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University academics head to Parliament to examine challenges of immersive and addictive technologies


Leading researchers at Britain’s universities are participating in a parliamentary inquiry to explore whether the UK is equipped to deal with the ethical and practical challenges of immersive technologies.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee welcomed Birmingham City University’s Sarah Jones, Kings College London’s Michael Veale and the Oxford Internet Institute’s Professor Andrew Przybylski to the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday 12 February, to discuss the impact that immersive technologies could have in the worlds of sport, entertainment and news.

Birmingham School of Media

Birmingham City University

The panel also discussed the addictive nature of some technologies and government efforts to deliver the necessary policy, infrastructure and regulation to keep pace with the increasing digitisation and ‘gamification’ of people’s lives.

According to Ofcom’s ‘Communications Market Report’, people in the UK check their smartphone every 12 minutes, and one in five people spend more than 40 hours a week online.

Sarah Jones, Head of the School of Media at Birmingham City University, is the co-founder of VR Girls UK and is listed as a top influencer in virtual reality – the 15th female in the world according to Onalytica.

“We’re in the third wave of immersive technology but right now, we can see it really infiltrating our everyday lives”, said Sarah.

“Studies and experiments within immersive journalism allow you to really feel the story, instead of just watching it. This has huge ramifications for the way we view and consume media and it opens up a lot of opportunities for storytelling, or storyliving, as I argue.

Watch the inquiry meeting here.

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