Chris Milk in his TED talk (2015) described VR an “Ultimate “Empathy Machine”. It seems to me that the whole credit of an emotional experience that a medium could convey is merely given to the technology by this definition. Roger Ebert, American film critique gives a fairer definition about the film [and not cinema] when he explains it as a “machine that generates empathy”. Indeed, many films throughout the history of cinema have promoted empathy in different levels, but we never account the cinematic apparatus for being an ultimate reason. Father and Daughter (2000) by Michaël Dudok de Wit is still very strong in provoking empathy, despite the outdated technology behind it.
Empathy Machine is one of the series of concepts I worked on around criticizing this usual rhetoric of tech giants: “machines: ultimate saviors of humanity”. I tried to touch upon the fact that the “surveillance machine” or “modern slavery machine” might portray a more accurate image of a machine which is apparently serving the privacy trading industries much grater than inspiring any empathy.