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As the author of the new book “Experience on Demand: What Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and What It Can Do”(Norton, January 2018), Stanford University’s Jeremy Bailenson is the leading expert on virtual reality (VR), the technology that he says will literally change the way we view the world. The implications for companies training workers, institutions educating students, and of course, the entertainment industry are vast.

How can organizations more effectively (and cheaply) train employees, whether customer service associates or professional athletes? By simulating their work surroundings and putting them in the middle of the action. How can we better educate our children and hold their attention? By allowing them to travel the world – and time – without ever leaving the classroom.

Bailenson, founder and director of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford, says the power of VR goes beyond these utilitarian uses. By replicating the plight of a war zone or homeless shelter, VR has the potential to alter human behavior, re-shape attitudes, and instill empathy to create a more caring and compassionate society. “In general, our findings show that VR causes more behavior change, causes more engagement, causes more influence than other types of traditional media,” says Bailenson. “Becoming someone else in virtual reality and experiencing this trauma first hand, in general, causes a reduction in prejudice compared to the typical way that we try to address this…”

As the first Season Two guest of Stern Strategy Group’s groundbreaking podcast series, Minds Worth Meeting, Bailenson discusses his new book, the technology behind VR, and the wider consequences and uses for society.


To immerse yourself in the coming VR revolution slated to transform business, government, education, and human empathy, download the Minds Worth Meeting podcast with Bailenson and get your copy of “Experience on Demand”, which is available in bookstores and online today.

Rediscovering Our Humanity Through Virtual Reality was last modified: October 14th, 2022 by Brian Sherry