Message posted on 07/02/2024

Deadline extended - Digital Society Topical Collection on Extended Reality

Now open till 31 May (and apologies for the cross-post): The Situated Metaverse: Cross-Cultural Philosophical and Practical Implications of Extended Reality

Extended reality (XR) is growing in importance worldwide. From augmented reality (AR) games to virtual reality (VR) surgery to the “metaverse,” the technology is proliferating across different aspects of life. Companies, local governments, national governments, and supranational organizations are creating XR development—and, occasionally, regulation—plans, with goals varying by body and location. For instance, the Chinese government issued an Action Plan on VR, while individual cities are developing metaverse plans, and recently, the European Commission held three Citizens’ Panels on “virtual worlds” to draft recommendations for a European Commission action. Meta is launching “Metaverse Academies” in France and Saudi Arabia, while Nigeria hosted an XR storytelling event showcasing African XR creators. While most XR development is concentrated in a few countries, its use and impacts will be global. Despite this, most analyses of the potential impacts of XR focus on the American and European contexts. This not only overlooks several of the major XR development powerhouses, but also how XR technologies and experiences will have global impacts, including on human rights and the ways we interact with each other.

This Topical Collection aims to address how XR’s impacts will be understood in different cultural contexts. While researching emerging technologies involves some amount of prediction, the rich science-fiction tradition surrounding XR promotes often baseless speculation. In order to promote XR as a topic of legitimate academic discourse, this Topical Collection welcomes clearheaded analyses of how XR will impact education, health, socializing, and work, especially those that consider under-addressed topics and locations, as well as explorations of the implications of XR across different philosophical traditions.

Topics that could be addressed include but are not limited to include:

  • The role of XR in shaping diverse educational practices and pedagogies.

  • The applications and impact of XR in healthcare, especially for overlooked conditions and populations.

  • What impacts XR may have on mental and physical health, both positive and negative.

  • The social implications of XR, especially as regards connectivity and dislocation.

  • How XR may impact the future of work, labor relations, and practices.

  • What sociotechnical imaginaries of XR are being forwarded by under-studied entities.

  • The philosophical implications of the role and nature of XR in our societies, particularly those that foreground non-Western perspectives.

  • How the “metaverse” is defined and developed in different contexts.

  • The cultural implications of XR adoption, especially as regards under-represented locations and communities.

  • Ethical challenges of widespread XR use.

I’ll be guest editing it (EIC is Federica Russo) and am happy to answer any questions! Best, Emmie Hine


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