Real & Virtual Worlds — Review Week 10

This week’s content focused on two podcasts such as:

  • Voices of VR #502: An Elemental Theory of Presence + Future of AI & Interactive Storytelling with Jessica Brillhart
  • Voices of VR Podcast #869 VR for Good: Using AR to Explore Moral Dilemmas of Anthropomorphized Virtual Beings with Asad J. Malik’s ‘Jester’s Tale’

This podcast can be summarised with the phrase “not just AI for AI’s sake” which Jessica Brillhart, Google director for immersive experiences, coins.

I found this interesting as it supports the idea provided in class of that you can’t control the user in a vr experience once they’re provided agency. Storytelling becomes more difficult as you can’t directly control what they might see or do. Although this is frustrating for the traditional authoritative storyteller, it is important and should be taken into consideration when designing my own project.

In addition, physicality isn’t the most important factor in relation to embodiment – a user being immersed within an experience is. For example, full engagement is key to success– e.g if your full focus is on a movie then you’ll become more connected to it, emotionally and more invested if you’re not distracted.

It is also argued that mobile VR cannot achieve true immersion due to the users full body not being involved within the experience. The use of screen based controls draws the user away from the other diegetic elements which is compared to hiding one of the senses like hearing.

Overall, it is stated that virtual reality is a blend between the subjective (philosophical) and objective (scientific).

This was an interview with the creator of Terminal 3, Asad J. Malik.

One of the main points I found interesting was that Ai often gets personified in games, like dogs. However, this was attributed as being a negative factor but I believe that I could utilise this within my own project with a positive effect. Such as by implementing different personalities within each of the penguins it will help to increase the empathy of the player and therefore personify and deepen the connection between the user and the cause, climate change. On the other hand, by doing so it can create a false sense of agency associated with the animal AI, therefore it must be tested in order to control the importance of the AI’s presence; strike a balance between the AI contributing to the experience and just being implemented for the sake of including AI.

This is likened to the theory of the Child in a cage from Jesters Tale. They found that the majority of players would rather subject themselves to the cage than witness the child be experimented on. Likewise, other studies found that players related more to AI of their own gender or ethnicity and were therefore unlikely to carry out harmful acts to this type of AI.

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