Notes on VR, AI & Knowledge Work

This symposium looks at the future of text in VR from the perspective of knowledge work, powered by AI. It seeks to explore practices, policies, and possibilities that present are now and are laying ahead so that those working in this area of scholarship can lend their voices to the ongoing development of VR technologies and find effective ways to incorporate them into our work.

To clarify, this is about knowledge work in VR outside the clearly mapped 3D systems such as CAD and outside the social side of work, as well as games and entertainment in general, which are receiving investment already. Further, we do not expect VR to be the exclusive medium through which we interact with text, but rather that we will interact with text in VR alongside traditional digital as well as analog media in a ubiquitous computing environment.

We define AR as a subset of VR, one which the user will in the near future be able to toggle between, but which which will nevertheless have different use modes and use cases.

We Ask: What will text be when expressed in VR environments—when words are evoked through touch, interacted with through bodily movements, and is immersed with us in 3D space? How can working with text in VR augment how we think and communicate?

Since entering VR will be a much more personal experience than we are used to through flat screens, we ask how will VR change us and how might we need to change to flourish in VR rather than disappear in VR. What will it mean to be human when we are fully immersed in a digital environment? Can we build VR to connect us closer to each other and the natural world or are we bound to use VR to further isolate ourselves?

What will it be like for children of the future to grow up in worlds with no distance and with infinite possibilities? Will their reach be extended or will they lose perspective?

In other words, how might VR be developed to bring out the best in us?

Why You? A better future will not be automatic. Developments which only a few decades ago would have seemed like magic, or at least like science fiction are just around the corner, the results of massive investment by large companies.

We try to look at what aspect of work in VR can not be taken for granted because they can not be expected to be developed by the commercial developers of VR systems since they will not directly benefit the cashflow of these companies.

The needs of knowledge workers do not perfectly overlap those of the companies producing the VR experiences.

Goal: The goal of this symposium is to spark dialogue around potential opportunities and issues of working with knowledge in VR and using AI augmentations.

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