The Machine to Be Another is an open source system of virtual reality that allows everyone to experiment the world from the perspective of another person. Couples of individuals, like for instance Europeans and migrants, can put themselves in the shoes of another person through virtual reality.
This system is developed by BeAnotherLab, a multinational and inter-disciplinary group dedicated to understand, communicate and expand personal experiences. BeAnother focuses its work on understanding the relation between identity and empathy.
“The Machine to Be Another is a tool enabling people to see and feel themselves in the body and in the personal story of another person, who is very different from themselves. The system is based on cognitive science and offers a multisensory experience that allows participants to literally exchange bodies, perspectives and personal thoughts”, reads the website of the European Social Innovation Competition.
The Machine to Be Another is one of the 10 finalists of the European Social Innovation Competition 2016, organised by the European Commission in 2012 in memory of Diogo Vasconcelos.
The aim, for BeAnotherLab, is to use “The Machine” as a tool to help promote empathy among individuals of different social, cultural and ideological backgrounds.
BeAnotherLab also wants that “The Machine” is a tool for public use, available in libraries and community centres. This tool is an opportunity to promote dialogue and break stereotypes in a direct and face-to-face way that helps to challenge the perspectives on identity and division between ourselves and the other.