At our inaugural IKLECTIK Philosophy Cafe meeting we will be exploring the nature of ‘Self’ and Identity.
With a short introductory talk (and demonstration) by Yifei Chai about The Pretender Project, some questions will be posed – if you could be anyone for one day, who would you be? Where would you go? What would you do?
If you were some one else for a day – would you behave like you? Would you still be you?
The project is inspired by the Proteus Effect, a psychological phenomenon where the behaviour of an individual operating under a digital persona in virtual reality experiences—such as games— adapts to conform to that persona and continues to exhibit behaviour even after leaving the virtual environment. Could this effect also take place in real-life environments with people becoming avatars for others?
The Pretender Project explores what it means to control our body and for our body to be controlled. As individuals step into the body of another person, they experience real social interactions and have the opportunity to assume the physical behaviours—and in the long term perhaps even personalities—of someone else without physical restrictions offering a unique perspective into social interaction, validation, and empathy. It also poses some challenging question about the nature of identity and what is this experience of an autonomous ‘self’ that acts in the world?
The Pretender Project is a first-of-its-kind real-life identity exploration tool. The project also opens up a world of opportunity for potential applications in medicine—particularly psychology and neuroscience—by offering a unique perspective into mind, embodiment, social interaction, validation and empathy.
You can view a short clip about the project here: http://www.unit9.com/project/the-pretender-project?playlist=unit9-vr