tv Charlie Rose PBS August 15, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this evening with scott anderson whose article in this weekend's "new york times" magazine is called "fractured lands: how the arab world came apart." >> what you had throughout the middle east was for decades, really going back in some ways to world war i, this is the colonial wars drawn after world war i, you had an entire region that really existed in a political stagnation, a real stasis. what you had in one country after another were long-term dictators. muammar gadhafi was in power 42 years. i think it's very hard to say what triggered the arab spring but certainly huge influence was the american invasion of iraq in 2003. that represented a scrambling to have the chess board.
hussein khairan wasaddam husseir almost as long as gadhafi. the american invasion in iraq brought about what was possible in the region. could the regimes pass and what would take their place. >> rose: we conclude with a conversation about virtual reality in jeremy bailenson's stanford virtual human interaction lab. >> people will be able to do anything you can fathom, experience something wonderful, horrible at the touch of a button and the brain is going to treat that as if it were a real experience. in other words, humans have been around for a very long time. we have not yet evolved, the brain hasn't, to really understand the difference between a compelling virtual reality experience and an actual one. >> rose: and how is it we can do this? >> from a technological standpoint, we've likely seen a
tipple point in the last year or two years so for the first time ever we've had a very large industry pouring in billions of dollars with hundreds and hundreds of engineers and a problem that was very difficult to do before, for example tracking your body movements or having really light visual displays, those are getting solved now that there is engineering behind it. >> rose: scott anderson and jeremy bailenson when we continue. >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose.
>> rose: scott anderson is here, a novelist and war correspondent covering the meerld. he has a five-part special feature in the upcoming special issue of the "new york times" magazine called "fractured lands: how the arab world came apart." in it he traces the roots of the arab spring and the roots of the current crisis in the middle east. he does it by looking at the lives of six people. it is a fascinating look into the region's history, the forces of tribalism and the global implications of an arab world in revolt. i am pleased to have him at this table. welcome. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: congratulations on a mammoth undertaking. >> thank you very much. >> rose: knowing your background, knowing what has been sort of the focus of your life, why this now? >> well, i have been reporting from the middle east for about 25 years, and i feel that we've reached a real crisis throughout the region now, the arab spring
revolutions have turned into something else. i feel this is a pivotal moment to look at what's happening throughout the region. >> rose: let's look at exactly what happened. what caused the arab spring to happen? >> what you had throughout the middle east was, for decades, really going back in some ways to world war i, this is a colonial wars drawn after world war i, you had an entire region that really existed in kind of political stagnation, a real stasis, and what you had in one country after another were these long-term dictators. muammar gadhafi had been in how we are for 42 years. it's very hard to say what actually triggered the arab spring but certainly huge influence was the american invasion of iraq in 2003, that represented a scrambling of the chess board. saddam hussein had been in power for almost as long as muammar gadhafi and for the first time in good ways and bad, the
american invasion of iraq brought in what was possible throughout the region. could these totalitarian regimes collapse and what would take their place. >> rose: we still don't know the answer to that question, do we? >> i think we're starting to in a lot of places and it's not a good answer. >> rose: what is the answer, then? take libya, gadhafi. you have a bunch of tribes, a government they're trying to support but we're not shiewmplet what is going to be demanded to create and maintain stability? we're now engaged in a battle against i.s.i.s. in libya. >> right. i think libya is a great example of what happened. libya is one of the so-called artificial states created along with iraq and syria. >> rose: when we say who created them, clearly it was the brits and the french. >> and in libya's case the italians.
>> rose: right. so they joined together these lands that under the ottomans were largely autonomous and had little to do with each other. they joined together, if you will, the artificial states and, for a long time until the end of world war ii, things kind of went along. they had these western allied monarchs. then around the late 1940s, early '50s, you started seeing these totalitarian regimes, the dictators come into party, the baathist party in syria and iraq and muammar gadhafi coming in, in libya. what the strong were trying to do looking out for their own power was create a national identity in places that didn't have a strong one to begin with. egypt is a separate thing. they go back a millennium. strong dictators in power, when
they get overthrown, what takes their place. >> rose: tom freedman said is saddam hussein the way he is because the way he is or vice versa. >> it becomes a chicken or egg question. >> rose: right. go ahead. >> i think when they're toppled and, again, you know, the first example of this was the american invasion of iraq in 2003. what takes their place? there is not a democratic election, certainly not in iraq, you may have rubber stamped parliaments in some places, but what filled the void was a reversion to cliebl, tribal and sectarian allegiance. i think when the u.s. went into iraq they had no idea what they were walking into and there would be a splintering along those lines. >> rose: did they even raise the question? >> that's a good question. the few people who yeah pneusomething about iraq at the time i think they raised the
issue and were brushed to the side and in some cases were unpatriotic for suggesting this was going to be anything other than a cakewalk. >> rose: dick cheney and others said this is what they have been waiting for, waiting for us to come in and have a dimock si and throw out all these dictators with little understanding of -- >> the lesson americans never learn is doesn't matter how tyrannical a dictator is, people in general do not like to be invaded. >> rose: they like to decide. that's right. >> rose: so let's go through all of them. ttunisia created a spark. >> a young fruit seller harassed by the government in a town in tunisia and he sit himself on
fire and died from it. in earlyo eleven set off protests that led to the overthrow of the president of tunisia who had been in power 23 years. then spread to egypt, to libya, syria. it spread throughout the region. yemen, it spread very quickly. and today, i would say the one bright spot in the entire region if you look at a happy ending is ttunisia. it's a fragile coalition government but they seem to have consolidated it for the time being. >> rose: the question, too, what is the possibility of secularism and the impact of a sunni split, cuff an islamic democracy, all these are part of the questions. are there answers or is it too early to tell? >> it's probably too early to tell. i think the tunisias have been very smart about this.
i think you also have to start looking at it country by country. yes, there are certain currents that are common. i can look at libya and syria and iraq and see a lot of commonality leading up to the arab spring in the nature of the dictatorships that ruled for decades prior. but i think in other places, it's very hard to say a catch-all thing of where it's headed. to my mind -- i was initially very optimistic about the arab spring. i thought for the first time people are channeling their rage against dictators where it always should have been directed, and for me, personally, the moment where i really saw the arab spring collectively going south was, two years after the overthrow of mubarak, you had the first
democratically elected president in morsi from the muslim brotherhood. morsi made mistakes but he had been democratically elected. and two years on you had people taking to the streets, some of the same people who took to the streets to overthrow mubarak, now you have them demanding the overthrow of muhamad morsi. it's what they learned in two years. you're asking the government to overthrow democratic. that was the lesson if you see the world through western eyes you're headed for disappointment. >> rose: how do you see it through arab eyes? >> it's impossible, i'm a werner. >> rose: so am i, but -- you can't see through their eyes but you can ask what their eyes see. >> yes, for instance, in this article my main egyptian subject was a woman who had been a
political dissident going back to the 1970s, and she saw, when mubarak was overthrown, and she saw the paralysis, the kind of rubber stamped legitimate political parties that they were not stepping forward to seize power and consolidate the democracy. they were waiting for big brother to tell them what to do, and big brother in egypt has always been the military. so even immediately after the square and mubarak was overthrown, she saw the warning signs coming of what was going to happen in egypt. >> rose: because the military stepped in. >> yes. >> rose: and appointed by the president. >> by muhamad morsi. there was an interim period until the elections, and morsi came in, but his election was
making sisi his administrator. >> rose: what do you think will happen. >> i think it's headed for problems. it's so authoritarian. there are far more political prisoners in egypt than under mubarak or anwar sadat. economically the country is really in a shambles. talking about layla swaif, her view is perhaps they will put sisi aside and bring in someone more friendly but she sees mass protest and more violent and the tacker square in 2011. >> rose: who are your eyes in libya? >> an amazing young man from misratah, a coastal city about
100 miles from tripoli, and he had an amazing story. he was an air force cadet in quadafi air force when úhe revolution started in libya. he and his cadets were kept in quarantine three months. while the country was being torn apart and the west was doing airstrikes, he had no idea what was happening in his country, and all he had been hearing was there the regime that it's western -- you know, western-paid mercenaries and criminals who are doing this. so after three months, gadhafi's military intelligence came to him and said we need you to do a special patriotic mission. we want you to go back to your home down of mis -- town and idy who the rebel leaders are so we can kill them. he did this only to discover
everybody was the rebels, everything he was told three months was a live and his own family was with the rebellion. he tid an amazing sting against the regime spy master he was supposed to work with and joined the rebels. today, he's just trying to pick up the pieces of his life. libya's headed for -- as bad as the situation is right now politically or militarily in libya, economically it's about to hit a wall. it's going to run out of money in probably about a year from now. >> rose: has a lot of oil? quo, but their whole -- yeah, but all their hard currency reserves, they're burning through. so prediction is by 2017 they will run out of money. that's been the band-aid that kept everything going. everybody's on the government payroll including the militias in libya.
so as long as everybody is getting money from the government, it's kept a lid on the place and that will end soon. >> rose: what are the chances the tribes coming together toght in a strong, central government? >> i think no. i think once a place like libya tears apart -- and libya is a little different -- okay, it doesn't have the secretary issue. it's all sunni. you don't have she. i can't but what you do have is centuries of these different cities, almost existing as city states, going back to the greek and roman times. so libya is this interesting case in that it was always a bit fractious, even under gadhafi's time. he would say i need people from mise ratty and benghazi. >> rose: what's intriguing is
the people who fueled -- the people who were on the street were not the muslim brotherhood. >> right. >> rose: they grafted on. they did not leave it. same thing true in tunisia. >> right. > right.>> rose: same thing trun other parts. >> syria, the urban elites. >> rose: formed the original rebel core, and had access to social media and used that to enhance their ranks and their strengths. >> right, something you see replicated throughout the region. >> rose: and this was something reported and i didn't know about it until 20 minutes before the show -- (laughter)
-- but what has been the impact of those young people there who, because of media, realize they were living in a plates which was a dictatorship or not offering educational opportunities, they were young and simply were not in a good place in comparison to the rest of the world. >> when you say what caused the arab spring, of course, that was a huge factor of the explosion of social media and the fact that dictators with with maybe the exception of north korea, you can't bottle up your people anymore. it's interesting, a college student from syria, very westernized, knew a lot of things about the outside world and, yet, under the outside regime, he and his father never had a political discussion. so what did your father think of the outside regime?
he said, i don't know, we never talked about it. he said the fear of the secret police was so pervasive that he said, you know, maybe the most you would ever criticize the government -- and this is at a dinner table, inside a family -- you might criticize the corrupt traffic policeman at the corner. you would never criticize the regime. of course this also played into when the places exposed. egypt was never as repressive as iraq or syria. when all of a sudden the strong man is in trouble or gets overthrown, because people haven't been talking there is no consensus of what the do next. >> rose: there was a sort of unspoken bargain where the dictators said w we'll take care of the government, the power, but we'll make sure that you're okay. >> right. and i think -- >> rose: and you can go about
your life and that will be fine. >> and that compact is starting to fall apart. >> rose: yeah. as you say, with social media, everybody i talked to, egyptians were aware of what happened in tunisia, libyans were aware of what happened in egypt, syrians were aware of what happened in libya. so it had this cascading effect in 2011 because you can't keep that information off limits anymore. >> rose: what do you think's going to happen in syria? >> nothing good. i sometimes think of syria the way i thought about lib nonfor a long time. it's so balkanized now internally but you have these outside players, how do you ever decouple all the different forces that have a vested interest in the status quo or keeping the country in chaos?
i have a really hard time seeing area, a, exist as an intact nation at the end of this, but i don't see the fighting ending in probably a decade. i just think -- >> rose: a decade! yeah, i just think this goes on and on. >> rose: a kind of deadlock. yeah. >> rose: and each being in a sense of assad regime depending on the russians and the iranians and hezbollah to a degree. >> right. >> rose: and the rebels increasingly depend on the united states, saudi arabia. >> right. what you have now is a coalition against i.s.i.s. for the first time, it appears you have a cohesive coalition that's really working against i.s.i.s. at the same time, you know, if you look at one player in that whole coalition, turkey, i mean, turkey, so much of the power that i.s.i.s. enjoys today is a result of turkey, in my opinion
and a lot of people's opinion, keeping a deliberately porous border to allow i.s.i.s. people to come and go because they have other geopolitical kerns, the kurds. you look at the americans. the americans need the turks in other ways. so what you do about the border policy they have maintained. so you have these hidden agendas, and even in what looks to be a fairly overt and obvious coalition against i.s.i.s. >> and then what you see today is the russians now coming back. >> right. coming back. erdogan, and because of all the problems he's having, innercreesing authoritarianism on his part, putting down a coup, and his new best friend is vladimir putin. >> i know. who would have thought. >> rose: amazing, you see people who in some cases the iranians and the americans are
on the same side in iraq. >> that's right. >> rose: and the shia government is on their side. on the other hand, some of the tribal groups because they're sunni have been, in the past, supporting i.s.i.s. because they had been so badly treated by a shia government of iraq backed by -- >> that's right. >> rose: and, so, you know, there are these shifting -- >> and it's just, you know -- to go on what you're saying about iraq, one of my subjects is an iraqi kurd, a doctor who is on permanent leave from the hospital he works at to hunt i.s.i.s. and his ultimate goal is he wants kurdistan free of arabs. he wants an all kurdish nation. >> rose: right. and another subject is a guy who was with i.s.i.s., a sunni iraqi who i interviewed in a secret prison being held by the kurds. and just to get to the
complexity of this, i asked the captors, i said, well, why haven't you handed him back to the iraqis? he committed his crimes in iraq. he said, we don't trust the iraqis. if we send i.s.i.s. guys to iraq, either they kill them outright, they don't get information, or if they're high enough up in i.s.i.s., they can arrange a bribe. so you think of two people who should be, you know, absolute pros -- >> rose: people who are supportive of i.s.i.s. will pay money to get them back. >> that's right, but even the shia -- see, they don't even trust the shia government with sunni i.s.i.s. gunmen because the corruption and secret dealings money trump -- and you see this in syria, the alliances between alawites, i.s.i.s. and another fundamentalist group, it
can take any possible arrangement. >> rose: will iraq end up in some kind of tr tripar tied situation? >> i think so. what the kurds enjoyed since 1992 with the kurdistan regional government in the wake of operation desert storm where saddam hussein could not send troops in so since 1992 the kurds have been part of iraq in names only. the americans won't let them declare independence but in their minds, they're independent. in this stage, that's almost all you can do with iraq, you create the sunnis which are almost a minority, you create a government like the kurds have now and you work out an arrangement sharing oil receipts between the three groups. you can continue to refer to it
as a nation in name. but i have a really hard time seeing how the sunnis ever go back into an arrangement with the shia and visa versa. i think there is been so much sectarian killings and the suspicions at this point with just -- can't be bridged. >> rose: and all of the people you talked to, what do they think of the united states? >> it's a great question. the classic thing that they looked to the united states as the kind of global arbiter, but i think that throughout the region there is a consensus that the americans are unreliable, you can't depend on them. and it takes a variety of forms -- >> rose: that's felt throughout. >> yeah. >> rose: that has been described to the saudis as well. >> exactly. >> rose: because of the red line and -- >> right, and, again -- >> rose: not being tough
enough on the iranians. >> it takes every possible -- and also this idea that americans, their attention spans are very short. (laughter) so you came into iraq, you kick the place apart and it didn't quite work out the way you thought and then you leave and you leave this behind. the vietnam analogy with iraq -- our people were making the vietnam analogy in iraq before the iraq war even started and it's kind of played that way, and how that plays to america's enemies is, again, just like the vietcong, the notion that you can bleed the americans out. you play a waiting game and eventually the americans will get tired and leave and i think that's always been the idea in this part of the region. >> rose: or lose interest. yes. >> rose: in afghanistan, that's what happened. >> yep. >> rose: we helped the
mujahideen and then it became a state controlled by the taliban. >> that's right. >> rose: so what should be the role of the united states, then? >> boy, you know, at this point -- it's funny, you know, when people talk about the administration's policy in the region, i don't think there really is a policy. i think that the administration is completely reactive to the next sort of explosion that 3 comes along. i mean, that said, i'm not sure, you know, what a forward-looking proactive policy would look like at this point. i can absolutely see that libya is going to get worse again. i mean, you know, what i worry about with libya is, okay, have some western attention and american attention now because they're trying to cinch off i.s.i.s. in the center of the country and that may be
successful, look like it's going to be. but what happens then? i think -- i fear that the west and particularly the united states will say, okay, our job is done, we'll leave, and then libya will -- >> rose: pivot to china or asia or even latin america. >> yeah. >> rose: basically places where we can have more impact. >> right. >> rose: and make a real difference. >> right. >> rose: than we can in the middle east. >> it's very hard to see. certainly we have been talking about egypt, and the re-- the sisi regime despises the obama administration. they see him as weak. it also plays on a historical level. a huge part of what overthrew mubarak is he was seen as america's lap dog. he was on the american payroll 20-some years. i never met an egyptian yet who
ever saw -- there is a great disjuncture how all those years egypt was seen as america's best ally in the arab world. i never saw an egyptian who supported th -- they think our government can be bought. sisi knows the worst thing that can happen is being patted on the head by the americans. >> rose: what if we cut our aid off. >> they ged more aid from the saudis or the russians. the sad way -- >> rose: or the chinese. the chinese. two of one of my subject's children are in prison for protesting the sisi government. of course, they are trying to
appeal through amnesty international, western governments, but what they realize, and this is true for the tens of thousands of political prisoners from egypt no, that route of going to the west, which always worked -- not always -- usually work with mubarak. if you think about a political prisoner with mubarak, it's now probably counterproductive. the americans wants this, the west wants this, it's all the more reason not to budge. you never want to be seen as the american's lapping to is that in terms of people who have rising influence, where do you put the iranians? >> i think the iranians influence hugely depends on what happens in syria. you mentioned a few minutes ago, i think you're absolutely right i think there is been miscalculation made in the obama administration that we need the iranians and we need some sort
of an unofficial alliance. i mean, they have a role to play. they've certainly played a huge role in iraq. they're playing a rather major somewhat hidden role in the coalition against i.s.i.s. now. and i think now with the administration's realization that if assad goes into syria things get worse, that, of course, increases iranian influence. i think there is been a recognition that the iranians have to be part of the solution to the degree there is any solution. >> rose: i can tell you this from all the people i talked to or from the people i talked to, they cleared they have to be part of the solution in syria. >> yes. >> rose: so it's got to be the russians, the iranians. >> yeah. >> rose: if you look at other places where they have influence, i mean, like iraq. >> yeah. >> rose: huge influence in iraq, they want to be part of that. >> yeah. >> rose: and there is no counterbalance, it seems to me,
to their behavior, the perspective of what they want to do, supporting hezbollah, and drives saudi arabia crazy. >> right. >> rose: because they want to counterbalance the iranians. >> yes. >> rose: because they view it as, you know, a mortal enemy and as a struggle for supremacy in the region. >> that's right. and i've always suspected the part of the nuclear deal, there is a sub agreement there of recognizing how much the americans needed the iranians in the region and, you know, much better to have some sort of approach even unofficial with the regime than let them go on and do whatever they want to do and be caught unaware by it. >> rose: great to have you. congratulationons the article. "new york times" magazine this weekend, the story of the arab spring looking at what it might
have been and what it became and what it might be. early on, they were calling arab winter, as you remember. >> yeah. >> rose: scott anderson. back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: jeremy bailenson is here, founding director of stanford virtual human interaction lab. it seeks to better understand the impact that virtual reality has on human behavior and change the way people think about
education, empathy and the environment. he has trained athletes through virtual reality experiences. i am pleased to have jeremy bailenson at this table for the first time and welcome. >> thank you so much. we have on -- >> rose: we have talked about virtual reality a number of times on this program but because you're sensitive to this and what's happening in stanford, tell us why it is that this is important. >> virtual reality is a medium that puts you inside the media. so instead of watching it, listening to it, you're moving your body. the sights, sounds and touch change as a function of how you move. if i lean myself closer, you get bigger, if i turn my ear here, you get louder. in the physical world, there is a reak that's appropriate when something changes. in virtual reality, it feels like you're actually doing something.
>> rose: why is that important. >> because for the first time in history, people will hit a button and have any experience you can fathom. go to the top of kilimanjaro. become someone else. experience something wonderful, horrible at the touch of a button and the brain will treat that as a real experience. in other words, humans have been around for a long time. the brain hasn't evolved to really understand the difference between a compelling virtual reality experience and an actual one. >> rose: and how is it we can do this? >> from a technological standpoint, we've really seen a tipping point in the last year, maybe two. so for the first time ever, we've had a very large industry pouring in billions of dollars with hundreds and hundreds of engineers and a problem that was very difficult to do before, for example tracking your body movements or having really light visual displays, those are getting solved now that there is real energy behind it. >> rose: how will it be used in the future? >> this is the million, billion, trillion dollar question because all the tech companies are
competing to get the best hardware, the best software, but it's really rare to find a used case that's spectacular. charlie, you've told me earlier you tried it, thought it was cool but didn't know what are you going to do with this? when the tech moguls come to me and my lab, what i have been doing for 20 years is figuring out what works in terms of the brain for virtual reality and what applications are good use cases for it. >> rose: these are cases where the capacity of the human brain will ignite the whole virtual reality experience. >> well, it's the capacity of the human brain. let's take it as a given that we can produce something that works perfectly for the brain. the question is what media experiences do you want to feel real. when i gave a key note address to the tribeca film festival, i said to all the brilliant directors, don't ruin movies with virtual reality. not everything will translate
into an experience that will feel real. >> rose: what about fire? there have been cases where there have been great physical reactions. >> rose: the brain feels it as hot. >> the mechanisms in the brain don't know how to respond. they use the template response. >> rose: the brain is obviously conditioned by what it's seen and done before. >> that's right. >> rose: conditioned by what it's seen and done before. >> that's right. >> rose: so therefore, that's a reference point for the brain. >> that's the reference point. given a fire that looks real, sounds real, feels real in terms of maybe you have crackle, the brain's response is to treat it as real. >> rose: the obvious thing is storytelling.
>> i don't think that's the obvious thing. >> rose: let me rephrase the question. >> yeah. >> rose: one seemingly easily adaptable place is storytelling. it may not be the optimal because i think you probably want to deal with human challenges and problems more than in a sense altering storytelling. >> from a challenge of storytelling there is a thing called the director and she's a brilliant person who tells you where and when to look by moving the camera. in v.r., there is an amazing subtle gesture in the film that tees you what the story is about, who's the bad guy, pay off. in v.r., i'm looking here because there is cool lighting and what makes it special you get to do whatever you want. storytelling is special because somebody guides your experience and it's a challenge to merge the two. >> rose: give me an example of what virtual reality will help. >> training athletes.
i built a quarterback training. i showed it to the stanford coach david shaw, he put it on, looked, and took it off, and this happened for the first time in 20 years of virtual reality, typically someone comes and says i see how that can be cool in the future, the coach said, can we have this tomorrow? the reason is practice is expensive. you have to have all these people on the field. what the quarterbacks need are extra mental repetitions to be able to survey the scenes. so training a person to make decisions under arousing situations, the military funded v.r. for a long time. you should be able to make mistakes in practice. we have flight similarities. think of that as virtual reality. you take palmer from the
cardinals, he has a system set up in his home and practices his reads all day long. he practices the reads, defense, decides whether to keep the play or original roll, kill, kill, kill, and does it again and again and doesn't need his teammates on the field. >> rose: golf and tennis? the the most important thing is visualization. free-throw, when someone's in a slump, we teach them to visualize success. imagine you were much better and imagine your shot going in perfectly. when you're in a slump, it's hard to do. you visualize failure. in v.r. we make players shoot free-throws over and over again till they get it perfect. then put on the helmets and watch themselves from third person succeeding. >> rose: i'm sitting here, let's assume virtual reality and you or me -- i'm seeing this as i take free-throws.
>> yes. you put it on, magically see yourself from the third person which you never get to do in the physical world and you get to look around and walk around the scene and see yourself being perfect. so it's not just visualizing, it's taking the guesswork and the cognitive energy out and letting you see yourself how you want it to be. >> rose: how will it be applicable to medicine? >> we published a paper in my lab in a journal called pain medicine about kids who have chronic regional pain syndrome that's a horrible disorder in the brain and kids tend to have affected limb, a limb in horrible agony, but the way to make it better is to move the limb. when you have physical therapy, you move the bad limb. with the kids, we gave them a distracting v.r., they put on the helmet, popping the balloons, so distracting that physical therapy that would make them cry outside v.r. they look forward to it because it's fun to pop the balloons.
>> rose: and getting the exercise they need. >> yes. secondly, we inspire self efficacy, the belief you can do something. what we do, and this is a little complicated to talk about, but you look down and see your avatar in the first person. when you move the physical arms your avatar's limbs move. when the affected limb moves ten degrees, they see it move 20 degrees. they get an accelerated sense of i can do this by seeing their virtual arm move more than their physical arm it gives them self-efficacy to believe they can heal. >> rose: i can it might have been mark zuckerberg saying this is the next great mat form. do you see it as the next great platform? >> so i see this as -- >> rose: i'm not sure it was mark, but, nevertheless, whoever said it. >> what i see to be great sex persons on demand.
whatever experience makes you feel transformational, puts you something where you want to go. that differs from the tech companies and their vision is being a platform because they want you to use your media all day long. >> rose: how does facebook think they will use it? >> i'm not sure what facebook wants to do with it. mark zuckerberg came to my lab and did a lot of list upping and talking about what he plans to do with it. one thing we resonated on was this idea of empathy. we do a lot of work in my laby you become someone else, you get to walk a mile in their shoes. zuckerberg cares about ways you can use v.r. to help others. >> rose: this video shows how walking in someone else's shoes creates authentic empathy in the user. >> this is somebody seeing themselves in a virtual mirror. so the subject is physically
moving in the room and his avatars are moving with him in the mirror, looks just like him and he gets to see himself moving. what we're doing is inducing body transfer, been shown by lots of scientists if you move around physically, see your mirror image move synchronously, which means its arms move when you do, after four or five minutes the brain incorporates the mirror image into the body image meaning you treat it as yourself and your brain treats it as you. los of research in great publications are showing this. since 2003, we have been working leveraging body transfer to empathy. i'll show you what happens next. you feel like this is you in the mirror. please start it again. white male subject bends down, comes up and he's a woman of color. and we repeat the body transfer so it really feels like it's you in that mirror. >> rose: so you're in the shoes of a person of color. >> you are becoming someone
else. what happens then, you turn around, you're still this woman of color, and you experience what's in this demo is first verbal abuse and then actually physical abuse while walking a mile in someone else's shoes. so someone gets to experience firsthand while the brain is treating it as it's you, experiences prejudice and actually some physical violence while wearing the body of someone else to resonate what it means like to be harassed. >> rose: this is the second clip, superhero video shows how inhabiting a supero hero experience can engender empathy in everyday circumstances. >> this study, what we wanted to do, there is large literature on medium modeling. so whether playing violent video games, more aggressive, or soldier training to use new skills, we wanted to teach helping as a skill. we created an intense experience, you fly like a here o. lift your arms to take off,
put your arms up to take off, swerve and buildings. they say it's the close to space walking on earth. it's intense. some people sweat, fall down. one man decided to do a backflip. we caught him and that's okay. >> rose: he thought it was okay for him to do a body flip? >> he forgot he was in the physical world. that happens a lot. one thing we'll talk about is presence. it means absence from the physical world, which is challenging. in this study, we had people fly like a hero and save a child's life, have to deliver medicine to a child abandoned in the city, and people who finish the experience, they've done a good deed, their body performed the action. in our study we have the actors fake an accident and we'll see if it helps somebody in the physical world. we test to see if the virtually learned behavior transfers to
what they believe has been an accident. our research shows people are more helpful when they have a virtual altruism experience, causing them to be more responsive in the physical world. >> rose: was the purchase a confirming credential for virtual reality? >> for the first time in the history of our technology, somebody said, somebody visible, public, v.r.'s worth billions, and that was a big moment, right. there is lots of technologies leading up to this and lots of smart people doing great work, but when zuckerberg decides it's worth $2.3 billion, its sends a signal to other companies, and efforts get accelerated. >> rose: 2012 you co-wrote a book called "the infinite reality." the name of the lab is the
virtual human intersection lab and we're talking about virtual reality. >> absolutely. >> rose: why this terminology. when i first arrived at stanford in 2003, i had been doing virtual reality since the late 1990s. to be frank and honest with you, getting ten your at stanford requires you to focus in on an idea, and i wanted to study not only the technology but how it affects people, in particular mental processes and social interaction. so we called it the virtual human interaction lab. it wasn't about the tech. on the book title, ask harp collins, they decided to unilaterally call it that. >> rose: did they consult with you. >> they politely listened to me after they told me. the initial title was going to be "more human than human" because in virtual reality you can become a here o change your race.
>> rose: but they wanted infinite reality. >> they did. >> rose: i like more human than human, myself. >> i appreciate that. >> rose: so did you, i assume. yeah. >> rose: so when you look at the cutting edge in terms of what these companies -- i guess every company has to look at this, because, as you said, it can accelerate the development of human experience. >> we host -- in my lab, we have the privilege of working in silicon valley. even if companies are based there, they visit there often and they have a revolving door of the c.e.o.s of the tech companies that come to learn about the hardware. we host visits from apple, samsung, sony, google, most these companies come through the lab fairly often and are trying to figure out the best applications to use with technology. >> rose: if you were to create a company out of this, what would it be. >> i have created a company
about sports training because it's a good application and works. the other is home area. a lot of my work is about the environment and how you can use v.r. to viscerally talk about climate change. many scientists think it pose as threat and many citizens do not. one of the reason is citizens do not have a direct experience with floods, droughts and things caused by climate change. one of my lines of research is about using the art to put people in these ve visceral situations. if i were to form a company, i would try to reduce travel and the best way would be to perfect this notion of right now i feel like i know you, we're meeting the first time, it's spectacular, stipe, email
wouldn't have done it, but at some point -- in my new book, it's called the virtual handshake, maybe if it feels like i shook your hand we reduce 50% of travel. maybe go to work one day and stay home five. >> rose: how will it be used in education? clearly it's being used as an educational tool in sports. >> at stanford i took on the role of director of stanford digital learning form and it was my job to re-think what online education means. you've heard of mooks, massive online courses. i like to shift that to replace the field trip. i don't think v.r. should replace the classroom. but 'em enamored about the idea of a five-minute field trip.
we did one funded by the betty ford foundation to teach people what happens to the ocean with on dioxide. one month from now we'll ibury a system to the senate floor and we'll show senators and people in washington, d.c. this five minute field trip that teaches the marine science behind acidification. once that's done and we're finished with the perfect product we'll give it to the world. >> rose: thank you for coming. my pleasure. thank you for having me. >> rose: thank you for joining us. for more about this program and earlier episodes, visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com.