Changing Times

Anatomy of Experience, by Howard Rose

I recently took a a glance back at the lineage of images of VR from movies to get some perspective on how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go. Here’s a pretty representative sample – notice what they all have in common?

As I was putting this collage together it was impossible to ignore how every central, powerful character in these stories is a white male. I say this as a white male in the VR industry.

The images from these movies are just the tip of the iceberg, and a lot more is at stake then just what we watch on Netflix. The portrayal of virtual reality is the portrayal of the future of humanity.

These portrayals of white men as the powerful actors shaping our destiny don’t just reflect a tech industry dominated by white men, they have shaped it. Yes, more lights are shining on diversity today than a decade ago, but the numbers show it’s still too damn dark. Real equity and inclusion are going to require more diverse images about humanity’s future and who gets to play a role in it.

Time to change the narrative.

Create more places for people of color and women at the table and let them tell their stories. When the images in our movies and the faces in the audience at our tech conferences become representative of the diversity of the world, that will be a milestone for the tech industry and the role of technology in shaping the future.  Let’s not wait for diversity to happen organically or for somebody else to do it. What steps can each of us take today so the future belongs to everybody?