How VR Has the Power To Make You Care

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Thanksgiving Weekend Primatologist Browser Tabocalpyse

Across The Line‘ is the latest example of VR attempting to evoke empathy.

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Alice Bonasio

Alice Bonasio writes: There’s an iconic scene in Blade Runner where Harrison Ford’s character Deckard meets the replicant Rachel for the first time, but he doesn’t know she’s not human. He then uses a test called Voight-Kampff  to determine whether or not she’s a real person. The test consists of a series of questions designed to elicit emotion. The idea – which is beautifully challenged later on in the film – is that machines are incapable of such empathetic responses.

Empathy, in other words, is what makes us human.

With an emerging consensus that the immersive nature of VR is particularly effective in triggering those empathetic responses, we’re seeing artists throughout the creative industries exploring new possibilities for storytelling – with a purpose. Chris Milk’s UN-Commissioned Clouds Over Sidra showed the plight of refugees through the eyes of a 12-year old Syrian girl, while the National Theatre’s Immersive Storytelling Studio production HOME/AAMIR transported viewers to the infamous Calais ‘Jungle’ camp.

VR can even make people feel more empathetic toward more abstract things like the environment, as was recently shown with the Crystal Reef project – showcased this year at the Tribeca Film Festival by researchers from the Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL) at Stanford. The simulation, where you watched the devastating effects of ocean acidification caused by man, served to connect people to the consequences of their own actions in a much more tangible way.

[Read the full story here, at uploadvr.com]

Journalist and Filmmaker Nonny de la Peña – Co-Founder of the Emblematic Group and affectionately known as the “Godmother of VR” – has long explored the power of Virtual Reality experiences to break through viewer apathy. Her pioneering work often transports viewers into uncomfortable situations – such as a line for food handouts outside a shelter in LA, where you see a man collapsing from hunger next to you – and makes them re-think their outlook on often controversial issues.

The latest of those projects is Across The Line, an experience which tells the story of a young woman going to an abortion clinic. I viewed it recently at London’s Raindance Film Festival – where it was selected for this year’s VR showcase Arcade – and spoke to la Peña and their partners at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) to find out more about how the project developed and what the reaction to it has been like so far. Read the rest of this entry »


Hacker Threatens To Sell Hillary Clinton’s Entire Unreleased Private Emails For $500K

Dr.-Evil-tinted

Just as email-gate looked to be winding down, RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned a person claiming to be a computer specialist has come forward with the stunning news that 32,000 emails from Hillary Clinton‘s private email account are up for sale. The price panic-betty
tag — a whopping $500,000!

Promising to give the trove of the former Secretary of State’s emails to the highest bidder, the specialist is showing subject lines as proof of what appear to be legitimate messages.

“Hillary or someone from her camp erased the outbox containing her emails, but forgot to erase the emails that were in her sent box,” an insider reveals to Radar of the Presidential contender’s latest nightmare. Read the rest of this entry »


Dolezallapalooza: Former NAACP Spokane Chapter Prez Rachel Dolezal Being Offered Reality Show; Seeking Agent & Publicist

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“The offers were made last week along with several others that were just outrageous. Rachel recognizes that she is going to need an agent and a publicist, and is going to be hiring a professional team in the next few days.”

NAACP race faker Rachel Dolezal stepped down from her job Monday, but RadarOnline.com has learned she already has a new gig in the works: Dolezal is fielding multiple offers to film a reality show, and is seeking professional representation after her bombshell interview on the Today show.

“This is not some freak, Birth of a Nation blackface performance. This is on a real connected level how I’ve had to go there with the experience.”

— Rachel Dolezal

Dolezal, currently in New York City after appearing on TODAY Tuesday morning, has been “offered two reality shows from different production companies,” an insider told Radar.

[Also see – EXCLUSIVE: Rachel Dolezal was in a SEX TAPE – her ex-husband forced her to perform ‘sex acts’ in front of the camera against her will, she claimed in court papers – DailyMail.uk]

“The offers were made last week along with several others that were just outrageous. Rachel recognizes that she is going to need an agent and a publicist, and is going to be hiring a professional team in the next few days.”

“Rachel wants to use all of the publicity to raise awareness about race relations,” the source said. Read the rest of this entry »