Empathy VR

While I’m not surprised that VR can be used as a tool for empathy, I’m a little taken aback that a tool as immersive as VR needs to be used to teach people to be empathetic. What does this say about other modes of communication? What makes it so hard for people to put themselves aside to understand another persons position? I think learning from an “experience” is great, but I think it would be more fruitful if people could finally learn to be empathetic through listening.

Additionally if VR has the power to teach empathy in ways other media can’t what other things is it capable of? Bias is something always lurking in the media and responsible journalism is something that is disappearing from the media. What kind of responsibility needs to be used when using VR?

One thought on “Empathy VR”

  1. I can’t speak for VR makers or researchers, but I don’t think the issue is so much about VR _needing_ to be used as a tool for empathy. Asking why it its hard for people to consider another’s position is akin to asking why don’t we all just get along? We don’t, we know this, but just as there has always been conflict, there has also been efforts in conflict resolution.
    Social justice advocates have used many forms of media in creative ways to enact change. http://beautifultrouble.org is a wonderful archive of such methods. There is a great post by Steve Duncombe on what he calls Ethical Spectacle. The idea of detournement, of using dominant forms of media for people rather than commerce. Immersive media will most likely be used for spectacle; but can it be used for Steven’s idea of ethical spectacle?

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