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  •                                 NETFUTURE
                       Technology and Human Responsibility
    Issue #55       Copyright 1997 Bridge Communications     September 9, 1997
                Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)
                         On the Web: http://netfuture.org
         You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
    *** Editor's Note
    *** Quotes and Provocations
          How To Kill and Have Fun
          Big Brother in the Bathroom?
          Is the Productive Computer Still AWOL?
          Sick Campus Networks
    *** The Executioner's Motto (Stephen L. Talbott)
          The empty destination of a computational society
    *** Announcements and Resources
          Education Technology: Asking the Right Question
    *** About this newsletter

    *** Editor's Note

    "The Executioner's Motto" in this issue represents the best summary statement I have been able to come up with about the concerns underlying NETFUTURE. I hope you will read it.


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    *** Quotes and Provocations

    How To Kill and Have Fun

    Long-time readers of this newsletter know that I've generally avoided offering responses of the "What's this world coming to?" variety (although I've noticed a class of readers who take any elaboration of technology risks as a "What's this world coming to?" exercise).

    Now, however -- well ... let me just get it out of my system: What is this world coming to? An English correspondent forwarded a news clipping (newspaper not identified) describing a new computer game in which players gain points by mowing down as many pedestrians as possible while driving their cars at high speed. For a presumably more splattery diversion, one variation of the game grants extra points for swerving off the road and killing cows.

    The game is called "Carmageddon," and its collisions involve "grotesquely realistic graphics." A spokesman for the manufacturer (London-based Sales Curve Interactive) claimed the company had made "slight cosmetic changes" to the color palette for palatability's sake, giving the characters zombie white faces and red eyes, and causing them to emit "green gunk" instead of blood. But the spokesman, protective of the company's honor, did want us to know that "we don't have any regrets with the original version."

    Despite expressions of concern from some quarters, the game appears to be doing well for Sales Curve.

    A demonstration of Carmageddon on the Internet has attracted 500,000 users to the site and Jon Evans, editor of PC Power magazine, said that the game had enjoyed good reviews from computer game magazines. "We liked it. Mowing down pedestrians clearly isn't something we would like to encourage, but it is so obviously over the top as to be pure fantas