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Journal Article

Virtual Reality and its Opportunities and Risks


The rise of three-dimensional (3D) technologies is raising questions about the opportunities, risks and impacts of immersive environments on firms, governments, people and society. This chapter disentangles immersive digital environments and focuses on the importance of one immersive medium – virtual reality (VR) – because of its proven ability to scale. It explains the technologies and features of VR, highlighting its benefits and opportunities, as well as its downsides and risks. Concrete use cases help move beyond the buzzwords and hype of VR to a real understanding of when it is exceptionally useful (and when it is not). The chapter also explores the DICE framework, which involves using VR for things that are otherwise dangerous, impossible, counterproductive or expensive, as a useful guide. Key policy issues for VR and immersive technologies include privacy challenges, in particular those associated with tracking data, and safety, especially for children and in moving vehicles.

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Bailenson, J.N., Lesher, M., (2024) Virtual reality and its opportunities and risks, OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2024 (Volume 1): Embracing the Technology Frontier, OECD Publishing, Paris,

Jeremy N. Bailenson
Molly Lesher
Journal Name
OECD Digital Economy Outlook Volume 1: Embracing the Technology Frontier
Publication Date
May 14, 2024
OECD Publishing, Paris