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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Should Virtual Reality (VR) Headsets Carry Warning Labels

Virtual Reality's Long-Term Effects Debated

Carolyn Giardina | April 26, 2016

"We should clearly notify users that we don't yet know the impact of long-term viewing," warned a VR ethics researcher.
Should virtual reality headsets carry warning labels?
That was the suggestion made by one of the participants at FMX, the animation and effects conference that opened Tuesday in Stuttgart, Germany. Michael Madary, a post-doctoral researcher into virtual reality ethics at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, called for research into the impact on both VR and augmented reality.

Harm to research participants must be avoided. Where risks arise as an unavoidable and integral element of the research, robust risk assessment and management protocols should be developed and complied with. Normally, the risk of harm must be no greater than that encountered in ordinary life, i.e., participants should not be exposed to risks greater than or additional to those to which they are exposed in their normal lifestyles (The British Psychological Society, 2014, p. 11).

No experiment should be conducted using virtual reality with the foreseeable consequence that it will cause serious or lasting harm to a subject.
We recommend that informed consent for VR experiments ought to include an explicit statement to the effect that immersive VR can have lasting behavioral influences on subjects, and that some of these risks may be presently unknown.
VR researchers aiming at new clinical applications should therefore work slowly and carefully, in close collaboration with physicians who may be better situated to make informed judgments about the suitability of particular patients for new trials.

<more at; related articles and links: (First code of conduct for the use of virtual reality established. Michael Madary and Thomas Metzinger summarize problems and offer recommendations for the future of VR. April 3, 2016) and (Real Virtuality: A Code of Ethical Conduct. Recommendations for Good Scientific Practice and the Consumers of VR-Technology. February 19, 2016)>

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