Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality: An Empath Tool

By Cathy H - 10:53 PM

The first time I experienced VR was through a free 10 minute demo at a store, I played a game and flew around in Google Maps up and down tall New York skyscrapers. Tonight, after hearing a talk from the creative director of Microsoft and two start up companies I really understand the meaning of VR and how technology will shape our lives in the future. I understand VR & AR as not a source of entertainment but as a tool that helped evoke empathy. The examples given included the possible scenarios:

  • experiencing what it felt like to be a transgendered teen in a rural town
  • experiencing the effects of bullying as if you were the victim
  • being virtually transported to an garbage island to see the extent of environmental damage
  • allowing patients to understand their diagnosis by having an 4D view
Those points stood out to me not from a point of practically, but from an emotional perspective because alot of these experiences would be extremely costly or physically impossible to stimulate in real life without consequences. There's been alot of talk about how technology is taking over the world, but I think it would be used towards a good cause in the future. And I don't think our society will ever stop progressing. Yes, VR and AR can replace repetitive manual jobs in the future but at the same time, can offer many solutions to topics such as empathy. And as the speakers said, just describing VR is difficult, to show someone the true value of the program, they have to fully immerse themselves in it. This was a great point, like "walking in someone's shoes" quite literally.

And perhaps that would be the future for events and TED talks. To give guests or decision makers the opportunity to experience "the day in the life" of an minority, or an place of concern. This talk was truly inspirational.

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