Jeremy Bailenson founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, and his latest book Experience on Demand traces his academic journey through virtual reality. It’s an intellectual memoir that focuses on his personal work in VR, and the insights that VR provides into human communication dynamics, as well as the impact of VR on our identity, empathy, education, medicine, and our ability to understand complex issues such as global warming and our impact on the environment. (UPDATE: Becoming Homeless: A Human Experience is now available on Steam.)
I had a chance to sit down with Bailenson to talk about his journey into VR, the major insights that VR has provided into human communication, and how STRIVR, the company he co-founded, is moving from training elite quarterbacks in the NFL to landing major corporate training contracts including training Wal-Mart employees. STRIVR is gathering one of the most robust data sets for using VR for education and training, which is enabling them to build statistical models to make connections between unconscious biometric gaze data and the process of learning. We also talk about how AI and machine learning will help build powerful models for biometric data, but also some of the privacy implications of this data as well as what we know and don’t know when it comes to the risks and dangers of virtual reality technology.
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