The IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Extended Reality

About the Activity

The following excerpt from the chapter on Extended Reality in A/IS that is part of Ethically Aligned Design, First Edition illustrates the need for this initiative:

Humans interpret the world through multiple lenses, determined by both culture and environment, which form the basis for human bias and deeply influence how people interpret their relationships and sense of self. The nature of these lenses and how reality is experienced has dramatically evolved with the introduction of digital technologies and easy access to information via the web. Our perspectives are profoundly influenced not only by the cultural values of a global population, but by the underlying tracking technologies fueling the economic underpinnings of the web.

The growing prevalence of augmented and virtual environments is set to extend our collective human cognizance. Our sense of physical identity, time, and agency will become subject to entirely new paradigms, where the gateways to these experiences might be controlled by interests other than that of ordinary citizens. The autonomous and intelligent systems (A/IS) backbone enabling real-time personalization of any end-users’ Extended Reality (XR) world raises a host of ethical and philosophical questions about the collection, control, and exploitation of user data within these ecosystems. As these capabilities move from external headsets into much subtler, integrated sensory enhancements (and embedded or implanted devices) the stakes can become perilous.

Goals of the Activity

The goal of this Industry Connections activity is to continue and proliferate the existing efforts of The IEEE Standards Association focused on the ethical issues related to XR as outlined in the Extended Reality chapter of Ethically Aligned Design while inviting Working Group members from the multiple standards Working Groups focused on augmented and virtual reality and the spatial web and additional subject matter experts from industry and policy to create white papers, workshops, and PARs related to this work to ensure these technologies move from perilous to purposeful.

Proposed deliverables and outcomes from this Industry Connections activity may include documents (e.g., white papers, reports), proposals for standards and guidelines, conferences, webinars and workshops, databases, computer code, etc.

  • White papers. Subject matter for white papers may include topics like how parents should guide their children regarding aspects of XR including identity, data, etc. Papers may also include discussions on time shifting and other benefits of XR that touch on applied ethics or values-driven design.
  • Policy recommendations. Convert any existing guidelines on XR ethics for policy makers to expedite the design and proliferation of technologies that best inspire long-term human and ecological wellbeing in regard to the context of immersive realities. As policy implementation at different levels of governance will be predicated upon varying degrees of existing regulatory frameworks, this initiative will seek to delineate frameworks for policy makers to implement minimum viable protections through XR-related policies.
  • Workshops. These may be with corporate, policy, or general citizen audiences as a way to best address specific issues focused on any of XR issues.
  • It is expected that at least one standard or recommended practice will come from this group focused on the ethics of XR.

Getting Involved

Who Should Get Involved

We welcome new participants from large and small corporations, academia, industry, government agencies, and any individuals that are interested in the IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Extended Reality.

Members would include but are not limited to:

  • Members of EAD’s Extended Reality Committee.
  • Members of any/all IEEE standards Working Groups focused on AR, VR, etc.
  • SMEs from industry, policy, and sociology, therapy, and anthropology environments to make sure to cover issues of mental health in immersive environments.

How to Get Involved

To learn more about the program and how to join the IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Extended Reality activity please express your interest by sending an inquiry to the activity chair whose information can be found in the Contacts section.

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