Newhouse Professor Wins Facebook Reality Labs Research Grant to Study Impacts of Augmented and Virtual Reality
Makana Chock, David J. Levidow Professor of Communication at the Newhouse School, received a $ 75,000 research grant from Facebook Reality Labs to explore the impacts of augmented and virtual reality (AR / VR) on viewer privacy .
Chock will work with Se Jung Kim, a doctoral student in Newhouse’s mass communication program. They will focus on two countries with disparate cultural norms – the United States and South Korea – to examine the impact of cultural differences on privacy concerns and ultimately inform the design of AR / VR technology.
â€œThis is another example of how many large communications companies around the world are looking to The Newhouse School to better understand some of the challenges we face as a society,â€ says Newhouse Dean Mark J. Lodato .
Chock developed its proposal, â€œAR / VR Recording: Cultural Differences in Viewers’ Perceptions of Privacy,â€ in response to Facebook’s RFP on Responsible Innovation in AR / VR: â€œConsider Everyoneâ€ .
Chock says the “ubiquitous and secretive nature” of AR / VR recording poses the threat of serious privacy breaches as passers-by are captured without permission. At the same time, different companies often have different concepts of viewer privacy, and these differences are reflected in the way image recording is regulated.
In the individualistic culture of the United States, recording spectators in a public space is widely accepted and often protected by the First Amendment. In the collectivist culture of South Korea, where privacy is more important, express permission is required to register individuals. Yet even there, young adults regularly post images and recordings on social media that may contain passers-by.
Additionally, Chock says spectator privacy concerns are especially important when it comes to vulnerable populations like immigrants.
â€œIn recent years, immigrants to the United States and South Korea have faced restrictions and increased scrutiny from government agencies, as well as discrimination and intimidation from some members. of their communities, â€she says. â€œThese factors can increase concerns about privacy and the potential misuse of immigrant personal information or images. It is therefore important to educate AR / VR users about the concerns of passers-by and the potential for accidental damage.
The three-part study will begin with an online survey conducted in the two countries to assess potential differences in viewers’ perceptions and concerns about privacy and identify additional concerns of targeted immigrant groups. The team will then conduct a series of in-depth interviews with a subset of survey participants to provide additional qualitative data on cultural differences in spectator privacy issues. Finally, they will host a series of focus groups comprised of American and South Korean users in a multi-user social VR environment to determine whether the cultural differences observed in â€œreal-worldâ€ public spaces also apply to spaces. social VR.
Chock is expected to be the founding research director of Newhouse School’s new XR lab and co-head of the virtual and immersive interactions research hub at Syracuse University.