Presence for good: Check Your Blind Spots mobile interactive VR exhibit addressing unconscious bias

[Especially with everything going on in the political sphere today I think it’s wonderful that an organization is using presence to encourage people to recognize their unconscious biases and increase empathy and sensitivity in their interactions with others. The CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion’s Check Your Blind Spots mobile exhibit is on a 100 city tour around the U.S., making stops at campuses and workplaces. The story below from CNET is from the recent stop at CES (the Consumer Electronics Show); a story from the Wake Forest University stop is available in the Old Gold & Black student paper; and for much more information (including a video and many photos) see the tour’s website. –Matthew]

CES 2019: Interactive VR exhibit encourages diversity and inclusion by addressing unconscious bias

This interactive exhibit digitally puts you in another person’s shoes to become more mindful about how you treat other people.

by Shelby Brown
January 7, 2019

CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion is taking an interactive exhibit across the country to examine people’s “blind spots,” or unconscious biases in everyday life.

Unconscious biases are automatic, learned, unintentional yet deeply ingrained stereotypes that can affect our behavior.

The Check Your Blind Spots mobile tour is making a stop at CES 2019 to shed light on how these biases can narrow a person’s vision. The exhibit approaches the topic using popular technology like virtual reality (VR) and gaming.

“There are biases that we all bring to what we do every single day,” Shannon L Schuyler, principal chief purpose officer for PwC global consulting firm, told Download.com.

The 55-foot bus has interactive activities that incorporate VR and gamification to help participants better understand their decisions to increase awareness of biases. By increasing awareness, you also increase sensitivity, Schuyler said.

In the Perspective Matters exhibit on the bus, people can use VR to be digitally put into another person’s shoes as they are facing a discriminatory situation.

“Through virtual reality you can put people in scenarios so they can actually feel and understand the way people are interacting with them and realize that it’s not right,” Schuyler said. “And hopefully by that, we can change that and have a better appreciation of why certain people think certain things.”

Check Your Blind Spots also includes gamification features in the Look Through a Different Lens exhibit. Participants can look through a viewfinder and watch a scenario unfold. For every instance they see of unconscious bias or discrimination, they’ll press a button. At the end, they will see how many they got right.

In addition, users can evaluate their social circles to see how diverse they are. There’s also a wall of phones called Wake Up Call that ring as a visitor walk by. If they answer a phone, they could hear different scenarios, such as how some people are denied housing based on discrimination.

After viewing the exhibit, CEO Action for Diversity has an I Act On pledge that visitors can sign. Participants can make a commitment to address personal biases and encourage inclusive behaviors in themselves and others. They can also record a video in the testimonial booth and talk about what they learned or experienced on the bus.

The Blind Spots tour was inspired by how CEO Action for Diversity came to be, Schuyler told Download.com, as PwC began encouraging dialogue about diversity and discrimination in the workplace.

The CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion is the largest CEO-driven business commitment to ending discrimination in the workplace. Since the initiative’s inception, 560 CEOs have joined.

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