to the later section of the report in which I look to discuss strategy implementation. This section of the report I want to offer potential researched strategies that can be implemented by the Australian government as a means of capitalising on emerging technologies whilst also ensuring high employment rates across the country. Within strategy implementation, I will have a strong focus on the reshaping of education systems and curriculums.

References:

McAfee, A 2013, ‘What Will Future Jobs Look Like’, TED, YouTube,

https://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_mcafee_what_will_future_jobs_look_like >

Angus, C 2015, ‘Future workforce trends in NSW: Emerging technologies and their potential impact’, NSW Parliament Research Service, December Report,

https://goo.gl/kXWNO8 >

West, D.M 2015, ‘What happens if robots take the jobs? The impact of emerging technologies on employment and public policy’, Brookings Centre for Technology Innovation, October,
https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/robotwork.pdf >

World Bank Group 2015, ‘The Effects of Technology on Employment and Implications for Public Employment Services’, Turkey, May,

http://g20.org.tr/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/The-Effects-of-Technology-on-Employment-and-Implications-for-Public-Employment-Services.pdf >

Gratton, L et. al 2015, ‘Australia’s Future Workforce’, CEDA, June Report,

https://goo.gl/Wo6VIh >

Game Pitch

risk-board-gameAs discussed in my previous blog, I have a profound interest in ‘Risk: The Game of Global Domination’. The games conflicting nature, and capacity for dynamic strategies has provided constant entertainment for me and my friends since a young age. With my years of experience playing Risk, I have decided to use its design as a base for the creation of my own board game. As discussed in the DIGC310 week three seminar, I will be conducting a process of modding, in which I will use core mechanics of Risk as a starting point in my creation of a new play experience.

Modding is the act of modifying the software or hardware of a game. This can mean fixing a bug, changing a setting, adding content, or completely altering the experience for a player. Modding usually occurs after a games publication and can mean the extended lifespan and long term popularity of the game (Moore, C 2017). This can be seen with Risk, through the numerous expansions of the game being released over the years. Much like previous modifications of the game, I look to use various aspects and mechanics of Risk that I feel are pivotal to the games success; whilst also modifying areas to suit and shape the game experience I am looking for.

In my initial brainstorm of modifications to Risk, Chris made a great suggestion of utilising hexagon tiles to make up the map in which the game is played. He recommended I investigated the Japanese board game ‘Takenoko’. The game itself is depicted on a number of hexagon tiles that are strategically positioned by players to aid in their gardening of bamboo. The use of these tiles ensures that the game is different each time the game is played depending on play types of participants. I aim to incorporate this board type in my design, as I believe it will create different strategic possibilities each time playing the game, ensuring that the game will retain novelty after numerous plays.

Another modification I have made is the incorporation of 6 General cards that are individually allocated to players upon the beginning of the game. The General cards have no use in game, however, they each offer a unique bonus to the player (e.g. General Phillips: +2 troops trained every 2nd turn). I believe the use of Generals help distinguish and personalise the different armies, allowing for players to assume the roles of the General they receive.

Further innovation of the game has lead me to incorporate ‘fortification tokens’ that each player will receive and place on the territory of there choice at the beginning of the game. These fortification tokens are used as a home base for the player, that receive an additional dice to roll when their base is being defended from an attack.

In the original Risk, the games inability to finish in a reasonable time was an issue. The game could go from anywhere between 2 hours – 1 week. With this frustration, I decided to incorporate ‘star cards’. These star cards are awarded to players who achieve objectives throughout the game (e.g. Conquer 2 opponents bases). Any player who first receives 3 star cards wins the game.

As mentioned before, players can receive star cards through the completion of objectives. Players will take an objective card if they conquer a territory on their turn; and collect up to 6 objective cards at any onetime. Players can choose to either fulfil their objectives in order to gain a star card; or they can trade their cards in (3 cards or more), to gain troops equal to the value of the objective cards.

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For this last segment of my blog, I will be briefly discussing two of the core components to the creation of my game:

  1. Primary Game ‘Loop’ – The core mechanic of the game experience?
  2. Definitions of game states – Beginning (how do you start), Middle (what happens during play), End (how do you win/lose)

Primary Game ‘Loop’

In thinking about mechanics, we can come to the understanding that a games mechanics are constructs of rules or methods designed for interaction with the game itself (Cook, D 2006). Therefore, the core mechanics of the game experience is the action of play that the player performs over and over until games end; more commonly known as the ‘primary game loop’.

I will be using the core mechanic of Risk as my primary game loop; this being ‘territory conquest’ through attacking, defending and reinforcing. Each players turn will consists of three phases;

  1. Receive and Place Reinforcements
  2. Combat
  3. Fortify Position

Definition of Game States

The game states makes up the lifecycle of a game; defining the beginning, middle and end of a game. I will be using game states of Risk to help with the innovation of my own play experience. In order to better understand the game states, I will list off the components of the board game:

  • 42 hexagon tiles (make up the game board)
    • 6 grey tiles (free territories)
    • 36 General coloured tiles
  • 6 General cards (each associated with a colour) – red, blue, yellow, pink, black, green
  • 6 dice
  • Coloured Army Tokens (Foot Soldiers, Light Artillery, Heavy Artillery)
  • 18 Star Cards
  • 30 Objective Cards
  • 6 Fortification Tokens (each associated with a colour)

Beginning  

  • General cards will be shuffled and placed individually faced down on the table.  Players will roll a dice each to determine who picks a card first (this will also determine the order of placing tiles as well as order for turns to start the game). Highest roll goes first, followed by players in a clockwise rotation. Once all generals have been selected, players will collect all the tiles, army tokens and fortification associated with their General’s colour. (If playing with less than 6 players, the tiles associated with un-used Generals become free territories).
  • Players will place the free territory tiles in the centre of the table in any formation. This is followed by players in a clockwise rotation positioning 1 territory at a time till all tiles are played out. Players will then position their fortification token on a territory of their choice.
  • Next players will tactically place out a certain number of troops (dependant on how many players) on the board. Each territory must have at least 1 troop on it.
  • Once done, the player with the initial highest roll will conduct his first turn.

Middle

  • Players will loop the main core mechanic of the game; attacking, defending, reinforcing.
  • Turn is split into 3 phases:
    • Receive and Position Reinforcements
    • Combat
    • Fortify Position

End

  • Game has reached its end once a player has either:
    • Gained 3 star cards
    • Conquered all territories

 

Post Pitch Notes

  • Need to rethink the dice rolling mechanic. Too many issues with the risk of the dice.
  • Theme: Great suggestion for cyberwar theme.
  • Need to play test and prototype immediately

 

References:

Moore, C 2017, ‘Appropriation and Play: Mods and Machinima’, DIGC310, Week Seminar Three,
Cook, D 2006, ‘What are Game Mechanics’, LOSTGARDEN, October 23,