The Machine to Be Another
Original Title: The Machine to Be Another
Category: Know Award
The Machine to Be Another (MTBA) is a low-budget open-source tool allowing people to see and feel themselves in the body and personal story of someone very different from themselves. Based on cognitive science, virtual reality and performance, the system offers a multisensory experience allowing participants to literally swap bodies, perspectives and personal thoughts. Designed to promote immersive perspective-taking and empathic concern, the MTBA aims to be a tool for public use, available in libraries and community centres. The perceptual illusion of having another body through Virtual Reality, for instance, by offering participants with white complexions the experience of embodying an avatar with dark skin, leads to a significant reduction of implicit racial bias in cases researched. MTBA offers immersive perspective-taking experiences as an invaluable social tool with the potential to overcome negative intergroup bias and to promote meaningful encounters between locals and new-arrivals. Living together in diversity may finally become a matter of literally putting on a different perspective.
“The Machine to Be Another aims to overcome the current problems of integration and racial bias by allowing others to experience how it is to be a different person with different race, gender, social standard person, potentially morphing them to other places. It does so by using innovative technologies like Virtual Reality and custom hardware for additional feedback channels and an interaction model based on research findings. Not only does that help solving important current problems in our society, it also has the potential to help in other applications like remote learning from experts or psychotherapy and a lot more.” – Know Center Evaluation Report
Please note that all data refer to the time of winning the Award.