Autonomy and Immersive Technology Workshop

Published: 28 June 2019

13 September 2019


  • Nathan Wildman
  • Ema Sullivan-Bissett
  • Fay Niker
  • Chris Mills
  • Ben Colburn
  • Neil McDonnell

Organiser: Neil McDonnell

The advent of mainstream Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) devices marks the beginning of a new technological revolution. VR can make users feel like they genuinely went somewhere and did something that they did not, perhaps could not, in the non-virtual world. AR, on the other hand, will bring the data we know from our screens into the world around us – twitter feeds will hover beside their owners, virtual art and TVs will hang on our walls, and directions will appear on the world we are trying to navigate. 

The philosophical questions raised in relation to these immersive technologies are many. The Glasgow Workshop on AR and VR in 2017 (generously supported by the SPA), addressed issues in metaphysics, mind, and epistemology such as: Are virtual objects genuinely real? Are they genuinely valuable? Can we genuinely perceive in VR? Can we genuinely learn through VR? Several papers from that conference are forthcoming in the Special Issue of Disputatio centred on Chalmers’ “The Virtual and The Real” (2017). 

The moral and political questions concerning the immersive technologies remain underexplored however, and yet are already the subject of a current Parliamentary Committee (“Immersive and addictive technologies”). Our proposed workshop will address questions around the issue of Autonomy and Immersive Technology. Sample questions in this domain might include whether any autonomy gained within VR genuinely valuable, whether the nudging that is possible through AR a step-change from existing varieties, and what the impact will be for non-users of AR/VR enhancements in a society where they are commonplace. 

Caring responsibilities: 

Thanks to generous support from the Scots Philosophical Association, we have funds to help support those with caring responsibilities which would hinder their ability to participate. If this applies to you, please contact Neil McDonnell.

Registration is free, but numbers are limited. Please register through Eventbrite.

We are grateful for the support of the Scots Philosophical Association and the MIND Association for their generous support.

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First published: 28 June 2019