The Entertainment Software Rating Board, which has struggled to keep up with the flood of games produced for app stores and other online markets, is now taking steps to automate the rating process. "Starting on Monday the ratings board plans to begin introducing computers to the job of deciding whether a game is appropriate for Everyone, for Teens or for Mature gamers (meaning older than 16). To do this the organization has written a program designed to replicate the ingrained cultural norms and predilections of the everyday American consumer, at least when it comes to what is appropriate for children and what isn’t. ... the main evaluation of hundreds of games each year will be based not on direct human judgment but instead on a detailed digital questionnaire meant to gauge every subtle nuance of violence, sexuality, profanity, drug use, gambling and bodily function that could possibly offend anyone. The questionnaire, to be filled out by a game’s makers (with penalties for nondisclosure), is like a psychological inquest into the depths of all the things our culture considers potentially unwholesome."
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