It only took a few days, but Pokémon Go has already spurred some intent philosophising.
Yeah, the initially vacuous concept of roaming around your neighbourhood in search of digital baddies to capture and collect apparently offers a fair few moral quandaries. Just ask Waleed Aly, who today hosted ABC Radio National’s The Minefield, alongside Aunty’s religion and ethics expert Scott Stephens and guest philosopher Laura D’Olimpio.
“Instead of staring vacantly into a screen at home, they’re staring vacantly into a screen in a park, at least.Kids and parents are doing this together because of the nostalgic value, of course it was huge 20 years ago but now you’ve got a generation who are sharing it with their kids…It’s kind of like a family activity in a way. It’s anaemic, I’ll give you that, it’s a pale imitation of what a family activity can be but I wonder if it’s a lesser evil.”
But the question for me is not whether Pokémon Go is an ethical game, but what is the ethically informed way of playing Pokémon Go?”
In his view, the game’s congealed concepts have been problematic since day dot. Describing when the series first came to prominence, he said “even then, there were certain ethical questions that were being raised….
It’s this radical fusion of this obsession with collecting, mass marketed cartoons, and what is essentially cockfighting for kids…The whole thing kind of sounds ethically dubious.”
So, she asks “this ethical question is ‘how should we allow technology to mediate our lives and our lived experiences in ways that are positive, that might be conducive to flourishing?’…
Our intention is to have a positive engagement in our communities, as opposed to this isolation and disconnection where the only form of love and connection is technological.”
Listen to the whole episode right here – hell, you could even do it while you’re out and about snatching up all of those Rattatas.