VR in Pop Culture

Outline

The applications of VR have grown substantially over the last decades. Specifically, VR's prominence and reception in popular culture has changed significantly. Here are a few new uses of VR in popular culture and entertainment.

Deep Fakes and VR:

  • The rise of artificial intelligence has led to the rise of deep fakes, or videos that show celebrities or officials doing things they've never actually done. Here's a more in-depth article about how this is done.

  • While most Deep Fakes are normal videos, here are some CGI examples of 360/VR videos that claim to be deep fakes (they aren't really deep fakes in terms of the technology they use, because deep fakes aren't CGI videos)

  • Much of the hype around deep fakes has had to do with their ability to misinform the public, or be used to create footage of celebrities in compromising situations. However, it is possible that they could be used in VR for therapeutic purposes, to cope with grief, overcome phobias, etc.

AR and Climate Change:

  • The Miami Murals project includes a mural created by environmental group Before It's Too Late that shows the potential climate disasters in Miami, including rising sea levels. Users can choose the future they wish to enact ("Be the Change" or "Make No Change,") and see the outcomes of those actions on their smartphones. Here's a video from the New Yorker on their landmark mural/AR piece. Based on the video, it seems like a unique crossover of AR/VR--maybe we can call this place-based VR? Here's a walk-through of the app. Here's the project page.

  • Before It's too late is a non-profit engaged in climate change work, working with technical specialists in VR/AR design, educators, artists, musicians, and community activists. The merger of disciplines that they create in their VR works is a model for holistic applications of VR.

  • Before It's Too Late hosts a hackathon for climate change, and sponsors a climate change VR lab, and have published a number of videos in 360/VR on climate change in Miami. They use Kodak PixPro 4K cameras, as well as Google Blocks, Tilt Brush, and Unity.