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Podcast Recap: VR spaces, the metaverse, and building with synthetic data

Paula White-Jennings , Blog abonnieren? Einfach anmelden ...

Virtual technology is continuously improving, making the futuristic dreams of accessing the metaverse a reality. Virtual spaces are educational learning tools used in classrooms, teleportation machines for international travel, rehabilitation centers for mental recovery, and so much more. Users today can step into virtual spaces for all sorts of experiences, and anyone can design and engage with their dream worlds all in the comfort of their home. Additionally, the advent of synthetic data propels virtual world creation while protecting users’ data and privacy.

Tune in to Season 2 of the Pega podcast, Bold stories. Future focused., for unique insights and stories about how emotion and context impact virtual spaces, how synthetic data is protecting consumer privacy, and more.

Episode 4: The evolving role of virtual reality in our current reality featuring Dr. Jacquelyn Morie

In this podcast episode, James Dodkins (CX Evangelist, Pegasystems) talks with Dr. Jacquelyn Morie, (Senior Technical Advisor to the XPRIZE’s ANA Avatar Prize) about the importance of context when creating virtual reality experiences. Entering a virtual world isn’t only about putting on goggles and using your eyes to see something that’s not really there. These experiences rely on emotion, culture representation, and context to successfully engage users.

For example, Dr. Morie talked about a virtual reality project aimed to support and engage combat veterans dealing with PTSD. The initial design for this space was a peaceful lodge where veterans could gather to talk or play games together. However, the veterans didn’t like the space because it lacked context into their actual wants and needs. They wanted more of a combat experience via virtual reality. So, once their input was utilized, the virtual space was more effective and engaging.

“I saw the potential of not only putting you in a space but putting you in a space that had meaning. And that was what I thought was missing.”

Dr. Jacquelyn Morie Senior Technical Adviso, XPRIZE’s ANA Avatar Prize

Tune in to hear more about virtual reality use cases with Dr. Jacquelyn Morie

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OCTOBER 5, 2021 | 24 MINS

Ep. 4: The evolving role of virtual reality in our current reality ft. Dr. Jacquelyn Morie

The world of virtual reality is leading us toward more meaningful interactions. Virtual reality pioneer and sculptor, Dr. Jacquelyn Morie, shares how these new, immersive environments have the power to help people build emotional connections, heal, and more.

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Episode 7: Virtual spaces and how they transform the way we think featuring Kyle Rand and Dr. Skip Rizzo

Kyle Rand (Co-founder and CEO at Rendever) utilizes virtual reality technology to support and engage elderly residents in assisted living homes. The older population suffers from isolation because they aren’t physically able to move around. However, Kyle’s team at Rendever, enables elderly populations to travel around the world, speak with long-distance family members, and revisit childhood homes. As a result of these experiences, many elderly residents have regained memories and felt pure joy without any physical exertion.

“So we looked at this technology as this incredible tool that really allows people to connect with the world outside of the four walls that they’re confined within.”

Kyle Rand Co-founder and CEO, Rendever

Dr. Skip Rizzo (Clinical Psychologist and Director of Medical VR at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies) also shares how he sees virtual reality technology as a solution and support system for psychological recovery use cases. Dr. Rizzo talks about how virtual reality can help veterans with PTSD process their traumatic experiences and how it can be applied to others with traumatic experiences.

“…the idea of once I have PTSD, I’ve got it for life. I don’t agree with that. I think it’s something that can be treated with a number of evidence-based approaches of which I know think VR sits squarely in that mix.”

Dr. Skip Rizzo Clinical Psychologist and Director of Medical VR, the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies

Listen to the full podcast episode to learn more about how virtual reality can improve cognitive function, aid in trauma recovery, and more:

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OCTOBER 26, 2021 | 25 mins

Ep. 7: Virtual spaces and how they transform the way we think ft. Kyle Rand and Dr. Skip Rizzo

Distance, isolation, and trauma are all too real for many, especially over the last year and a half. Kyle Rand, co-founder and CEO at Rendever, and psychologist, Dr. Skip Rizzo, are here to talk about their vision for changing how we can move forward through connections – with the limitless possibilities of VR.

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Episode 8: Radical change through virtual spaces featuring Jessica Ochoa Hendrix, Dr. Jacquelyn Morie, and Dr. Skip Rizzo

Jessica Ochoa Hendrix (CEO, Killer Snails) is focused on immersive educational VR in the classroom. Her company, Killer Snails, built a product called BioDive that empowers students to become scientists via hands-on virtual learning. This immersive approach to learning keeps students engaged and ensures that they retain what they’ve learned.

“It’s not just a matter of remembering facts. It’s actually being a scientist. It’s about being curious and asking questions and taking risks on trying to find answers.”

Jessica Ochoa Hendrix CEO, Killer Snails

Dr. Jacquelyn Morie (Senior Technical Advisor to the XPRIZE’s ANA Avatar Prize) also talks about how hands-on learning and retention are important benefits provided by VR. There’s a lot of potential in virtual learning and that success also depends on being able to support teachers and schools to provide these resources. Technology is always changing which makes it challenging for schools to keep up with the latest tools and software versions. However, as VR technology grows, so does awareness and support.

“…VR speaks to our embodied self and we learn things through embodying it. We learn things by doing, we learn things by physically going and digging in the sane or building something with blocks.”

Dr. Jacquelyn Morie Senior Technical Advisor, XPRIZE’s ANA Avatar Prize

Dr. Skip Rizzo (Clinical Psychologist and Director of Medical VR at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies) brings up another important aspect of VR that’s discussed in this episode --- inclusion and diversity. VR can take the phrase “walking a mile in their shoes” to a completely new level by letting people immerse themselves in other experiences as a way to educate, promote discussion, and increase empathy.

“…I think VR is going to be a powerful force in helping change behavior in a pro-social way in these areas to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Dr. Skip Rizzo Clinical Psychologist and Director of Medical VR, the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies

Learn more about virtual reality spaces with these experts:

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NOVEMBER 2, 2021 | 27 MINS

Ep. 8: Radical change through virtual spaces ft. Jessica Ochoa Hendrix, Dr. Jacquelyn Morie, and Dr. Skip Rizzo

What if you could test run your dream job? Students are now being given that opportunity with virtual spaces. Listen as Jessica Ochoa Hendrix, co-founder and CEO of Killer Snails, along with Dr. Jacquelyn Morie and Dr. Skip Rizzo chat about how immersive learning is the future of education.

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Episode 11: How can synthetic data change the world? featuring Phil Bayer, Beatrice Milik, Emna Amor, and Peter van der Putten

Synthetic data provides a different way to build virtual reality experiences. Synthetic data is artificially created and has the same statistical properties of original data. Why take the time to generate synthetic data? Philip Bayer (User Experience Engineer, Google) talks about how it solves a lot of issues around data privacy and bias because those issues simply don’t exist. As a result, VR projects can be built quicker and with less bias because humans aren’t putting their own biases into their models and this process saves on time and resources.

“You will train your machine learning models to have that same bias. With synthetic data, you can create worlds that you’re hoping for or that you’re envisioning.”

Philip Bayer User Experience Engineer, Google

Beatrice Milik (Sales Engineer, Statics) talks about how original data can be traced back to their source even when they claim to be anonymous and secure. This break in trust makes it difficult for people to build and experience VR for its positive benefits. With synthetic data, there is no risk of data leaks because the data doesn’t come from anyone.

“…We basically, as consumers or customers of any type, have no privacy at all. So, of course I wanted to join this mission to build a technology that would eventually give us what is ours back.”

Beatrice Milik Sales Engineer, Statice

If you want your VR to accurately represent the real world, you need to do a ton of research and collect (then clean) a ton of data. Emna Amor (Sr. Machine Learning Engineer, Statice) talks about how time-consuming this can be and how it takes away from actually testing and launching VR solutions. Synthetic data enables people to use valuable time in testing and deployment.

“Imagine you want to build autonomous cars and you need to ride in every corner of the world, try to find every combination of possible scenarios in the real world. […] It would take maybe ages, too much time to collect this data…”

Emna Amor Sr. Machine Learning Engineer, Statice

And, whether VR is built with real data or synthetic data, the goal is to recreate our real world in a digital format. However, Peter van der Putten (Director for AI Solutions, Pegasystems) shares that there is such a thing as creating a virtual world that’s too perfect. There’s a graininess to the real world that VR doesn’t always capture. The real world has unpredictable weather conditions that impact visibility and that’s an imperfection that VR has yet to perfect.

“There’s more and more research going into how we can make VR more like the real world […] the issue is that a lot of VR is hyper-realistic.”

Peter van der Putten Director for AI Solutions, Pegasystems

Check out the full episode to learn more about synthetic data in VR:

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NOVEMBER 30, 2021 | 22 MINS

Ep. 11: How can synthetic data change the world? ft. Phil Bayer, Beatrice Milik, Emna Amor, and Peter van der Putten

As AI becomes more capable, it must collect more data to adapt better to our world. By creating it artificially (and not at the expense of our privacy), our future becomes smarter that much faster. Listen to see how our guests have seen big results with synthetic data.

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Check out the entire podcast series to hear more stories from industry experts and Pega team members!

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A PODCAST POWERED BY PEGA

Bold stories. Future focused.

When business changes, it challenges us – and necessarily so. Listen in as our hosts uncover what success looks like when innovative minds rise to new challenges and excel in the face of change.

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Thema: Digitale Transformation

Über die Verfasserin

Paula White-Jennings, Brand Marketing Manager at Pega, is an experienced Digital Producer and Webinar Expert with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing and advertising industry.

jacki-morie-headshot
Jacki Morie Senior Technical Advisor to the XPRIZE’s ANA Avatar Prize

Jacquelyn Morie’s 30 years of researching & creating meaningful VR experiences includes multi-sensory techniques for VR that can predictably elicit emotional responses from participants. Her company All These Worlds, LLC is active in social VR, Mindfulness, storytelling & stress relief applications. In 2016 she concluded a project for NASA called ANSIBLE, a full virtual world ecosystem designed to provide psychological benefits for future astronauts who will undertake extremely long isolated missions to Mars. It was tested in the HISEAS analog facility in Hawaii, with a team of 6 scientists sequestered for a year to simulate the conditions of isolation on Mars, including long communications delays. She also investigates the use of personal avatars for how they affect our human selves. She invented a novel scent release device RemniScent, to aid in the evocative power of VR experiences.

Dr. Morie has advanced degrees in both Fine Art and Computer Science. Her career also spans exceptional accomplishments in education, developing digital media programs at the Ringling College of Art and Design, the University of Central Florida, the Walt Disney Animation Studios, VIFX, Blue Sky and Rhythm and Hues, and Otis College of Art and Design. She was instrumental in the creation of the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), where she served as a Senior Researcher for 14 years.

She is currently on the board of directors of several future-oriented immersive media companies, and is also a senior technical advisor to the XPRIZE’s ANA Avatar Prize, which challenges teams to create a robotic avatar people can inhabit from a distance. Her new 22-chapter book, co-edited with Kate McCallum, The Handbook of Research on the Global Impacts and Roles of Immersive Media, was published by IGI Global in early 2020.

Kyle Rand Headshot
Kyle Rand Co-founder and CEO at Rendever

Seeing the negative effects of social isolation take a toll on his own grandmother, Kyle Rand devoted his studies to cognitive decline in the aging population. He researched neuroprosthetics at Duke University, studying the link between functional structural changes in the brain that occur with age and the associated deficits in economic decision-making skills. This propelled Rand to create a solution to serve the older adult population, and so Rendever was born. Kyle Rand is now the CoFounder & CEO of - a virtual reality platform aimed to improve the aging process by bringing the outside world to seniors. The platform is used to combat the effects of social isolation and address mental health, memory care, continued education, and physical health.

Albert “Skip” Rizzo
Albert “Skip” Rizzo, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist and Director of Medical VR at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies

Skip Rizzo is a clinical psychologist and Director of Medical VR at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies. He is also a Research Professor with the USC Dept. of Psychiatry and School of Gerontology. Over the last 25 years, Skip has conducted research on the design, development and evaluation of Virtual Reality systems targeting the areas of clinical assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation across the domains of psychological, cognitive and motor functioning in both healthy and clinical populations. This work has focused on PTSD, TBI, Autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and other clinical conditions. In spite of the diversity of these clinical R&D areas, the common thread that drives all of his work with digital technologies involves the study of how Virtual Reality simulations can be usefully applied to human healthcare beyond what’s possible with traditional 20th Century methods. To view some videos on his work, go to: https://www.youtube.com/user/AlbertSkipRizzo/videos

jessica-ochoa-hendrix
Jessica Ochoa Hendrix CEO of Killer Snails

Jessica Ochoa Hendrix, CEO of Killer Snails, has worked in K-16 education since 2003. Ochoa Hendrix was awarded the 2019 TED Residency, an in-house incubator within TED for breakthrough ideas and gave a TED talk on incorporating VR into the classroom. Ochoa Hendrix serves as the Principal Investigator for Small Business Innovation Research Grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Institute of Educational Sciences. Prior to co-founding Killer Snails, she most recently worked as an educational consultant whose clients included Relay Graduate School of Education and the Charter Network Accelerator. Previously, she worked for Uncommon Schools as the Director of Organizational Learning as the network grew from 16 to 32 schools. Ms. Ochoa Hendrix received her MBA with a concentration in Social Enterprise from Columbia Business School and was awarded the prestigious Board of Overseers Fellowship and the Nathan Gantcher Prize for Social Enterprise. Prior to business school, she worked in marketing for the Harvard Business Review and The Economist and taught for four years for The Princeton Review. She holds a BA from the University of Texas at Austin, is a proud alumna of Project Entrepreneur and serves as a member of the World Economic Forum's Expert Network in Future of Education, Gender and Work, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Entrepreneurship.

jacki-morie-headshot
Dr. Jacquelyn Morie Senior Technical Advisor to XPRIZE’s ANA Avatar Prize

Jacquelyn Morie’s 30 years of researching & creating meaningful VR experiences includes multi-sensory techniques for VR that can predictably elicit emotional responses from participants. Her company All These Worlds, LLC is active in social VR, Mindfulness, storytelling & stress relief applications. In 2016 she concluded a project for NASA called ANSIBLE, a full virtual world ecosystem designed to provide psychological benefits for future astronauts who will undertake extremely long isolated missions to Mars. It was tested in the HISEAS analog facility in Hawaii, with a team of 6 scientists sequestered for a year to simulate the conditions of isolation on Mars, including long communications delays. She also investigates the use of personal avatars for how they affect our human selves. She invented a novel scent release device RemniScent, to aid in the evocative power of VR experiences.

Dr. Morie has advanced degrees in both Fine Art and Computer Science. Her career also spans exceptional accomplishments in education, developing digital media programs at the Ringling College of Art and Design, the University of Central Florida, the Walt Disney Animation Studios, VIFX, Blue Sky and Rhythm and Hues, and Otis College of Art and Design. She was instrumental in the creation of the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), where she served as a Senior Researcher for 14 years.

She is currently on the board of directors of several future-oriented immersive media companies, and is also a senior technical advisor to the XPRIZE’s ANA Avatar Prize, which challenges teams to create a robotic avatar people can inhabit from a distance. Her new 22-chapter book, co-edited with Kate McCallum, The Handbook of Research on the Global Impacts and Roles of Immersive Media, was published by IGI Global in early 2020.

Albert “Skip” Rizzo
Albert “Skip” Rizzo, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist and Director of Medical VR at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies

Skip Rizzo is a clinical psychologist and Director of Medical VR at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies. He is also a Research Professor with the USC Dept. of Psychiatry and School of Gerontology. Over the last 25 years, Skip has conducted research on the design, development and evaluation of Virtual Reality systems targeting the areas of clinical assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation across the domains of psychological, cognitive and motor functioning in both healthy and clinical populations. This work has focused on PTSD, TBI, Autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and other clinical conditions. In spite of the diversity of these clinical R&D areas, the common thread that drives all of his work with digital technologies involves the study of how Virtual Reality simulations can be usefully applied to human healthcare beyond what’s possible with traditional 20th Century methods. To view some videos on his work, go to: https://www.youtube.com/user/AlbertSkipRizzo/videos

Philip Bayer
Philip Bayer User Experience Engineer at Google

Philip Bayer is a User Experience Engineer at Google, working in artificial intelligence research. He studied computer science and industrial design at Brown University and The Rhode Island School of Design. Philip leverages his creative background to rapidly prototype innovative solutions to human-centered problems, then uses his technical background to scale those solutions up to address broader challenges. He has worked extensively on Google's Project Guideline, a project that enables visually impaired runners to run unassisted. He developed software to create synthetic data for the project, this enables the team to train computer vision models on a world that doesn't exist yet.

Beatrice Milik
Beatrice Milik Sales Engineer, Statice

After spending two years in the business development team of Statice, where she engaged with enterprises stakeholders to learn about their data challenges, Beatrice Milik moved to a Sales Engineer role. She combines hands-on technical knowledge with a positive commercial attitude. Before joining Statice, Beatrice worked as a Data Analyst at HMGU Munich. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Biomedical Engineering, and an insatiable curiosity for data science.

Emna Amor
Emna Amor Machine Learning Engineer with a Computer Science Engineering degree

Emna Amor is a Machine Learning Engineer with a computer science engineering degree. She handles most deep learning matters at the company. Before Statice, she worked on sequential data like videos, unstructured and structured datasets at Daimler Mobility and Kodak One. Emna enjoys being part of the full solution process, supporting data architecture and building ready to production pipelines using the newest technologies.

Peter van der Putten
Peter van der Putten Director for AI Solutions at Pega

Peter van der Putten is the Director for AI Solutions at Pega. He works with global brands to transform their business through the responsible use of artificial intelligence. This may span many areas of their business, helping them to engage 1:1 with their customers to improve customer value and build trusted relationships; by using AI to anticipate and proactively resolve service issues; and by inserting intelligence into processes to maximize efficiency and business outcomes. He also looks after Pega’s strategy to pervasively use actionable, always on AI across all its products and go to markets, and ensuring AI is used in a trustworthy, responsible and ethical manner.

Van der Putten is also an assistant professor at Leiden University, the Netherlands, where he teaches in the AI and Media Technology programs. In his research he goes beyond artificial intelligence into artificial ‘x’, and studies intelligence, creativity, emotions, relationships, religion and other things that make us human through artificial creatures. He also speculates about the future with humans, technology and nature. He holds a PhD in AI from Leiden University and a MSc in AI from Utrecht University, the Netherlands.