Technology has embedded itself into our day-to-day activities and as such, has become a way of life. It helps us to perform tasks more efficiently, keep up to date with important news and stay connected with our loved ones. The applications of technology are limitless, so there’s every reason to consider how it can be used to create positive social change. But how can this be done and through what technology?
This paper answers the question of whether technology can be used for the wider social good, specifically in relation to virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR respectively). We propose that VR and AR could make a significant contribution towards creating this social good. Their ability to distort our realities has the potential to not only educate but also bring people closer to those issues they often remain removed from.
VR and AR have a range of applications with regards to physical inactivity, mental health, dementia, autism, environmental issues and much more. Their applications can support people to overcome challenges, raise the public's awareness of social issues and encourage positive action; this positive action can range from being more conscientious of the challenges others face to actively trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
In this paper, we explore the differences between VR and AR and how each technology is being used, whether separately or combined, to challenge social issues specifically within the aforementioned areas. We also touch on their potential for the future, the areas in which we these technologies could make the most impact and which technology we think has the most potential to create positive change for the wider social good.
If you’re interested in tech for good and we have your interest piqued with the applications of VR and AR, then download our paper now and explore how these technologies can be used for the wider social good.