The goal of this article is to present a first list of ethical concerns that may arise from research and personal use of virtual reality (VR) and related technology, and to offer concrete recommendations for minimizing those risks. Many of the recommendations call for focused research initiatives. In the first part of the article, we discuss the relevant evidence from psychology that motivates our concerns. In section 1.1, we cover some of the main results suggesting that one’s environment can influence one’s psychological states, as well as recent work on inducing illusions of embodiment. Then, in section 1.2, we go on to discuss recent evidence indicating that immersion in VR can have psychological effects that last after leaving the virtual environment. In the second part of the article we turn to the risks and recommendations. We begin, in section 2.1, with the research ethics of VR, covering six main topics: the limits of experimental environments, informed consent, clinical risks, dual-use, online research, and a general point about the limitations of a code of conduct for research. Then, in section 2.2, we turn to the risks of VR for the general public, covering four main topics: long-term immersion, neglect of the social and physical environment, risky content, and privacy. We offer concrete recommendations for each of these ten topics, summarized in Table 1.
Madary, M.; Metzinger, T.K. (2016) “Real Virtuality: A Code of Ethical Conduct. Recommendations for Good Scientific Practice and the Consumers of VR-Technology”. In: Frontiers in Robotics and AI Vol 3 DOI 10.3389/frobt.2016.00003
Categories: Journal Article