Pokemon Go came out about a month ago, and it brought with it many complications.
It has done some good, getting more people out into social settings, but it has posed problems from players and bystanders.
Safety has been the big issue most have noticed, but it’s not the biggest.
Pokemon Go has helped solidify helpful, entertaining augmented reality as the next big thing, but its popularity has revealed a giant flaw — the lack of an ethics code.
In the quest to “catch ’em all,” virtual goals have superseded social actual rules in some gamers’ minds, and people aren’t happy.
Discovery Green in Houston requested that Niantic, the game’s creator, remove all Pokemon Go markers and creatures from the downtown park because players didn’t respect the rules, mainly ignoring park hours.
Police have started enforcing local North Texas park hours more readily, checking for anything from trespassers to reckless driving.
Both have become rampant after the game’s release.
Places of mourning and reflection, like cemeteries or the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, have pleaded for players to stop catching digital creatures on their premises.
Most of these requests have fallen on deaf ears.
Some players don’t see a problem with traipsing through a cemetery for a fictional marker. It’s almost as if they thought, “If it wasn’t OK, then why are the markers there in the first place?”
“As is increasingly becoming the norm with digital technologies, both the labour and responsibility have fallen onto the end user. … Pokémon Go is just some markers on a map. The politics is someone else’s problem,” Australian journalist Brendan Keogh wrote in Overland Magazine.
We can fix that politics problem, but we have to create a standard for responsibility.
Society has done it before with many technological advances, like mobile phones and personal music devices. New unwritten rules were created and enforced until they became common sense.
Best practices can be established for augmented reality, which will help with the looming virtual reality trend, but it needs to happen efficiently. Pokemon Go can point us toward a more courteous, technology-loving future.