"No man is an island"
As it stands, our democratically promised internet has collectively and systematically reinforced existing wealth distributions and opportunities for social mobility.
The autonomous and intelligent infrastructure that supports spatial computing brings deeply unexamined avenues for the collection, analysis, and exploitation of user generated data; as well as raising ethical and responsibility questions around the ownership of biometric data.
As scientists, engineers, and creators; we are, ultimately, not just handling a technology; but people. And as such, it is important to contextualize, and to move from an understanding of human-computer interaction, to a humane one.
Below is an excerpt from my senior thesis at Cal. Titled "What Is Real": Tracking Implicit Memory Acquisition and the Implications of Virtual Reality.
This excerpt captures much of how I started research in this space, and why I feel that we ought not be complacent with the state of our understanding and the current policies that such understandings inform.
"While academic theses should remain impartial and critical in order to contribute to their respective academic fields, we have a greater moral imperative. I come from Christchurch New Zealand where on February 21st, 2011 a 6.3 magnitude earthquake decimated the city, and left its people to form a population with medical refractory PTSD. I started this thesis to find a baseline rate of memory acquisition in VR, as this had not been done previously, and is a vital part in the development of an effective treatment protocol for PTSD (Rizzo, 2011).
On March 15th, 2019, three blocks from where I went to school, a shooter armed with a live video stream and high powered assault rifles opened fire on two Mosques while they were in session.
We have a moral imperative as members of humanity to leave the world a better place than when we found it, and I cannot present a limitations and implications section which details how we learn in a VR environment, without noting that VR environments are being used to train fighter pilots (Biggs et al., 2018; Judy, 2018) and soldiers (Bhagat, Liou, & Chang, 2016), into being better at their jobs. I cannot present an implications section without mentioning how there is a game titled “Six Days in Fallujah” that recreated Operation Vigilant Resolve: The Battle for Fallujah. A conflict which the Department of Defence called “some of the heaviest urban combat Marines have been involved in since Hue City in Vietnam in 1968” (Garamone, 2005).
VR has the potential to help my city. Or train its next assailant."