Being comfortably reclining in a beautiful reality is everybody’s dream. Still, by removing the VR glasses from our heads, we realize that we cannot take our “real” reality away from us and make it disappear, whatever aid is at our disposal. Although it is easy to escape to other, more beautiful and pleasant realities, this one we must return at some point will wait for us unchanged until we change it ourselves. The topic we are writing about here is the application of VR in projects with important social significance and, thus – change reality.
A VR that visualizes the impact of climate change by showing sea level rise, deforestation, glacier melting, plastic and smog pollution, dying vegetation, and the rapid decline of animal individuals within species can undoubtedly leave no one indifferent. And we’ve seen all those videos somewhere before. But the magic of VR is that in this case, we are not spectators, but part of the experience, and all these images are deeply etched in our thoughts and shape our future actions if we allow. Because, after VR video, the story with technology stops, and it starts with making decisions that we can contribute to changing these realities into something less destructive. This is just one example of how VR can be used for an experience that changes a person or at least tries to.
One of the examples of the use of VR for social impact is certainly educational VR. In the context of a historical period, the wars fought in that period, enemies, and other socio-economic variables will bring us better knowledge and understanding of the present and all historical economic, and political events that led to this present. With a better understanding of the context, people, geographical area, and historical period we will broaden our horizons and realize that history is constantly repeating itself and often the fault of human weakness. And now what about that, you ask? Human weakness has existed since time immemorial and will never be eradicated. And this is all true, but perhaps it is first necessary to understand human imperfection truly. How do we achieve this with VR?
Simply. We will use it to develop empathy. Empathy changes more life and reality than one war, that’s for sure. A VR video in which we find ourselves in the shoes of a homeless fellow citizen, whom we glance at as we walk out of our local store, can change – if nothing else – our attitude about that man. To ease the guilt of living in a better reality, we tend to condemn and cram the homeless into a “blame for themselves” basket, which may be true. To lose everything you have, you need to make some very wrong decisions. But don’t we all bring them? Daily. Maybe they’re not crucial, perhaps they’re just changing some micro part of our reality, but can we judge others like that if we don’t know what shoes they’re wearing? Being able to experience the suffering of neighbours, the war zone, the poverty of straw, but also the Festival of Colors in India, the carnival madness of Rio or rolling cheese down a hill in Gloucester – enriches us and makes us more tolerant and empathetic creatures. A multitude of kind and compassionate creatures make a more beautiful reality.
From all this, it is evident that technological development goes hand in hand with the progress of human thought, which is slightly waking up and turning to what is closest to man – the geographical and human microenvironment. Our actions can be glorious; we can build schools across Africa and help a neighbour we know is not well. It is up to us to decide how we will act and which micro problem to solve. If you have an idea that solves a social, humanitarian (human) or environmental issue, and you are thinking about a VR way of presenting it, let us know.