Social Media has changed the world, but it has also brought with it a number of unforeseen consequences. Not only it has contributed to the spread of divisiveness, misinformation & echo chambers, social media use is directly associated with depressive symptoms and is not perceived as a place where meaningful, empathetic human connections regularly occur.
“I think it’s all a design issue. We’ve built the internet around a misguided set of priorities, focusing on maximizing metrics like ad revenue over the long term happiness of users —and it shows. I wanted to change that, creating a corner in the internet where truthfulness and intimacy between strangers was allowed to flourish — a place where people could acquire perspective in life from the voice of strangers as well as their own — 100% devoid from bias.” — Lucas Rizzotto, Creator
Out of that desire of bringing humanity, intimacy and emotion to the internet, Where Thoughts Go was born.
Set in a world where human thoughts exist as sleeping creatures, it functions like a collective immersive audio diary spanning several magical locations, each with a personal question at the center. Users can wake up the thoughts of others to listen to their answers to each question, exploring their dreams, fears and experiences, and must also leave their own answers behind for others to find.
“What’s fascinating is how it creates a fictional world to tell non-fictional stories. It bursts the bubble we’re used to by connecting us to strangers in an emotionally impactful way that could never exist outside of VR, seamlessly mixing elements from documentary, social media, gaming, storytelling and art.” — Rogue Fong, VR Artist.
Where Thoughts Go will support all major VR platforms & controllers, but it was designed primarily with the LeapMotion hand-tracking technology in mind, which allows people to bring their hands into the experience to engage with the world.
“It’s by far the most intuitive and emotionally engaging way of interacting with information“ adds Lucas. “ There’s nothing between you and what you’re touching, and it makes the experience that much more intimate.”
Where Thoughts Go also feels strongly about its anonymity factor, with the creators having no intention of collecting personal data from users beyond a log-in e-mail. Visitors also have access to additional privacy tools, such as the ability to scramble the pitch of their voice to render it .
“We don’t like how privacy is slowly being taken away and decided to go in the opposite direction. Contrary to what most people would imagine, anonymity in Where Thoughts Go actually makes people more thoughtful. This is mainly because of how everything is designed and because it focuses on personal topics that drive users together.” — Tarik Merzouk, Developer
Where Thoughts Go is planned to release as an experimental experience early next year, but Lucas implies it’s just the first step for the project.
“This is a small part of a bigger plan to push the world towards a new internet centered around meaningful emotional interactions.” says Lucas. “I wholeheartedly believe in the power of VR to make us more thoughtful people by giving us a platform to think, explore perspectives and arrive to our own conclusions. And I believe Where Thoughts Go will grow beyond anyone’s imagination.”
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