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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dangerous Social Experiments

Recently there was a show on TV titled "The Colony."

It set a premise of a catastrophic viral outbreak having ravaged the planet. The show followed one colony of people who survived the outbreak as they tried to survive.

This was NOT a fiction show. This was a social experiment. The people on the show were REAL people. The lack of food was a REAL lack of food.

Did they KNOW it was fake? Yes. But when you're starving that doesn't matter.

As part of the show the production staff routinely had other people raid the colony to steal supplies (and people). One thing I noticed was that the colonists never built and made lethal-grade weaponry to defend themselves with. Obviously this MUST be a part of the rules of the show, but what would happen if they got SO defensive and desperate that they did actually harm or kill one of the paid extras who was playing the roll of a marauder?

The show in an interesting social experiment but past social experiments (see the Stanford Prisoner Experiment) have proven that people step outside the context of their normal behavior when put in abnormal situations. I am smart enough to know that if I were miserable AND starving AND sleep deprived AND cold AND wet AND under attack I might run the risk of defending back with a level of vengeance that would result in serious harm.

If that happened who is to blame?

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