One million dollars will be invested in research and advocacy to ensure public interest values shape virtual reality, the metaverse, and other emerging technologies.
Minderoo Foundation has launched a ground-breaking new fund to investigate the new frontier in technology — eXtended Reality, or XR.
One million dollars in grants will be available in the eXtended Reality (XR) 2030 Policy Fund, so advocates and researchers can help shape the development and deployment of the rapidly emerging tech.
“XR technologies are here now, but the future of how XR is used isn’t set in stone — and it shouldn’t be set by corporations alone,” said Burcu Kilic, Minderoo Foundation’s Head of Policy and Strategic Partnerships, Frontier Technology. “We will support cutting-edge work that explores critical public policy and social justice issues raised by XR.”
XR encompasses a range of emerging technologies. Virtual reality headsets and the ‘metaverse’ are the most familiar today, but companies are also creating new immersive, embodied, and more authentic feeling experiences within digital environments.
While these tools hold promise in areas like gaming, education, and entertainment, they also raise novel questions and concerns, such as ‘What are the mental and physical health implications of being immersed in these virtual environments?’ These experiences won’t just be powered by data we input into a keyboard, but also highly sensitive biometric information, like how our eyes move in response to specific stimuli.
Starting in February, the XR30 Fund will accept proposals that assess key challenges or opportunities raised by the technology, or propose possible policy interventions. Aided by a group of expert advisors, the foundation will evaluate proposals based on their feasibility, potential impact, and novelty. The goal is to support a diversity of proposals from across the world that prioritise interdisciplinary research.
“XR implicates a wide range of domains, including safety, privacy, competition, and labour, just to name a few,” Kilic noted. “We look forward to including diverse perspectives in exploring this technology to help build a digital world that empowers communities and individuals.”
Foto: Attendees experience the experiencing VR during a panel at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Antalya, Turkiye on March 12, 2022. . Photo Credit: Arif Hudaverdi Yaman/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.