Design for Discomfort: Reading Response #3

December 18, 2018 Design for Discomfort

The Limits of Virtual Reality: Debugging the Empathy Machine was an interesting read for me.  Through discussions I’ve had in my Socially Engaged Art  & Digital Practice class, I’ve become increasingly interested in using vr to engender empathy in the user.  To share lived experiences.  

I wasn’t aware that empathetic feelings fell into two categories. Emotional, occurs immediately, without conscious thought.  When we see the commercial about abandoned animals, with the sad Sarah McLachlan song, for example.  And “conceptual empathy” where we try to understand how something feels to another person. For example, empathizing during a friend loosing a loved one, or having a terminally ill family member. 

One of the things I’m interested in, is the work that the project is working on going forward.  The use of A/B testing aimed towards social change.  With the ideas that I’m considering for my thesis project, if I could somehow see if there’s data that I can gather before and after my vr experience, that would go a long way in seeing if narratives told with vr effect a person’s empathy long term. 

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