Astonishing VR experience lets participants experience a dangerous border crossing

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I’d be interested to see if this experience had any effect on a typically empathy-challenged nativist.


Nothing has worked so far, but I have hope, not much…


To have empathy (or sympathy) one has to be open to possibilities. In the USA, sympathy for fetuses (and embryos and even zygotes) seems to run significantly higher than sympathy for refugees or victims of poverty.

Keep in mind that the concept of “protect-your-own” runs deep in our psyche. Empathy is a tough ask of a person who gets most information from broadcast media and/or like-minded-friends’ opinions shared through social media.


oh gawd, I am imagining a reality-tv series this fall where they drop people off in the middle of the desert and they have to figure out how to cross back into USA

gamification of people struggling just to survive and somehow build a basic stable life

the crazy thing is you just know lots of people would watch it

On a side note about empathy, one of the sponsors, Cinepolis, screens many films in English, with subtitles in Spanish in most border cities (not sure about the rest of Mexico) for the benefit of English speakers, native or not. U.S. movie theater chains in places like San Diego do no such thing.


There have been studies about VR and empathy. I don’t know how conclusive they have been or if there’s a prevailing theory in the field. The first I saw said that VR does increase empathy, but now there seem to be articles and research saying that it does not (as well as those that say it does). My non-expert hypothesis is that VR increases immersion, suspension of disbelief, etc., which allows the viewer/player to think of the on-screen experience as their own (at least while it is ongoing) and thus VR can amplify empathy-inducing storytelling; so I would think that VR would be the most likely medium to create empathy, but may still not succeed in doing so.


The Civil Rights Museum in Atlanta has a lunch counter sit in simulation that lasts less than 2 minutes. It’s VERY rough, they warn against people under 13 doing it and have a docent there to talk about the experience and help people with it. I’m a 53 year old white man and I’m tearing up a little just thinking about it. The 30 something black guy who was the docent told me it took him 3 tries to get through the entire thing.


I still have not had a chance to go, though I think my daughter’s school went a while ago (before she was 13, I think).

CARNE y ARENA was awarded a special Oscar in October, 2018 – the first such award in 19 years.

I’m old enough to remember that back in the days before we had time travel we had to wait until an event happened before reporting on it.


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