I find it hard to believe these “simulations” model anything more than the creator’s preconceptions. It sounds like I would agree with him, for the most part, but that doesn’t mean his crystal ball is any good.
But even if, for example, somebody back in 1999 had built the Bush-o-Tron to yield a completely accurate prediction of life under Republican rule. So what? Republicans would just call it a pack of lies, and get elected anyway. And when Katrina hit, and we went to war, and the economy went into freefall, we get to say, “I told you so.”
We can already say that, because plenty of people did tell you so. Go back and read what Liberals were saying in 1999. Most of it came true - but “I told you so” doesn’t bring back the dead.
Some of them are probably complex enough that they (at least once min/maxers get to them) actually model the emergent behavior of their creators’ preconceptions; but I’d agree with the general sentiment. In that vein, there’s a small genre of people being more or less wildly dissatisfied with the implicit messages of SimCity on urbanism and urban planning, and Civilization on eurocentricism, ‘barbarians’, etc.
There’s also the fact that, just as politics is…less than entirely evidence based… games are ultimately about being fun models, not accurate ones. Even if we did have access to a rigorously effective model of what Democracy 3 purports to model, it probably wouldn’t be as fun as some less accurate variants.
(as for a Bush-o-Tron in 1999: The Onion)
The main problem he seems to run into is that game doesn’t cover some promises that are in the manifestos (eg, you can’t leave Europe, so UKIP couldn’t do pretty much the only thing they can agree on doing, except for hating migrants).
The thing is, as his last paragraph states, that we’re all but guaranteed a coalition government, so none of these manifestos are actually going to be implemented as they are. (Or rather, now the politicians will have a reason for why they broke all their promises, “a bigger party did it and ran away”)
Dear god, my presbyopic eyes remember that Onion when it was new.
About 30 years ago, the nuclear museum in Los Alamos had a simulator for the world. I vaguely remember the inputs and outputs. Lots of categories, such as spending, population, hunger, disease, etc. everything was controlled with analog dials. Each output had 3 lights: red, yellow, green. The goal was to get them all green. Some had numbers.
So being a kid, I just turned this or that at random. Lights would change colors. To my amazement, I solved all the world’s problems. The entire board lit up green and stayed green. All except for one.
Population was a red light. It was zero.
Lesson learned: simulations can give you answers, but using the answer might not be such a great idea.
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