The protests following the death of an African-American man named George Freud, have persisted in many cities across the United States, and the protests, supporting the Black Lives Matter movement have also begun in other countries. Media professionals & platforms, and technology companies have joined the fight for justice and peace using new, innovative tools.
In XR technology research, existing AR applications have been used to enhance the potential impact of activism and social change. The development of smart phones and tablet computers has popularized AR technology more quickly, enabling simple AR functions to attract a lot of attention from users.
Debias VR创始人Clorama Dorvilias提出希望使用带有娱乐性的VR内容激发同理心，并通过包容性的培训来减少种族偏见。
Clorama Dorvilias, founder of Debias VR, hopes to use content that inspires empathy through inclusive training to reduce racial prejudice.
Dorvilias explained, "Prejudice training is not a shameful thing. When you treat others friendly, you will also feel that you are being treated tenderly. The elimination of prejudice is not a day's solution, but a long-term process. We hope people can work and live in a safe and comfortable environment."
Some large corporations like Starbucks are spending millions of dollars to try to resolve hidden racial prejudices through diversity programs and racial sensitivity trainings. The time and costs of human-run trainings is a bottomless hole. Dorvilias proposed to use VR technology to eliminate prejudice.
Dorvilias was treated unfairly while earning her Masters of Interaction Design, and she almost gave up and left the program. A research project assigned by her professors became her salvation, as the paper required students to use technology to solve social problems.
Dorvilias found an opportunity to change the status quo to improve the learning environment for future students by diminishing bias. She started to study the topic of implicit prejudice.
Dorvilias created a game where players are assigned to different races, and must interact with peers of different races and genders to find clues and win the game. Her research project was supported by the University of Barcelona, and finally concluded with a positive finding. When players are assigned virtual races that are different from their races, the players’ implicit racial bias tends to decrease.
The uniqueness of the VR tool developed by Dorvilias is that it achieves positive interaction with users through progress tracking and analysis over a period of time without any discomfort or pain.
She is committed to developing more VR empathy tools, used in businesses and schools, to help people of all ages to eliminate hidden bias. Studies have shown that some educators have lower expectations for students of color, but also prefer male students, and are unlikely to encourage female students to participate in technical courses, such as STEM. In a report commissioned by Google to American University and Stanford University, researchers explored unconscious bias in the classroom. They found that teachers gave too high a rate of unequal treatment to students of different races, and they were less likely to provide support, resulting in gaps in the academic performance of students of color.
Using the same guiding principles of Debias VR, Dorvilias developed a bias elimination VR application for teachers’ implicit bias and built an accountability application to track the reduction of bias in the classroom.
VR is the future. People struggle to grasp how powerful a tool it is before trying it, but once they try it, they are changed forever (hopefully for the greater good).
Milk once said in a TED talk that virtual reality has the potential to truly change the world, because it connects users with other people through an unprecedented immersive experience, thereby changing people's perception of each other, which is stronger than any other form of media to date. This is the importance of deeply immersive VR.
VR cannot create total equality in the real world, but it can build a more peaceful world in the virtual realm, helping people to better understand each other, and in turn, translating into a more comfortable and safe living environment through human dedication. You can bring a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. Users of VR empathy trainings most also consciously decide to be open to the betterment of themselves, and the world that we live in.