E22 On the Metaverse, Virtual Pets and Memories of Alhambra (feat. Dr. Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn)

In this episode, host Robby Ratan and Dr. Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn discuss the concept of the Metaverse, the Korean Netflix original “Memories of Alhambra,” and how both relate to her 10+ years of research on virtual/mixed reality (VR/XR.)

Ahn describes her amazing research lab where she can run experiments with 10 simultaneous participants in VR, her NIH-funded research on virtual pets for well-ing, why she thinks VR gaming has not taken off but VR for business and other contexts will and how social relationships between people and artificial agents are totally fine ...no need for moral panic!

Ahn is an associate professor of research methods, user experience research, communication theory and advertising and society in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. She is the director of the university's Games and Virtual Environments Lab where research is conducted on the experience and effects of immersion in virtual and mixed reality environments.

Ahn is also the co-director of the Virtual Environment Room and Gaming Experience Lab. The lab started in 2019 and gives up to 20 students and faculty to engage in the virtual reality world at the same time.