In this talk we take a journey through the universe of Virtual Reality, exploring what emerging technologies and their applications have to say about humans. From timeless philosophical questions of the self and concerns about the future of personal social interaction; to our quest for knowledge, new experiences, and deeper perspectives; to all of our aims, honest or nefarious—Virtual Reality is simply an unbound extension of humanity, and its latest forms will soon be seamlessly integrated into our lives. Advances in our understanding of how the brain works, combined with the explosion of immersive digital technology, can make propositions as far-fetched as total “personality downloads” possible—meaning your great-grandchildren would be able to know and have conversations with you in the future, all in a virtual setting that will be indistinguishable from reality. This is exciting for some and terrifying for many… and could be made available in just five years.
Jeremy Bailenson is founding director of Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab and an associate professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford. He earned a B.A. cum laude from the University of Michigan in 1994 and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Northwestern University in 1999. Bailenson's main area of interest is the phenomenon of digital human representation, especially in the context of immersive virtual reality. He consults regularly for government agencies including the Army, the Department of Defense, the National Research Council, and the National Institute of Health on policy issues surrounding virtual reality.
This lecture begins at 7:00pm on the lawn of the Cantor Art Museum.