Many aspects of immersive tech aligns with Plurality

  • E.g.
  • From low-bandwidth collaboration to multisensory / multimodal shared experience
  • From “one body per individual” to “augmented bodies” (e.g. owining one avatar by multiple people), non-traditional model of individuals
  • From objective/singular reality to intersubjective/plural reality
    • this is what I want to talk about in this article!

Reality is subjective, and we share them intersubjectively to construct a Shared Reality

  • People’s worldviews are inherently subjective, and there is no truly objective reality.
    • This plural model of reality is reminiscent of concepts like Uexküll’s umwelt and phenomenology, which emphasize that people perceive different things even when they are in the same world
  • i.e. Reality is asymmetric.
    • we can experience different realities while also sharing reality

The fascinating aspect of computer-mediated reality (VR, MR, etc) is that ### we can intentionally design the mechanism of this “asymmetry.”

  • We can create personalized experiences that cater to individual differences while still maintaining a shared reality.

Specific examples of designed asymmetry include:

When designing asymmetry for personalization can lead to a more pluralistic experience, the question arises:

  • Q: How can we design asymmetry to foster collaboration across differences, while avoiding the dystopian filter bubble where everyone lives in their own isolated reality?
  • Personalization by asymmetry could lead to a dystopian world where everyone lives in their own world; without collaborating and co-existing.
    • how can we avoid this?

The key lies in creating asymmetry in one aspect of reality to enable the sharing of another.

  • i.e. make one thing asymmetric so that we could share something else
  • E.g.
    • Realtime language translation allows users to hear voices in their preferred language. This creates asymmetry in the audio space, while now allowing sharing the meaning and content of the conversation.
    • Personalized levels of detail in a presentation ensure that each attendee receives the appropriate amount of information. This creates asymmetry in the depth of content, while now sharing the overall message and context.
    • Culturally adapted gestures and nonverbal cues. This create asymmetry in the visual representation, while now conveying the same underlying emotions and intentions.

Another approach is to recognize and embrace the existence of multiple realities simultaneously.

In summary, by thoughtfully designing asymmetry in immersive reality, we can create personalized experiences that cater to individual differences while still promoting collaboration and shared understanding. By leveraging asymmetry to enhance certain aspects of reality while maintaining a common ground in others, and by acknowledging the coexistence of multiple realities, we can harness the power of plurality to foster more inclusive, empathetic, and collaborative virtual environments.