It’s Dangerous to Think Virtual Reality Is an Empathy Machine

November 1, 2018

(Aeon) – Results such as these have led Bailenson and others to hail VR as a modern-day empathy machine. VR researchers tell us that simulations can let us see what it’s like to experience the day-to-day indignities of racist microaggression, of becoming homeless, or even of being an animal primed for butchering. The hope is that this technologically-enabled empathy will help us to become better, kinder, more understanding people. But we should be skeptical of these claims. While VR might help us to cultivate sympathy, it fails to generate true empathy.

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