Jeremy Silver and Jeremy Bailenson on 'Experience on Demand'

Digital Catapult:

In conversation: Jeremy Silver and Jeremy Bailenson on 'Experience on Demand'

Jeremy Silver:

Welcome to Digital Catapult - we're partly funded by government, partly by business - we're here to encourage the early adoption of advanced digital technologies, and tonight it is immersive video and VR

we've been investing in immersive technology over the last few years @BecGC has been leading this here

we have a lab here that is a showcase for the technology and for the projects that have built these kind of projects - lodon, belfast, gateshead and more

we have also set up a volumetric capture studio in Wimbledon at that digitises real actors

Jeremy Bailenson founded the VR lab at Stanford in 2003 to explore Virtual/Human interaction - he wrote a book called Infinite Reality and his new book is Experience on Demand

we look at VR and AR and AR on mobile - where is it going?

Jeremy Bailenson:

I have no answers for what's winning in the Valley - watching the crazed consumer revolution come and go, nobody knows what will win out

the companies that are still surviving is the ones that use technology to chase the problem

start with a problem that needs to be solved, if VR or AR helps to solve it, great. Don't use the technology for the sake of it

The big companies began with the premise that people want to play games in VR, but people are now thinking of other applications

companies have learned that you can't play for 10 hours a day in VR - it can be too intense

Jeremy Silver:

the clearest theme that runs through the book is the power to increase empathy - you have been pioneering a different use here

Jeremy Bailenson:

we were funded to develop VR to do better diversity training - we based it on work in London labs - we made a virtual mirror that shows a different body that followsyour reflection

no medium causes empathy, it's what you do with it - VR will outperform video for empathy if you do it well

Jeremy Silver:

you have done a number of pieces where the viewer has the experience of someone very different from themsleves

we have one in our lab that give the experience of being homeless - to encourage people to have empathy and changing mindsets

Jeremy Bailenson:

Becoming Homeless is a piece we were challenged to do by the Robert Wood Johnson foundation - to see if empathy transferred for broader than just undergraduates

we have a large sample - over 3000 people and a broader range of people to try the experience

we designed control conditions designed to outperform VR, and looked at behaviour over time - looking 2 months after the experience

the goal was to reverse the fundamental attribution error - when things happen to us it's about the situation; for others it is about character

when we end the experience we get people to sign a petition "I am willing to have my taxes raised to help the homeless" - and this still seems to apply 2 months later

there have only been a few studies that look a day or 2 out, not a month ot

Jeremy Silver:

Mel Stevenson has been working in Barcelona with the Ministry of Justice, working with the perpetrators of domestic abuse to simulate them being subject to it -the recidivism goes down 30% compared to control

The more we see of that evidence, the more we can think about tools that create lasting value

Jeremy Bailenson:

the reason why we can posit that it creates an effect - walking VR, fully immersive , people respond to them as if they were real

we should begin with the assumption that VR is an actual experience, and plan on that basis

we wrote a chapter on the Dark side of VR - we moved it to Chapter 2 so it would come through. The reviewers seemed to not see this and accuse me of being too optimisitic

how do we make sure VR doesn't get dragged down with the social media quagmire?

Jeremy Silver:

you have a very strict rule of no more than 20 minutes exposure - we're used to the idea of long form being the ideal

Jeremy Bailenson:

I have yet to find a VR experience that can last longer than 20 minutes - take them, off touch a wall talk to a person

I think VR is amazing for special experience - it's not for reading email and doing social media

Jeremy Silver:

the corporate business plan wants us to be in it all the time, like Ready Player One

Jeremy Bailenson:

That's not my vision - the people stumbling on it anew are bringing the media template of many hours a day - the lightfield approach tries to make it more comfortable

Jeremy Silver:

i was very struck when I read the book by your recurrent refrain of warning - does that need some kind of regulation?

Jeremy Bailenson:

I have been talking to US lawmakers and their ideas of VR - I'm not for regulation, and for free speech - the FCC said it's not their jurisdiction

Zuckerberg went through this big experience in front of congress, and did any laws change?

Jeremy Silver:

if you think about AR and mixed reality is that less overwhelming?

Jeremy Bailenson:

VR is complete mental transplantation; for AR it is more about augmentation and distraction

nowadays it seems if people can't really walk unless their thumbs are moving. one of the google founders said that Google Glass meant he could finally lift his head up at parties

Jeremy Silver:

is the hazard less with AR?

Jeremy Bailenson:

The hazard is different - they show demos liek repairing sinks, but in practice they play Pokemon Go

I want VR devices to turn off if you are going 3 miles per hour or more

you didn't think people would play Pokemon Go while driving cars, but they did

I talk on the phone while driving; I know I am distracted. 9 people per day are killed by drivers on their phone

lets use this as a moment - I don't want to hear about passengers and driverless cars - I want VR not to work in a moving car

Training is a good use case. I was asked if we coudl use VR to train athletes - we built a simulator to train quarterbacks

when the quarterback goes to the line he has about 3 seconds to change the play based on the defence. We simulated this in goggles

Derek set up a startup called Striver which sold this training to many sports teams - I'm a co-founder and we now have 75 employees

Walmart is based in Arkansas and saw the American Football training - we have a Black Friday Rush simulation for them

Walmart has training academies for employees - we found that the VR trainign helped. We then paired 30 stores with VR training and 30 not - it showed better.

we have trained over 200,000 welmart employees using VRin the last 12 months

we simulate a flooded basement with mould everywhere for an insurance company called Nationwide to train claims people

with the traiining we are mostly doing capture with 360 video rather than 3d simulation

we get people to try out the experience, and see how it affects people, and then go back and try a different approach


We work on vivid content - sensorially interesting - what do have that is beyond audio visual?

Jeremy Bailenson:

we just built a project based on smell - making a Vegan patty smell like a real beef one

we did a study where we tried people with a donut - half with a haptic donut, half with scent of a donut

we weren't sure if we would see satiation or priming, but we saw more satiation with virtual donuts

we originally overdid the smell in the smell study


people keep saying VR is a fad that will pass in 5 years

Jeremy Bailenson:

I wish social media would pass in 5 years

with mental health there is a home run use case - this is way mroe important than the gaming cases

we know from many published studies that people can be distracted from physical pain by VR - but hospitals don't offer it

we put researchers and doctors and pharma companies togetehr, and they want a 1000 patient study in a medical journal not a tech one

with PTSD research in the US, they can't get reimbursement from the VA

Cilla Watson:

what were the most interesting ideas from the new interest in VR?

Jeremy Bailenson:

location based VR with passive haptics works very well when it is done right - walking through spider webs with string on your face

One of the simulations is called Hero where a helicoptor drops a bomb on a village you are in, and you pick up pieces of rubble - the tracking was off and I hit my face on a 2 by 4


i'm from Sheffield Hallam univeristy - most examples have been for VR users learning their own skills - what about carers for others - eg helps teachers take care of diabetics

Jeremy Bailenson:

a lot of academic research has looked at experiencing other people's journeys - difficult conversation generator

you have this difficult conversation, we record your audio and gestures, then you experience it from the point of view of the other person - what you were doing to them


Isabel from immersive rehab - we're dealing with regulatory trials - we use a fully immersive Vive - what is coming standalone?

Jeremy Bailenson:

for us $400 for the HTC Vive is a dream price compared to the $10,000 we are used to.

Stroke rehab is a great use case - please keep working on that. The standalone stuff I like - you don't have to set up cameras

the hololens you don't get the dizziness as much, but the inside out you can get some fuzzyness - always go for tracking accuracy


I'm Yasmin - I do training for implicit bias - how do we do longer term behaviour change?

I'm working wiht a bunch of investment bankers to try to make them nicer to women - how do you deal with that?

Jeremy Bailenson:

I'm tired of diversity training that ends with "aha I'm biased" - you want to teach them how to improve - eg show them a heat map of where they look comapared to a woman or a man

then you let them redo it and see how to do better.

we see people say somethign intensely inappropriate, then show them it and let them retry and improve it from the other point of view

Jeremy Silver:

Go outside and buy this book: Experience on Demand: What Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and What It Can Do.

Becky Gregory-Clarke:

It's back! Calling #immersive startups in the can now sign up for the 2018 @DigiCatapult #Augmentor programme. Deadline 23rd May #VR #AR