With our exploration of the history of VR in class, came very interesting stories. One that specifically caught my attention was the early sexual assault case that was mentioned, which helped the foundation of certain rules and guidelines in the virtual world.
This got me thinking; with VR growing more and more essential in many industries in society (space science, medicine, business etc.) it is only a matter of time before we see its use in the judicial sector. In fact, “Seeing VR in the courts is set to ‘rapidly’ change in the next few years according to FBI agents and VR specialists”, meaning we might see a redefinition to what Virtual Reality really means in the near future.
With VR still remaining a somewhat expensive technology to implement, law enforcement has made little effort to adapt to the usage of it. However, with prices going down, there is a chance that law enforcement will begin to make heavy use of this technology for the purpose of training, crime scene investigation, collecting evidence and so forth. With the possibility to visualise scenarios based on testimonies, witnesses and other factors, I believe that the justice system will be heavily improved and provide more accurate convictions (provided that the technology is used objectively for a simple legal purpose; to convict the right people for the right reasons.)
Obviously there are limitations to this as well. With VR being such a powerful tool I’m certain it will be a victim of ethical misuse when put into the wrong hands. With countless scandals of surveillance being exposed in recent times, I’m sure that agencies with the ability to hide their misuse could also be threatening to any human. As we saw in Netflix’s Making a Murderer, the justice system has profound flaws that could certainly be enhanced if the system was given access to a whole new kind of technology. This is just speculation, nonetheless, and it is evident that VR would also bring huge benefits to the study of crime.
All in all, I believe the idea of VR entering the courtroom is an interesting one, but there are several factors that are arbitrary which will have to be explored to be able to determine how significant they are. With humans being creatures of emotion, will reliving the sins we commit be a healthy thing for society, or will it deepen the era of depression the population has been led into?
Armstrong, Paul. “Think You Could Convict A Criminal Using Virtual Reality? You Might Soon.” Forbes. January 03, 2018. Accessed November 19, 2018.
Mertens, Ralf, and John JB Allen. “The role of psychophysiology in forensic assessments: Deception detection, ERPs, and virtual reality mock crime scenarios.” Psychophysiology 45.2 (2008): 286-298.