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Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig Lends his Expertise to Online Game, 'Seed'

15 Aug 2017

Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig

Imagine that you are colonizing a new planet with the fate of humanity at stake. Which system of government will you choose? And how will that choice impact every other decision that you make? Klang Games, the creator of Seed, a simulation MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game, called upon no less than Harvard Law professor, constitutional scholar, citizen activist and APB speaker Lawrence Lessig to mastermind their game’s political framework.

Professor Lessig was charged with designing the options, impacts and trade-offs that Seed players will collectively choose in governing themselves. This ranges from big picture decisions such as monarchy vs. democracy to fine-tuned details like setting income tax rates. Professor Lessig helped map out all of the possibilities, consequences and outcomes. He then spent the entire month of July embedded in Klang’s Berlin studio to play out the numerous scenarios.

Lessig was approached by Klang on the morning after President Trump’s election. He sees Seed as a powerful tool for demonstrating the role of governance and the critical importance of civic engagement. “We’ve got real challenges with democracy in the real world. At least in my country, it’s not working well, if at all,“ says Lessig. “So, what was really intriguing to me was the idea that we could create an environment where there could be many tens of thousands of experiments with different forms of governance. It might be that we can actually learn something about which forms work best in this context, and it might be that that helps us understand something about the same question in the real world.”

Seed is scheduled to be released in early 2018.

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