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Games Science

Predicting Color Blindness, ADD, or Learning Disorders From Game Data 65

An anonymous reader tips a story at VentureBeat about a company that helps game developers analyze data gathered from their games to detect cheaters. But now, the company says this data can also be used to determine other traits of the players, like whether they're minors, or whether they like to gamble. Their CEO, Lukasz Twardowski, expects such analysis will soon be able to reveal even more traits, like whether a player is color blind, has a developmental disorder, or has Alzheimer's disease. "'Games are the richest and the most meaningful form of human-computer interaction. ...By tracking how they play games, we can learn a lot about people,' Twardowski explained. Hesitatingly, he added: 'That will be a huge responsibility for us later on.' ... Academics have begun to take games more seriously, as a window into the human psyche. Games are addictive and immersive and are built to command hours of our time and attention. What better testbed for myriad psychological and medical conditions? A good game pushes us to our limits, challenging us to use both the analytical and intuitive sides of our brain.
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Predicting Color Blindness, ADD, or Learning Disorders From Game Data

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  • Ender's Game (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dracocat ( 554744 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @10:07PM (#40798447)

    Am I the only one whose first thought was of Ender's Game? In reality, I think the idea has been around for a while, and seems quite practical AND useful. To me the only surprising thing is that it hasn't been implemented yet. It seems like we should have had the technology to do something like this for a long time.

    Detecting some of the problems early on can significantly help the child.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 27, 2012 @10:32PM (#40798555)

    Something to "bear in mind" during military style games - it'd be an easy detector, right there (most likely)... I'd also like to add that though some of the colorblind (since there are varying degrees of it) cannot see the same things "normal folks" do in "lantern tests", there are other forms of those lantern tests that show the colorblind see differently - because they can see types of those tests (whereas by way of comparison, the normal sighted cannot). I wouldn't call it "seeing the world through rose colored glasses", but, definitely seeing it differently!

  • most I get but ADD? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Riceballsan ( 816702 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @10:40PM (#40798617)
    as someone who has some degree of ADD, I have to wonder how a video game would detect it. In general someone with ADD has less focus in many areas of life, but in many cases other activities can lead to a more solid focus, and in many cases, video games are one of those cases. Unless they intentionally make parts of the game extremely boring, I can't quite see that working.
  • Re:Minors? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @11:11PM (#40798767)

    Language, hours of access, reaction time, friends (once you know one is a minor you can work backwards).

    Kids also have certain stages of development with language and reasoning, and they will suffer from difficulties with particular challenges in sequence.

    While not my research area, I'm AI development, there are people in my research group who have looked at this problem. Even with machine learning, if you have a reasonably accurate training set you can blindly pick out certain things.

    Even basic stuff. Do they have a credit card in their name? If not then you don't have proof of course, but you can start to combine with other factors and start seeing a pattern of child like behaviour.

    Kids will also like some much more childish games in addition to adult ones (so an 11 year old might play a game like 'campers!' just released for the iphone, and grand theft auto, whereas a 30 year old would only play grand theft auto).

  • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @11:18PM (#40798781)

    With a camera you can track peoples vision. You can correlate reaction time to what's going on in game, all sorts of stuff. Games actually work very well for people with ADD because they have a constant stream of rewards keeping you focused on the task. One of the things we worry about when talking about game addiction is that it's not so much addiction as it is one of the few problems people will naturally pay attention to if they have ADD. The logical follow on to that comes from training people at various stages of brain development to behave that way (by giving them rewards), and then having games be a causation problem. Not that we know if that's actually happening yet, but that's certainly something people who do research in this area are worried about.

    There are a few other tangential symptoms how quickly you get frustrated that sort of thing. Those can actually be tracked, the more sensitive the controller (if it has a gyroscope in it) the more easily you can figure out if the player is mashing buttons particularly hard, that sort of thing.

  • Disturbing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @11:51PM (#40798911)

    The problem isn't that this personal information can be sniffed out... it's that there are no laws preventing its misuse...

    Dear Customer,
    We regret to inform you that your medical insurance rates will be increasing by 7.35% effective immediately due to a undiagnosed, but now pre-existing condition. Also, your car insurance will be going up by 3%, and your doctor wants to schedule a psychiatric evaluation.

    Your Gaming Company
    P.S. We detected that you have an addictive personality and tend to be forgetful. Your monthly renewal fee has been adjusted upwards accordingly. You won't remember this.

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer