Engage in nuclear war for science
Scientists are looking for volunteers to play a video game based on nuclear destruction
“Shall we play a game?” may sound like a cliché from a 1983 Matthew Broderick film, but scientists are hoping they can get volunteers to do just that. They are looking for people to engage in nuclear war in order to determine what exactly might happen as a result of global thermonuclear war. Fortunately, it’s all just part of a video game, but the results are expected to be very realistic.
SIGNAL, Strategic Interaction Game between Nuclear Armed Lands, was created by scientists with the University of California at Berkeley, Sandia National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It is described as being part video game, part data collection tool and part experiment, and is designed to see how individuals make decisions during nuclear conflicts.
According to one of the researchers, in speaking with Matthew Gault of Vice.com, “The promise of experimental wargaming is that it offers an additional tool in the toolkit for scholars to consider questions that can’t be answered using ‘real-world’ data. The data collected may serve to generate theory for further study.”
SIGNAL is an online browser-based multiplayer game, making it even more similar to Broderick’s War Games. However, it is much more advanced, and offers better graphics, more interaction and no WOPR looking to start the next major nuclear catastrophe. The researches added to Gault, “SIGNAL offers the opportunity to examine whether and how players from different backgrounds and with different political-military experiences might play the game differently. We collect demographic data on players, including their level of knowledge on nuclear issues, and our pool includes a number of players with extensive knowledge of nuclear weapons, weapon effects, military strategy, and diplomacy.”