A group of CEOs face immediate backlash after using VR to simulate being homeless during “CEO Sleepout.”
Virtual reality may be an immersive technology capable of simulating many experiences, but they are still far from the real thing. That’s what a group a CEOs are hopefully beginning to understand after facing the wrath of the internet for choosing to use VR in an attempt to understand what it’s like to be homeless.
Normally any attempt at understanding the plights and struggles of the homeless would be warmly welcomed. I myself have found a fair deal of insight into their various struggles through the use similar of VR experiences such as Becoming Homeless: A Human Experience. However, the issue here is that the charity in which this group of CEOs were involved in, the Vinnies CEO Sleepout, normally has its participating bosses actually spend time outside roughing it like the needy.
— CEOSleepout (@CEOSleepout) June 22, 2017
After the official CEO Sleepout Twitter account posted a video of the out-of-touch group going through the virtual homeless experience, the annual fundraiser received a brutal onslaught of negative comments. Twitter users criticized the participants for making a weak attempt towards “simulating” poverty. The responses are as savage as they are amusing:
this bunch are so empathy deficient i bet they're all enjoying this
— レトロヴァーティゴ~ (@Retrovertigo) June 22, 2017
Our Sydney CEOs using VR because for some reason it's illegal to hunt real homeless people for sport.
— Fin Debacle (@RumRational) June 23, 2017
Yes! Dealing with the virtual cold, the virtual violence, the virtual hunger, the virtual untreated illnesses, the virtual despair …
— David Scott Aubrey (@davidakaclean) June 22, 2017
Press Play to avoid social responsibilities. pic.twitter.com/JO0u52thA8
— Shane Bryan (@ShaneBryan_Aus) June 22, 2017
Nearly 1,500 CEOs have been involved in the charity, raising over $5,100,000 for Vinnies Homeless Services across Australia.
“More than 2.5 million Australians are living below the poverty line and more than 105,000 Australians are experiencing homelessness. Behind these numbers are real people, doing it really tough,” states the official Vinnies CEO Sleepout website. “Our Vinnies CEO Sleepout participants see the problem and are part of the solution. They are lending their voices, networks and resources to help advocate and raise vital funds for Vinnies Homeless Services across the country.”
So not a great day for the group of CEO’s or the charity itself. While I think we can all appreciate any attempt towards empathizing with the homeless, it’s probably best to stick to the intended itinerary. Especially in a program designed to more effectively simulate the physical trials many unfortunate citizens often endure.