Nearly everyone lives part of their lives through virtual identities these days, ranging from our accounts for online work or shopping to avatars in videogames or virtual reality. Given the widespread and growing use of such technologies, it is important to better understand their social impacts and to design such technologies to serve the social good. In this talk, Professor Harrell reflects upon how our social identities are complicated by their intersection with computing technologies including videogames, virtual worlds, social media, and related digital media forms – and how we can design experiences involving virtual identities for creative and prosocial needs.
D. Fox Harrell, Ph.D., is Professor of Digital Media & Artificial Intelligence in the Comparative Media Studies Program and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT. He is the director of the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality.
His research explores the relationship between imagination and computation. His research involves developing new forms of computational narrative, videogaming for social impact, virtual reality (VR), and related digital media forms based in computer science, cognitive science, and digital media arts. The National Science Foundation recognized Harrell with an NSF CAREER Award for his project “Computing for Advanced Identity Representation.” He has worked as an interactive television producer and as a game designer. His book Phantasmal Media: An Approach to Imagination, Computation, and Expression was published by the MIT Press (2013).