Can VR Live up to the Label of “Ultimate Empathy Machine”?

Using virtual reality technology on a global scale will require a lot of work. Without the right incentives, that shift will not happen anytime soon. Recent research seems to indicate this technology an be quite beneficial when it comes to fostering empathy. A rather unexpected consequence which warrants further exploration.

VR Technology Instills Empathy

The new research is pretty interesting. Stanford scientists have discovered how emerging technology can encourage empathy in humans. This would also apply to making people more helpful and positive toward marginalized groups. It is evident any venture in this regard can be of great value, albeit few people see how VR can be of use in this regard.

More specifically, Stanford researchers have dubbed virtual reality to be the “ultimate empathy machine”. That is quite a misnomer in the eyes of the public, even though there is some truth to those claims as well. Virtual reality can, unlike other forms of technology, let people experience any situation from any point of view

Empathy is a very intriguing concept when it comes to human emotions. It allows users to share and understand other peoples emotions. Enhancing this ability in humans has proven to be very problematic, although virtual reality can be of great value. Rather than relying on perspective-taking tasks, VR simply puts them in the same experience as marginalized groups.

One experience currently being explored goes by the name of “Becoming Homeless”.This VR experience is developed by Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab. It puts users through interactive scenarios affecting them if they were to lose their job. It is a very confronting experience, which makes viewers more empathic.

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By JP Buntinx

JP Buntinx is a FinTech, VR, and Bitcoin enthusiast living in Belgium.