Gaming the system in the 2050's

by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright September 2017


Gaming the system is an enjoyable activity that has been around a long time. It will still be happening in the 2050's because it is so enjoyable but the forms it will be taking will have changed a lot.


Gaming the system is when a person gets away with minor rule breaking and gets some small benefit from doing so. It happens because it feels good to the person doing the rule breaking and the activity isn't endangering the community or the system. These are mild forms of corruption.

The forms system gaming take vary widely and depend on the technologies available and the community mores. Examples of 2010's system gaming are exploiting a bug in a computer game, a business traveler padding their expense account, and turnstile jumping at a subway station. None of these cause a lot of harm, but they give considerable pleasure to the person engaging in them.

What's coming

In the 2050's we will have pervasive surveillance and wearables. These mean that people will be intensely monitored compared to the 2010's. With all this monitoring what kind of system gaming will people be able to get away with?

Two factors will shape the gaming practices of the 2050's: human ingenuity and cyber tolerance of what it sees humans doing. Humans will be constantly experimenting to discover new ways of gaming the system. This element is nothing new, it goes on constantly. The new element is what cyber will be programmed to tolerate in what it sees humans doing.

The key element here will be cyber recognizing the pleasure that the gaming is giving the person doing it, and, surprise, it can! This will be something that the person's wearables can sense so the cyber deciders will not be ignorant of the pleasure. They must then decide on the tradeoff: is this pleasure worth the damage, or is it being too expensive? If it is too expensive the person will be first warned, then revealed and shamed.


Humans gaming the system isn't going away. But, as in the past, what forms it takes will be shaped by the technology and community mores.

What will be different in the 2050's is the pervasive technology and the ability of cyber supervisors to monitor how much pleasure the system gaming is giving to the participant. These will shape what is permissible and what is over the line.



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