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Can virtual reality solve social problems?

Leviathan: Virtual reality technology is not as thin as the one that just appeared. Commercialized equipment and accessory products are emerging one after another. However, the current wide-ranging technology applications are basically in the entertainment category such as games. We look at VR glasses. It still only works. Based on this, this paper undoubtedly proposes new application suggestions. Since VR can help to completely immerse in another person’s perspective, why don’t we try to see reality?

In 2004, Cathy Hackl should be the most populous and violent film among Americans. In addition to being responsible for TV video production at CNN, Hacker also looks at the original Iraqi war and unedited videos so that the cable channel can give high-energy warnings to the audience, telling them that the film may contain fragments that cause discomfort. In order to protect the audience’s mood, Hakker tried to watch the video of the extremely bloody violence for a few hours a day. The dagger, the soldier’s stump was towed away, and any footage that was marked on the cable TV was seen. This work is simply tortured, but what bothers her is the potential impact on her life.

“When doing this kind of work, people will naturally close their human sympathy,” she said. Slowly, she was already numb to these horrible pictures, and her sympathy weakened—she had to do this to continue this type of work.

Hacker has been working on this for more than 10 years. Until two years ago, her instinctive sympathy seemed to be back. She uses a 360-degree video without a dead end – a technique that allows the wearer to immerse themselves in everything they see around them. When Hacker attended a high-tech show, he found that HTC VIVE’s VR all-in-one could put himself in a closed prison.

“In the few minutes after I put it on, my heart almost collapsed,” she said. In the 6×9 space created by The Guardian, people wearing VR machines will have a feeling of being in an independent prison. They sit in a very small space and experience the environment in front of them. Sitting in this lonely and terrifying environment for a while.

Even people who experience on the Internet can control the view of the environment they see through a mobile perspective. From a documentary point of view, the purpose of these devices is to help people better feel the environment and to stimulate deeper feelings and influence on personal experiences from the perspective of empathy.

“When I picked up the all-in-one, the brain suddenly realized that there was a switch that was turned on. I recovered my lost compassion. I can feel the feelings of others again,” Hackel said.

Hacker said that after this VR experience, she not only feels sorry for those who feel lonely but also wants to do something for them. After turning off the VR device, she decided to participate in the VR project. She is currently a consultant to the top VR and augmented reality studios, who provide VR experiences with a focus on social impact. She is also a member of Virtual Relief’s board of directors and she believes she can better spread the power of this technology.

What Hacker felt when he took off VR was what human scientists called empathy. This kind of empathy will make people respond to the emotional state of others with some kind of action, and cognitive empathy is also called “perspective”, which is to understand the mental state of others purely. Scientists believe that most people are born with the ability to sympathize with others, but as we spend less and less in face-to-face communication, this subtle emotion may slowly fade away.

For decades, researchers have been worried about television, video games, mobile phones, social media, and how virtual reality can affect our ability to connect with each other. Although studies have shown that the excessive use of high-tech technology may be related to the decline of modern people’s social connections, more and more people realize that if high technology will reduce people’s sympathy, then in return, people’s sympathy will be restored. Empathy is also possible.

VR technology has been in development for decades, but until recently people realized that VR is not only used in video games, but also expensive in other areas, and technically demanding: heavy and expensive camera equipment, plus Software, coding and digital animation expertise. Not to mention the people who want to experience VR, but also wear heavy and heavy equipment.

In 2015, technology entrepreneur and artist Chris Milk gave a TED talk, calling virtual reality “an empathy machine” because it empowers people to feel the emotions of others. At the time, many people thought he was exaggerating. Currently, there are still few people outside the gaming industry who are willing to invest in VR content or hardware.

But now, as VR appliances and technologies that produce VR experiences become cheaper, activists and non-profit organizations are beginning to really consider the assumptions of empathy machines mentioned in the TED talks. The United Nations has developed a VR scene that can make people feel the life of Syrian refugees; multiple VR scenarios help users experience the feeling of communicating with victims of sexual assault or Holocaust survivors; non-profit organizations are using Android apps to give VR Users present stories that raise awareness of social and environmental causes through these stories, sometimes through fundraising campaigns.

The remaining question is whether this can bring a broader impact and change to society. Hacker admits that there is a lot of propaganda about VR that is flashy. Now if you want to test a VR scene, you may want to let the user experience a cool and blasting scene instead of conveying serious messages. Companies that produce VR content still need to describe the moods that each scene wants to convey through copywriting, in order to persuade those who are ready to experience VR—they themselves are constantly experimenting with various ways and want to convey more serious social messages to users. Of course, this is what happens when any new technology comes along.

Hacker said: “In fact, those who spend a lot of time to make these stories and create VR scenes are really driving the industry. Users can turn off their mobile TVs at any time after reading, listening, and feeling. The next VR machine, but what really matters is that after the experience, the user sees the change of the perspective of things and the far-reaching impact on their lives.”

For most users who have experienced the VR movie “Across the Line” of Planned Parenthood, the most memorable thing is to hear someone sternly screaming outside the clinic. There is a voice saying: “You are a prostitute, you are not It’s so dry, your parents should give you abortion first!” The VR experience couldn’t see the person’s face, but his voice was very real and it felt less than a foot away from you.

“Across the Line” is intended to give the experience of the abortion of a clinic surrounded by a protesting abortion. In recent years, the number of “outside clinic protesters” faced by women has increased, but the feeling of being surrounded by them in VR has triggered another level of sympathy. “Across the Line” is a VR scene experience created with the help of Nine De La Pena, a journalist who specializes in immersive recording, using a 360-degree camera to film actors who act as patients and protesters. This part of the person creates a tense atmosphere, and when you walk slowly to the clinic, you really start to fear and guilt. You see the people around the protest appear in an animated image and hear what the protesters said when the abortion women came out of the family planning clinic. They are yelling at your ears, and you can’t easily divert your gaze from their angry faces.

Many people are shaking when they take off VR glasses. At the VR Revolution Summit in New York in August, Planned Parenthood’s Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer and Experience Officer Dawn Lagens shared a story: a legislator against abortion experienced VR after protesters I am very angry about the way women are treated.

This is the sensory change that VR can bring to people. Few people can control or change their own life experiences, but they can be inspired in this way to start thinking about things from another angle. It is more suitable for those who are open-minded and willing to change. Of course, sometimes for some people, change starts from other aspects. For example, Lagens also talked about a male care worker who has been accompanying abortion women for more than a decade. After experiencing “Across the Line”, he burst into tears and realized that he was used to these protesters who mocked abortion women. Feeling the situation of women, I found out that he had never known what the women who had just finished their birth were suffering.

On the technical level, VR still has many challenges. For example, it is difficult to combine all events through 360-degree video recording and recombining audio into the VR experience, so sometimes the feeling of immersion is not so obvious. But even so, with the help of external organizations to evaluate VR user feedback, Planned Parenthood found that the experience can be really touched. Most of the people they surveyed were males, mainly whites, and most of them were liberals. They found that people who had experienced the “Across the Line” VR scene were more opposed to harassment of others than those who had not experienced it. And influence. Perhaps more importantly, these VR experiences can even influence the attitude of the conservative parties. After the experience, many people turned to think that protesters should not express their opinions on anti-abortion so intensely outside the clinic. Some even think that they are willing to pick up a woman who is preparing for abortion to go to the clinic. “Even if I disagree with her decision, I am willing to Send her.”

This example of changing the conservative party’s view of abortion may be evidence that social media has the ability to change mindsets, but technology can also be used to solve cumbersome things like office harassment and gender discrimination.

It was not until a few years ago that Natalie Egan was freed from life. As a successful entrepreneur, she dares to take risks and invest. At the time, she was in a male-dominated industry, and everyone thought she was a man.

She said: “We are naturally sympathetic to others, but I think this special motivation really separates people from the real world.”

Later, she decided to continue living with the role of transgender women, and as her body gradually changed, her sympathy for women became clearer than ever. When others knew that she was a woman rather than a man, she clearly felt the difference in treatment. In life and work, she was maliciously mocked and joked, and some even refused to look at her.

Egan said: “I have moved from the privileged position of patriarchalism to the very edge of the world.”

She hopes that business colleagues can understand the objective differences in the treatment of men and women in the industry. In 2016, she founded the organization Translator, which was originally a social network for transgender people, but soon became a tool for diversifying and integrating experiences that provide technical support for organizations and businesses of all sizes. The company uses chatbots, applications, and customized VR experiences to bring most of the white and male employees of the New York City Department of Education and digital consulting firm Rain to reach out to women, unidentified people, and people with disabilities. What is going on with people of color every day?

Egan said that the most powerful tools can highlight a person’s subconscious bias, although this may make some people anxious.

Egan and her team are currently working on a VR experience for a subconscious bias for a US media company. Playing VR is really expensive, but building a team experience like an office environment can have a profound impact.

In fact, this sometimes happens unconsciously. London-based artist and technologist Andrew Daffy created a VR experience in London last year called HOLO DOODLE, which allowed two people to play a Pictionary in a virtual world with a pink monkey. It was just for fun, but when the experienced users started talking about how they became less depressed and more able to communicate with others, Duffy and his teammates decided to make some changes. Last year at the SIGGRAPH Annual Computer Graphics Conference, they launched a new version of the game called “I am a robot” that allows a group of people to wear a VR machine at a ballet recital, cocktail party or dance party to become men and women. Robot. Participant feedback is surprising – in a gender-free VR world, a man in a suit who says he can’t dance becomes a completely different style. What makes Duffy most touched is the feedback from the two users: After a person with social anxiety wears the device, the depression disappears for a few days, dancing and laughing. The other said that for the first time, he felt that living in a world without gender discrimination was so comfortable.

With the continuous development of technology, people naturally care about the ability of human beings to connect with each other. Although most technicians are generally worried, they are also very optimistic about the positive impact of high technology on society.

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