Added: Isabelle Quezada - Date: 25.11.2021 20:14 - Views: 41749 - Clicks: 7981
The former biotech software engineer went from developing mini-games that helped diagnose childhood concussions to becoming CEO and creative director of the independent Seattle game studio Stumbling Cat and a board member of the International Game Developers Association. As a consultant and speaker, Gittins is granted access to events featuring the latest virtual reality technologies.
The players were on two teams — two men on one and Gittins and another man on the other. Motion tracking allowed players to move their hands in the game. Gittins waved at the man embodied in a female avatar next to her. I felt like I walked in on locker room banter. The rise of graphics capabilities for mobile phone technology in the first decade of the 21st century gave developers a way to make VR portable, accessible and abundant.
Introduced in , the Google Cardboard head mount paved the way for more ubiquity, offering an affordable and simple tool to view and interact with VR experiences. Social VR platforms such as Rec Room , AltspaceVR and High Fidelity offer virtual forums that allow users to engage in social activities, including talking, playing games, conducting meetings and even hugging each other while embodied as avatars. Yet, one looming problem in VR is that someone can invade your personal space from thousands of miles away in ways that feel far too real.
Shared and cited by media outlets in the U. Since last fall , the national conversation on sexual harassment and assault heightened due to allegations against prominent media figures, including Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer. Earlier in , two female employees of influential companies brought lawsuits against their employers that shook the VR industry.
Tannen Campbell, former vice president of strategic marketing and brand identity at Magic Leap , sued her former employers in February and Elizabeth Scott, former digital and social media director at , sued that company in May. Magic Leap filed a response denying it engaged in any kind of discrimination, and in May, Campbell filed a notice of settlement , its terms confidential.
Her suit also settled quietly. Introduced at the Virtual Reality Developers Conference in San Francisco, a self-funded study conducted by behavioral scientist Jessica Outlaw analyzed the social VR experiences of 13 women ages 21 to 38 from Portland, Oregon. The study found that after 30 minutes of exposure to AltspaceVR or Rec Room, most participants reported feeling unsafe, had difficulty navigating the spaces and struggled with self-expression. While Outlaw acknowledged the sample size is low, she says she hopes her study will inspire developers to research equality and VR experiences.
In its online harassment survey , the Pew Research Center found 41 percent of Americans have been subjected to harassing behavior online, while 66 percent witnessed it. Regarding more severe forms such as physical threats, sexual harassment or stalking, nearly 18 percent of Americans have found themselves targets. Suzanne Leibrick, a VR developer and co-leader of ARVR Academy , says there is something magical about putting on a heet and going to another world, though at times, she thinks it can be easy to forget there is a person behind the avatar.
This was similar to an earlier uncomfortable experience of being followed, heckled and encircled by other avatars while appearing as a female avatar on AltspaceVR. Leibrick said it produced an uncomfortable sensation of being surrounded by a crowd. She says the occurrences are a frequent part of her VR social and gaming experiences. I should not have to end my social or game experience just because someone is acting unruly. Bungle used the voodoo doll he obtained to commit virtual rapes of female characters. Are you hot? Gittins said the harassment escalated to death threats on her cellphone while she was a student at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California — an institution lauded for its concentration on math, engineering and the advancement of women in computer science.
It persisted in random bouts on various internet platforms for nearly seven years even after she ceased from actively playing the game, causing her to live in fear. Sameer Hinduja, a criminology and criminal justice professor at Florida Atlantic University and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center , says the anonymity a VR heet and avatar afford can be alluring to antagonists because it allows them to shed social norms for power and control. Harassers take full advantage of victims by holding power over their experience.
This power play is very attractive, especially if developers have not afforded the victim tools of defense. VR platforms fall under cyberspace communication, touching on state and federal laws including the First Amendment, Section of the Communications Decency Act and possibly criminal and civil statutes covering defamation, harassment, public disclosure of private facts and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
University of Miami School of Law professor Mary Anne Franks said that under Section of the Communications Decency Act, online intermediaries that host or republish speech are protected against laws apart from certain exceptions that might otherwise hold them legally responsible for user behavior.
Website owners are required to act only on serious criminal complaints such as child pornography or intellectual property claims. VR Companies may find immunity under this provision if their users commit harassment. While most platforms self-regulate by posting community decency standards such as temporary or permanent suspensions, it is up to site administrators to enforce these.
These routes can be costly, however. So far , how laws would adapt and apply to concepts such as photorealistic VR avatars is unknown. Despite the uncanny valley hypothesis, a theory postulating that people feel uneasy seeing lifelike humanoid objects, industry leaders predict avatars will become more intricate.
The ability to create 3-D-scanned photorealistic versions now exists through startups such as Uraniom. As Franks mentions in a recent article for the UC Davis Law Review , future threatening VR behaviors could include hacking into the of a user and using his or her avatar, or creating an avatar resembling a victim to perform acts of defilement or violence against it.
Franks says technological innovations should be subjected to testing that asks whether the product advances or undermines equality. There are ways to try to update our laws to protect users. We just need the political will. But developers Leibrick and Gittins say relying predominantly on state and federal laws to protect users is not ideal. They argue that responsibility lies with developers because social conventions in VR, such as introducing yourself to a stranger or greeting friends, can be misunderstood.
We should program in social conventions as much as possible. The Pew online harassment survey revealed that 94 percent of U. Katie Kelly, senior program manager at Microsoft and head of engagement at AltspaceVR, which Microsoft acquired , says the company continues to make improvements for better social interaction, offering interest gatherings from LGBT meetups, talk shows and book clubs to Campfire , where avatars can hang out.
We try to come off not as a game, but as a platform where different people can find value in virtual social interaction. Gittins hopes developers continue to improve harassment prevention tools. She also recommends they create a database to track violators from popular VR social and gaming environments. While the threatening phone calls have dissipated, she wonders whether they will return. Jessica Buchleitner is the author of the 50 Women anthology series — two books chronicling stories of perseverance told by 50 women from 30 countries.
More recently she co-authored Stories from Girls and Women of Mogadishu featuring s told by women and girls building their lives in post civil war Mogadishu, Somalia. Renee Gittins, an International Game Developers Association board member, lifts a virtual reality heet from her eyes.
After experiencing a string of cyber harassment incidents throughout her life, Gittins says relying on state and federal laws to protect users is not ideal. Jessica Buchleitner buchleitner.Vr groping
email: [email protected] - phone:(494) 563-5974 x 2433
The rise of virtual sexual assault and cyber-groping in virtual reality gaming