Business Week points to a new secretive Palo Alto company called Seriosity that is trying to make grunt work more attractive by having employees perform their tasks in a virtual game.

The mention comes inside of an article about Linden Lab’s Second Life, a fairly well-known online virtual world where people can go inside and do anything you can do in real life: dance, hangout at a bar, build homes and even trade penises (so we’ve heard).

And the growing interest in virtual worlds has some people coming up with new ideas:

Why not use gaming’s psychology, incentive systems, and social appeal to get real jobs done better and faster? “People are willing to do tedious, complex tasks within games,” notes Nick Yee, a Stanford University graduate student in communications who has extensively studied online games. “What if we could tap into that brainpower?”

In other words, your next cubicle could well be inside a virtual world. That’s the mission of a secretive Palo Alto (Calif.) startup, Seriosity, backed by venture firm Alloy Ventures Inc. Seriosity is exploring whether routine real-world responsibilities might be assigned to a custom online game. Workers having fun, after all, likely will be more productive. “We want to use the power of these games to transform information work,” says Seriosity CEO Byron B. Reeves, a Stanford professor of communications.

We’ve pinged Seriosity for more details.


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