Visual tech called extended reality may steer you to a perilous crossroads: Accenture study

Visual tech called extended reality may steer you to a perilous crossroads: Accenture study
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Pixabay
17 May, 2019

Newer visual technologies such as extended reality (XR) pose new dangers to the wellbeing of individuals and society as a whole, said a new report from consulting firm Accenture.

The new dangers include misuse of personal data, antisocial behaviour and cyberattack, the report said.

“We believe the best experiences are those that sit at the intersection of purpose and innovation to improve lives,” said Rori Duboff, head of content innovation at Accenture Interactive.

“There is a tremendous opportunity with XR to learn from past mistakes and design more inclusive and accountable worlds and experiences. Ultimately, for XR to succeed, strategy and creative teams must have diverse mindsets, and experiences need to be accessible to everyone,” Duboff added.

Further, Duboff said that not only could avatars be used to create new forms of identity-related crime, but critical tasks like surgery, that depend on immersive technologies, could be at risk of extortion.

The report also pointed out that technologies such as XR also pose greater risks of tech addiction.

“We are entering a post-digital era where emerging technologies such as XR are driving the next wave of innovation and growth,” said Marc Carrel-Billiard, senior managing director of Accenture Labs and global lead of Accenture’s Extended Reality group. “XR will be core to enabling these opportunities, but we must address the risks posed by today’s technologies and design XR tools and immersive experiences responsibly,” Carrel-Billiard added.

The report also said that businesses should take action against such risks on a priority basis. These actions include building early warning systems and drawing on diverse experts for responsible design.

Explaining further, the report said that rather than creating rules that cannot keep up with rapid innovation, business leaders must instil a culture of responsibility that integrates ethical questions into the habitual behaviour of everyday work and key decisions.

It added that XR investments need to be targeted towards improving worker productivity, training and creativity and also including partners in the development ecosystem such as neuroscientists, mental health experts, sociologists and behavioural theorists to aid the responsible design and use of XR tools.

The report also recommends actions for policy makers, which include ensuring inclusive and affordable access, incentivising local innovators and stimulating research and discussion around safety.