Experience on Demand

What Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and What It Can Do

Jeremy Bailenson (Author)

 

An in-depth look at virtual reality and how it can be harnessed to improve our everyday lives.

Virtual reality is able to effectively blur the line between reality and illusion, pushing the limits of our imagination and granting us access to any experience imaginable. With well-crafted simulations, these experiences, which are so immersive that the brain believes they’re real, are already widely available with a VR headset and will only become more accessible and commonplace. But how does this new medium affect its users, and does it have a future beyond fantasy and escapism?

In Experience on Demand, Jeremy Bailenson draws on two decades spent researching the psychological effects of VR and other mass media to help readers understand this powerful new tool. He offers expert guidelines for interacting with VR and describes the profound ways this technology can be put to use—not to distance ourselves from reality, but to enrich our lives and influence us to treat others, the environment, and even ourselves better. In the world of VR, a football quarterback plays a game against a competing team hundreds of times before even stepping onto the field; members of the United Nations embody a young girl in a refugee camp going through her day-to-day life; and veterans once again walk through the streets where they had experienced trauma.

There are dangers and many unknowns in using VR, but it also can help us hone our performance, recover from trauma, improve our learning and communication abilities, and enhance our empathic and imaginative capacities. Like any new technology, its most incredible uses might be waiting just around the corner. Experience on Demand is the definitive look at the risks and potential of VR—a must-read for navigating both the virtual and the physical worlds ahead.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • Forthcoming January 2018
  • ISBN 978-0-393-25369-6
  • 6.1 × 9.3 in / 304 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“Few people alive know as much about VR as Jeremy Bailenson. For decades he’s been researching how VR affects humans. Read this before you enter this new world.” — Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired and author of The Inevitable

“Virtual reality is changing the way athletes train. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand and hone performance through VR.” — Joe Montana, Hall of Fame quarterback

“Jeremy Bailenson’s work is unflinching and brave. He helps us see more of our vulnerabilities and our potential than ever before. This book describes the edge of human self-knowledge, and a precipice of human foibles to avoid.” — Jaron Lanier, VR pioneer and author of You Are Not A Gadget

“Bailenson provides a clarifying framework for a necessary conversation about what it will mean to ‘be there’ in the twenty-first century. Read this to calibrate the ethical and moral choices ahead.” — Sherry Turkle, professor of the social studies of science and technology, MIT, and author of Reclaiming Conversation

“As one of VR’s pioneers, Jeremy Bailenson sheds light on how it works, its benefits, and how it will impact us in the future.” — Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer, Samsung Electronics

“With sharp intelligence and lucid prose, Jeremy Bailenson deftly surveys the current state of this uniquely powerful medium. This engaging book shows us the vast potential of virtual reality as an empathy machine with the potential to change the world, while also being clear-eyed about its pitfalls and limitations. Nobody has thought longer or deeper than Bailenson about how VR will affect society, and he takes us on an entertaining tour of what it can do, from giving children thrilling educational experiences to teaching the public about climate change to enhancing the storytelling powers of filmmakers and journalists.” — Laurene Powell Jobs, President of Emerson Collective

“What is Virtual Reality? Everyone is talking about it but very few have really indulged in artistic and well crafted simulations. Jeremy Bailenson takes you beyond the hype and into the profound and empathic ways VR is enhancing every facet of life... from how we communicate to how we are entertained. A must read for anyone who is curious about the world we live in.” — Jane Rosenthal, Producer and Co-Founder of Tribeca Enterprises

“Jeremy Bailenson's knowledge of VR, from high level issues of hardware design and market dynamics down to details of human interaction and behavior is without equal, and this book is no exception. To this day, my scariest VR experience was delivered by Jeremy in his lab around 2011, and I am still incorporating learning from that first demonstration into my work. Although VR hardware at a reasonable price is finally upon us, there are a number of big design problems turning up around human interaction and human experience in virtual environments that will have to be solved to move forward to worldwide daily use. This book contains essential insights and information related to solving those problems, and will be essential reading material for VR experience designers.” — Philip Rosedale, Founder of High Fidelity and Second Life