Virtual Reality at The UN

True, I don’t know much about virtual reality, but usages like the one suggested by the movie “Her” makes me queasy, wondering if our very humanity is being mechanized. But as is the case with most people, my fears and opinions do not always match the reality. You can imagine how intrigued—and I admit glad—I was to read that the UN headquarters had used virtual reality to draw attention to and create better grasp of the refugee problem. A group affiliated with the UN Millennium Campaign had made a special film—using a girl in the Za’atary refugee camp on the Jordan-Syrian borders, one of the largest refugee camps and one that houses some 80,000 Syrian refugees. Heads of states and delegates were able to view the virtual reality film and get a sense of presence of what’s it’s like to be there. Later a portal was set up where heads of state and delegates could have anonymous conversations with people in those refugee camps. It was at first thought that the portal would be there temporarily and it may now be permanent. Other portals are being set in in D.C and San Francisco. The idea is that there’s a difference between pity and empathy, and that such methods are conducive to a unique understanding which policy makers often need.
As far as the UN was concerned it was all very successful, so much so it drew the attention of ADWEEK, the advertising magazine which wrote about it and suggested that it was an instance tech-minded marketers could learn from. So now I have a new set of fears and concerns.