A few hours ago, I did readings in virtual reality. That means I entered a virtual room as an avatar and read people, whom I saw as avatars, on a social VR platform. It was the pilot (or beta test) for a VR show Eve Cohen and I are developing, currently entitled "I Feel You: The Empath Experience."
Okay, here's how it works. A bunch of avatars join a room at an appointed time. Eve introduces the show and asks for volunteers to be read. Someone steps forward (that is to say they move their avatar to the center of the "room"). Then I ask them a question, any question, just to hear their voice. I use the sound of their voice to tune in -- and off I go. I do my best to see, reflect, and untangle people's emotional states.
The thing I love about being EMPATH in VR is: it's intimate and anonymous at the same time. I can go very deep into someone's psychology (last time I felt that someone was suicidal and said so) with a whole room of people watching all without violating their privacy. Because no one knows who they are.
We're still working out the kinks. But it's promising. People are loving it. Really loving it. The company behind the platform, AltSpaceVR, is thrilled. And it posits a new answer to a question the entire VR community is asking: how can we best use VR to generate empathy? Well, my answer is: put human beings together to engage deeply in their emotions.
You don't need a headset to experience the show. You can actually download AltSpaceVR on a powerful enough laptop and join in 2D. I'll post when the next show is when I know. Stay tuned.