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Josef Hallberg
Josef Hallberg, Associate Professor of Mobile and Pervasive Computing at Luleå University of Technology. View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Gaming as a bridge between cultures

Published: 20 December 2016

Josef Hallberg, Associate Professor of Mobile and Pervasive Computing, is convinced that technology and gaming can bridge gaps between people and reduce xenophobia. – Games and play have their own language and based on that, we can create solidarity.

Josef Hallberg's own gaming experience has made him reflect on the game's ability to open doors and create solidarity.

– I can see it clearly when I play. I play with total strangers; we're talking and trying to work out common strategies and partnerships. Who these people are in real life is less important. Why can’t this approach be transferred to real life? Josef Hallberg wonders.

Will bring down barriers

The overarching idea of ​​Josef Hallberg’s reasoning is that segregation and isolation can be mitigated if we remove barriers and allow people to meet, meetings that could blur our way of using the categories “us and them”.

– Xenophobia is rooted in our fear of getting to know new people; it’s easy to be afraid of things we don’t know. But when you play together you get involved with one another and it is quite natural, says Josef Hallberg.

Can you give examples of games that we can play together in the public space?

– We could use games to learn more about the environment, to explore and discover new places, such as quizzes with mobile technology. Or why not solve a mystery together where you have to work together to find clues. But it could also be something of a more cultural nature, such as creating music or virtual art together.

A global language

And of course it's not just the gaming that could have an impact. When the game is over, there is a natural platform for further talks.

– Gaming is a global language that attracts all generations. With relatively cheap and simple means, such as sensors, cameras and self-learning computer systems, we can build everything from digital playgrounds to virtual environments, says Josef Hallberg.


Josef Hallberg

Josef Hallberg, Associate Professor, Recognised University Teacher

Phone: +46 (0)920 493177
Organisation: Pervasive and Mobile Computing, Computer Science, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering