Dynamics of the Mobile Revolution

ASCJ 420, Section 21941R
Thursdays, 2:00-3:50pm

This course will function like a think tank focused on how storytellers and media professionals can succeed as gamification, alternate reality, and geo-mobile technology converge into an economic, social, and political agent of harmonization in the post-disruption era—or, more to the point, how to flourish in an increasingly blurred media ecosystem that has been revolutionized by mobile (and other) technologies. It’s designed to be a “wow course” that will change the way you think about the world around you, but also equip you with a skill set to engage with a changing cultural, technological, and professional environment. Together, we’ll peer into the future based on trends from today, thinking through ways we can effect a better world. The premise is that the era of constant disruption we’re currently in will lead us to a period of “ruption”: a period in which we will seek to restore a sense of order, predictability, and progress, and a feeling that life is filled with meaningful decisions and purposeful activities. That is not to say that we will stop surfing the internet and playing immersive games, but we will also be looking for more—a reconnection with the physical world. This re-entry into reality will be enhanced by technology (especially those advances given us by mobile computing), but it will also entail personal and cultural shifts that foster reintegration into a shared physical, tangible space, after a generation of peering at—or getting lost in—screens. All of this means that this course brings together some philosophical and epistemological musings; a fair amount of investigation into the relationships between technology, culture, and industry; and a heavy dose of storytelling and media design. We’ll inquire into the very nature of reality (asking, for example, whether it is possible for people to improve reality just by their cognitive interpretations, or “positive thinking”), because our perception and understanding of reality is nearly as important as “real reality”—if indeed there is a “real reality.” That said, our investigations into these theoretical aspects of reality will be balanced by hands-on exploration of the pragmatic issues surrounding alternate realities. Our goal with this course is to create a unique opportunity to not only study the nitty-gritty of alternate reality, gamification, worldbuilding, and (geo-) mobile technology with an instructor living at the heart of this intersection, but also to glimpse into the future—and perhaps shape it in productive ways, preparing ourselves for the changes that lie ahead and for the industries that are on the brink of emergence.

Flint Dille has been given many titles throughout his career: Transmediologist, World Builder, ARGonaut, Gamifyer, Narrative Alchemist, and Game Designer, to name a few. He has led the development of multiple storyworlds, served as the showrunner on the original Transformers animated series, inspired Dilios in Frank Miller’s 300, and is currently Creative Lead on Niantic’s geo-mobile alternate reality game, Ingress.