Augmented Abilities in the Virtual World

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Technology can give you superpowers. Where literature and film often transport you into the imagination and world-building of a pre-defined plot, there exist spaces where you are in control of the narrative and can experiment with abilities far exceeding your capabilities in the physical world. Games, like World of Warcraft or Fortnite and the virtual environments of Minecraft or Second Life, provide a glimpse of what has recently been popularized as the Metaverse. It’s not just gaming for fun, explains Higgins Faculty Fellow and Computer Science Department Chair John Magee. Entering a virtual world allows people to transcend challenges – disabilities, global pandemics, or otherwise – providing human-centered experiences of socialization and exploration. The ability to easily communicate with the outside world seems mundane to many of us, but accessible technologies can make this everyday task feel like a superpower to some. In this talk, Magee examines the great powers and responsibilities endowed by technologies that seek to invent the future.

About the Speaker

John Magee is Associate Professor and Chair of the Computer Science Department at Clark University. His research in Human-Computer Interaction focuses on accessible computing, where he investigates novel user interfaces for people with disabilities and applications that enable communication, entertainment, and education to be more accessible.

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