Jeremy Bailenson

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Jjeremy Bailenson

Virtual Reality Pioneer and Authority on Its Impact on Business and Society; Cognitive Psychologist; Founding Director, Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Stanford University; Author, “Experience on Demand” (Norton, 2018)

Biography

We are no longer limited by the confines of our own world. Virtual reality (VR) is now mainstream, and its potential ­– as well as that of augmented reality (AR) technology, which allows us to integrate simulations with the “real” world – is vast. Jeremy Bailenson is a pioneering expert in the field and one of the world’s leading experts on VR and AR. With almost two decades of VR research in his arsenal, Bailenson is a visionary vanguard who helps business leaders navigate today’s VR storm while examining where radical new developments in the digital technology will lead us in the next 5, 10 and even 50 years.

A professor in Stanford University’s Department of Communication, he is also the founding director of the school’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL), faculty director of the Digital Learning Forum and a faculty leader at the Center for Longevity. At his Stanford lab, Bailenson showcases the most cutting-edge technology in what is among the most uncharted scientific fields. Recognized as having the best data set in VR behavior change in the academic world, the VHIL focuses on the phenomenon of digital human representation, especially in the context of immersive VR. Users can hear, feel and smell the VR environments they enter, making the medium a complete sensory experience. He also designs and studies collaborative virtual reality systems, which allow physically remote individuals to meet in virtual spaces. He then explores how these systems change the nature of verbal and nonverbal interaction.

Bailenson is the co-author of “Infinite Reality,” (William Morrow, 2011), the seminal book on the psychology of VR, which has had a major impact in many contexts, including corporate strategy and national security, and was quoted by the Supreme Court outlining the effects of immersive media. Building on his earlier research, Bailenson’s  solo book, “Experience on Demand: What Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and What It Can Do” (Norton), in January 2018. Here, he expanded upon the psychology of VR to demonstrate how it can revolutionize a company’s methods and practices, from training employees more effectively by simulating work conditions, to teaching empathy by re-creating the plight of refugees or underprivileged populations. He also reveals how VR will create vast opportunities for all industries – from manufacturing to sports and healthcare – while helping human beings recognize their own humanity and common values.

A gifted and in-high-demand speaker, Bailenson designs presentations that incorporate live VR demonstrations, allowing the audience to directly experience the impact of the revolutionary technology rather than merely understand it in theory. His presentations cover the core principles of VR and its impact on human psychology, productivity and work; how VR technology can be used to influence consumer decisions, from saving for retirement to encouraging healthy eating; and how VR can bring about the revolution in education that we so desperately need, breaking through the constraints of traditional education and customizing curricula.

Bailenson’s influence extends well outside his Stanford lab, particularly as he continues to put his theories on the revolutionary impact of VR and AR technology on business into action. Since 2015, he has served on the advisory board of Samsung, helping the organization develop a technology strategy. He also advises a number of AR -specific companies, such as Avegant and Eyeway Vision. In the public sector, he consults regularly for the Army, Department of Defense, National Resource Council and the National Institute of Health on policy issues surrounding virtual reality. The VHIL is studying the perceptual, social, and cognitive issues behind AR, and has recently co-authored a study on how social interaction with other people functions in AR. Additionally, the lab has been supported by Microsoft to integrate the Hololens into its AR research agenda. Bailenson’s research has already had concrete benefits for companies in multiple industries, from Facebook to the National Football League.  As the technology further develops and spreads, Bailenson’s insights will become increasingly valuable.

Bailenson’s findings have been published in nearly 100 academic papers in the fields of communication, computer science, education, law, political science and psychology. A senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, his work has been consistently funded by the National Science Foundation for more than a decade, and he also receives grants from various Silicon Valley and international corporations. Bailenson earned a Bachelor of Arts cum laude from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in cognitive psychology from Northwestern University. He spent four years at the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior at the University of California, Santa Barbara as a post-doctoral fellow and then as an assistant research professor.

Jeremy Bailenson is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

 

Videos

Media

Virtual Reality Connects Students to Reef Die-Offs

December 5, 2018

Forbes logo

Stanford Scientists Use Virtual Reality To Help Save The Actual World

November 30, 2018

How VR is Changing the Future of E-Commerce, and How Our Brains Process a Virtual Environment (Audio)

August 24, 2018

Researcher Outlines How VR Data Collection Could Be Used Against You

August 6, 2018

How AR and VR are Being Used to Teach SEL

May 29, 2018

How Experiencing Discrimination in VR Can Make You Less Biased (Video)

May 22, 2018

MIT Sloan Management Review logo

The Quest to Create Utterly Normal Virtual Reality Experiences ($)

April 17, 2018

Stanford News logo

A New Report by Stanford Researchers and Common Sense Media Examines the Potential Effect of Virtual Reality on Children

April 4, 2018

Wired logo

3 Rules for Designing Primo Virtual Reality

March 18, 2018

Movers + Shapers: VR's Next Shift

March 13, 2018

Wired logo

How to Create Empathy in VR

February 26, 2018

Q&A with Jeremy Bailenson: Blurring the Line Between Reality and Illusion

February 23, 2018

Jeremy Bailenson, Founder of Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab (Podcast)

February 21. 2018

Future Squared logo

Virtual Reality with Jeremy Bailenson (Audio)

February 16, 2018

Virtual Reality for Social Good, with Jeremy Bailenson

February 13, 2018

recode logo

Can VR Make Us Healthier, Smarter and Less Racist?

February 12, 2018

How Virtual Reality Affects Actual Reality

February 11, 2018

How Virtual Reality Can Make Every Kid a Capable Scientist (Video)

February 7, 2018

Wall Street Journal logo

Review: The Promise of Virtual Reality

February 5, 2018

What If You Didn't Go to Work, But Your Avatar Did? (Video)

February 1, 2018

Stanford VR Lab Founder’s Academic Journey with VR, and New Book ‘Experience on Demand’ (Audio)

January 30, 2018

Virtual Reality’s “Consensual Hallucination”

January 29, 2018

Minds Worth Meeting

The Power of Virtual Reality with Jeremy Bailenson (Audio)

January 16, 2018

Forbes logo

How VR Brings Companies And Customers Together

January 11, 2018

Six Questions For Jeremy Bailenson, The World's Leading Expert In Virtual Reality

January, 2018

CNN logo

The Very Real Health Dangers of Virtual Reality

December 13, 2017

Experience on Demand

November 2017

Walmart is Using Virtual Reality to Train its Employees

June 1, 2017

Wired logo

Can VR Really Make You More Empathetic?

September 1, 2016

Wall Street Journal logo

Jeremy Bailenson Peers Into the Future of Virtual Reality

February 10, 2016

Apple Has Mysteriously Started Sending Employees to a Lab at Stanford

February 2, 2016

Wall Street Journal logo

Concerns About the Impact of Virtual Reality

January 3, 2016

Biography

We are no longer limited by the confines of our own world. Virtual reality (VR) is now mainstream, and its potential ­– as well as that of augmented reality (AR) technology, which allows us to integrate simulations with the “real” world – is vast. Jeremy Bailenson is a pioneering expert in the field and one of the world’s leading experts on VR and AR. With almost two decades of VR research in his arsenal, Bailenson is a visionary vanguard who helps business leaders navigate today’s VR storm while examining where radical new developments in the digital technology will lead us in the next 5, 10 and even 50 years.

A professor in Stanford University’s Department of Communication, he is also the founding director of the school’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL), faculty director of the Digital Learning Forum and a faculty leader at the Center for Longevity. At his Stanford lab, Bailenson showcases the most cutting-edge technology in what is among the most uncharted scientific fields. Recognized as having the best data set in VR behavior change in the academic world, the VHIL focuses on the phenomenon of digital human representation, especially in the context of immersive VR. Users can hear, feel and smell the VR environments they enter, making the medium a complete sensory experience. He also designs and studies collaborative virtual reality systems, which allow physically remote individuals to meet in virtual spaces. He then explores how these systems change the nature of verbal and nonverbal interaction.

Bailenson is the co-author of “Infinite Reality,” (William Morrow, 2011), the seminal book on the psychology of VR, which has had a major impact in many contexts, including corporate strategy and national security, and was quoted by the Supreme Court outlining the effects of immersive media. Building on his earlier research, Bailenson’s  solo book, “Experience on Demand: What Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and What It Can Do” (Norton), in January 2018. Here, he expanded upon the psychology of VR to demonstrate how it can revolutionize a company’s methods and practices, from training employees more effectively by simulating work conditions, to teaching empathy by re-creating the plight of refugees or underprivileged populations. He also reveals how VR will create vast opportunities for all industries – from manufacturing to sports and healthcare – while helping human beings recognize their own humanity and common values.

A gifted and in-high-demand speaker, Bailenson designs presentations that incorporate live VR demonstrations, allowing the audience to directly experience the impact of the revolutionary technology rather than merely understand it in theory. His presentations cover the core principles of VR and its impact on human psychology, productivity and work; how VR technology can be used to influence consumer decisions, from saving for retirement to encouraging healthy eating; and how VR can bring about the revolution in education that we so desperately need, breaking through the constraints of traditional education and customizing curricula.

Bailenson’s influence extends well outside his Stanford lab, particularly as he continues to put his theories on the revolutionary impact of VR and AR technology on business into action. Since 2015, he has served on the advisory board of Samsung, helping the organization develop a technology strategy. He also advises a number of AR -specific companies, such as Avegant and Eyeway Vision. In the public sector, he consults regularly for the Army, Department of Defense, National Resource Council and the National Institute of Health on policy issues surrounding virtual reality. The VHIL is studying the perceptual, social, and cognitive issues behind AR, and has recently co-authored a study on how social interaction with other people functions in AR. Additionally, the lab has been supported by Microsoft to integrate the Hololens into its AR research agenda. Bailenson’s research has already had concrete benefits for companies in multiple industries, from Facebook to the National Football League.  As the technology further develops and spreads, Bailenson’s insights will become increasingly valuable.

Bailenson’s findings have been published in nearly 100 academic papers in the fields of communication, computer science, education, law, political science and psychology. A senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, his work has been consistently funded by the National Science Foundation for more than a decade, and he also receives grants from various Silicon Valley and international corporations. Bailenson earned a Bachelor of Arts cum laude from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in cognitive psychology from Northwestern University. He spent four years at the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior at the University of California, Santa Barbara as a post-doctoral fellow and then as an assistant research professor.

Jeremy Bailenson is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

 

Speech Topics

Experience on Demand: What Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and What It Can Do

Even though virtual reality (VR) has been around for decades, most consider 2014 as the beginning of the consumer revolution of VR. Professor Jeremy Bailenson, a pioneer in the technology behind VR, observed a lot of early optimism that year, with billions of dollars flowing into the industry with the prediction that VR would shortly be in every living room. To the surprise of many, that hasn’t happened, and instead, there are only a handful of early commercial success cases. Most VR applications are still in the novelty phase, or what some forecasters call the “trough of disillusionment.”

For adventurous audiences looking to better understand VR and the opportunities and challenges it presents for their businesses, this talk, based on Bailenson’s new book “Experience on Demand” (January 2018), will focus on practical applications of VR, such as training, healing, and communication, as well as the early VR industry winners and the factors that enabled their success. Through vivid case studies of companies using VR in their business strategy today ­­– such as Walmart which is training more than 100,000 employees with VR, The National Football League which is applying VR to train players, referees, and executives to do media interviews, and Fidelity which is using VR to increase empathy between call center employees and customers – Bailenson reveals how, when coupled with his strategic implementation blueprint, VR can significantly contribute to an organization’s bottom line, solve organizational and customer problems and distinguish a brand as an innovative industry leader.

How VR Builds Empathy in Life and Business

Given recent public events related to racism and sexual harassment, it is critical to rethink how we educate people about diversity and tolerance. VR – which allows people to change their race, gender, and age to experience the world and societal hardships that others encounter – is uniquely suited to foster empathy.  Jeremy Bailenson has studied the efficacy of VR and empathy since 2003, and in the dozens of academic studies he published, he has proven that VR, when utilized properly, can cause shifts in attitudes and behavior in the domains of race, gender, age, and disability. But while VR tends to outperform control conditions such as role playing and reading case studies, it’s not a panacea for prejudice.

In this talk, Bailenson discusses his research findings which have resulted in a set of best practices for using VR for empathy. With illustrative case studies from a number of corporations using VR at scale, Bailenson reveals VR’s ability to improve employee performance and sharpen their communication skills in difficult situations and interpersonal interactions. Questions remain about how to properly induce empathy and how permanent these effects are, and simply putting someone in VR does not magically cause them to overcome bias. While no technology will miraculously eliminate bias, virtual experiences can help people improve how we treat each other.

Opportunities and Challenges of Augmented Reality

Over the past few years, while the world is learning about the uses and hype around VR, Jeremy Bailenson, a VR pioneer, has shifted much of his work into the augmented reality (AR) domain. AR – which overlays digital images on top of what we see in the real world so that digital information appears to be integrated with the physical world – has been around for decades. But due to some recent large investments and a flurry of press, AR has become an incredibly hot tech trend. And while everyone is talking about it, very few people have experienced “high end” AR in which the digital world is effortlessly assimilated into the physical one.

Unlike VR, which has received thorough attention from academics in a wide range of disciplines for almost three decades, AR research ­– in particular research about the use cases and implications of AR use ­– is in its infancy. At the forefront of the technology, Bailenson’s research lab at Stanford studies the perceptual, social, and cognitive issues behind AR. He advises a number of major technology and AR-specific companies, such as Samsung, Avegant, and Eyeway Vision, on developing viable technology strategies that fit their business models. In this talk, he explains AR technology to highlight the opportunities it presents, as well as some of its critical constraints, which guide how companies should think about creating strategies and building products in the AR space.

Media

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Books & Research

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Recommendations

Advance Praise for “Experience on Demand”

“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 & Chief Strategy Officer, Samsung Electronics

“Jeremy did very well and met our expectations. I have to say that our expectations were very high. He was an absolute success and the big talk of the day. Full match.”

—Andre Mlonyeni, Senior Advisor, The Research Council of Norway

“Jeremy’s presentation was great and exceeded our expectation. Our objective of presenting cutting edge research was certainly met.”

— Sandeep Khajuria, Vice President, Mahindra Satyam Futurescapes Conference

“Jeremy Bailenson is a wonderfully engaging visionary whose passion for his cutting-edge scientific research is contagious! His insights into the power and possibilities of virtual environments will change the way you and your leaders look at the world. Jeremy brings an “A” game, and my company’s leaders find him to be an invaluable resource.”  

—Ron Lawrence, Vice President, Organization Development, VF Corporation

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