The challenge: Ethics of VR and AR in the media | Industry trends




Widely recognized as one of the industry’s most celebrated trailblazers and one of the most influential pioneers in virtual and augmented reality and immersive technologies and journalism, De la Peña addressed a packed IBC 2022 Keynote hall.

Nonny de la Peña, journalist, filmmaker, Virtual & Augmented Reality (VR/AR) pioneer and founder, Emblematic Group

De la Peña spoke about her hopes for the future of VR/AR in terms of increased diversity in algorithm creation, the future of filmmaking, and how AR and the metaverse can bring people together in more meaningful and impactful ways and transform digital spaces. She also sounded a note of caution regarding the key challenges facing the media and entertainment community as we move into an AR-focused future. Her presentation raised concerns about the design of algorithms – and why the way we design them now will affect the diversity of them in the years to come.

“Even if this AI is going to grow, it’s up to us right now to think about what are the inputs to this? You know, the algorithms of the future.”

She spoke at length about how film and television can learn from the gaming industry, using the example of Unity’s recent acquisition of “a lot of digital and visuals — they really want to have a huge presence in the future of entertainment.”

She advised that film and production companies should “probably think about who on your team really understands game engines and how you start to model things out,” to lower operating costs on commercial sets and locations. She emphasized the importance of narrative-driven content, noting that “everyone should be paying attention to VR production”.


De la Peña was bullish about blockchain, but from the perspective of identity protection: “How do we know as a journalist that a story is accurate, that it’s not a fake character, and yet protect individuals who might reveal information that is very dangerous. If you have communities around blockchain that provide a way to protect identity, but they still have a way to trace the provenance of information. So I think blockchain is extraordinarily powerful.”

“I’m a real fan of interoperability – your material needs to be able to go whatever Metaverse you want to occupy, whether it’s your spatial business meeting or your playful VR chat area, you need to be able to to move through them [seamlessly]. I mean, that’s what we did with the web, right? That’s why the web works by the way, because it has some [agreed] standards. We see it [in VR] now, and there is no reason why we should not think about [the ethics] right now”, she concluded.

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