[ISEA94] Panel: Ola Odegard: Virtual Reality as a Medium for Social Interaction

Panel Statement

Panel: The Invisible Planet

This presentation will describe the possibilities for social interaction between users and computer generated agents in networked Virtual Reality applications.

In many ways networked virtual worlds can be described as social experiments. Since it is networked, it will be inhabited by persons that have had no previous personal contact, and
have to learn to interact, and develop conventions for behavior within the virtual worlds. This also puts the awareness on the responsibility of the developers of VR applications, as they as the interpreters of cultural and social codecs. Virtual Reality can also challenge the traditional role of users of different media. First of all the user can walk around in the virtual worlds as a spectator, just watching, like a visitor. On the other hand computer generated agents can be programmed to follow a dramatized sequence. The user can first of all watch this sequence as a linear story, like traditional TV. But the user will also be given the possibility to interact with the
agent role, and influence the sequence of actions. The third level is for the user to virtually inhabit the agent role. The user perspective in Virtual Reality is based on the work related to  Virtual Polis Version 2.0 and a reconstruction of an ancient viking settlement, Virtual Viking Village Version 1.0, both of which were premiered at the conference Virtual Reality Oslo 1994.

  • Ola Odegard is a researcher at the Norwegian Telecom Research. He is a sociologist and a computer scientist with specialty on user aspects in terminals and applications. He is currently in charge of developing the Virtual Reality Lab and the VR development team at Norwegian Telecom Research in Kjeller, Norway. This includes prototying of VR    applications for culture, education, entertainment and industry, which will be tested using  tele-communications networks of various bandwidth