For a vision of Earth populated not by pesky humans but by benevolent sentient birds with claws and spiny tails, look no further than Spore, the long delayed game from legendary designer Will Wright (SimCity, The Sims), which will be released this year. In the game, you help your tiny protozoa evolve slowly into a thriving civilization bent on interplanetary conflict (the other planets are populated by the creations of other networked Spore players). As games find more and more ways of mindlessly blowing people up-we're looking at you, Halo-it's great to see someone putting the nerdy parts back into video games (but fear not, there will certainly be explosions).BIG THINKER:
All of us learn to walk and talk by interacting with the world around us, getting immediate rewards for doing so. Suddenly, at about age 6, we do most or all of our learning by being told, either by books or teachers. Very little is left to play and interaction. In general, computers in education will change that, making a child's learning more seamless, more directly in his or her control.I am often asked how I know One Laptop Per Child will work. And yet each person who asks me has given his child or grandchild a laptop or desktop computer. Does this mean it is good for the rich, but maybe not for the poor? Then people ask me, why give a laptop to a child who is malnourished, unclothed, and without pure drinking water? My reply is simple. Substitute the word "education" for "laptop" and you will never ask that again.Nicholas Negroponte is the director of One Laptop Per Child, a nonprofit humanitarian organization that has produced an inexpensive, internet-connected laptop to distribute to children around the world.