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You’re not empathetic enough… but can VR can fix it?

todayAugust 19, 2021 11

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Did you know that Cortney Harding is speaking at TNW2021 this year? She’ll be discussing the use of VR to combat racial bias and radically shift diversity, equity, and inclusion. You can get tickets for the event here.

Virtual reality may finally be inching into the mainstream. Sales of VR headsets reportedly skyrocketed during the pandemic and the systems feature prominently in the growing hype around the metaverse.

Most of this tech is designed for entertainment, but it’s also gaining traction in the workplace.

One of the developers of these applications is Friends With Holograms. The New York-based digital agency focuses on creating VR and AR training that generates empathy to address social issues.

The company’s projects include an immersive experience that shows employees the impact of exclusionary behavior.

Cortney Harding, the agency’s founder, told TNW, that one of the first people they tested it on was a white, middle-aged senior manager of his family business:

But he took off the headset after he finished and said, ‘That wasn’t a conversation — that was an emotional experience.’ He came back to his company the next week and made a lot of changes about how he runs meetings, who he includes, and making sure everyone’s voice is heard and respected.

The company also worked with Accenture to develop a VR simulation for trainee family welfare workers. Users were presented with an extremely different decision: whether to remove a child from their home and family.

Credit: Friends with Holograms