How PETA Is Using Emerging Technology to Cultivate Empathy for Animals

Published by Paula Moore.

PETA has helped countless people see, feel, and hear what it’s like to be a chicken facing danger from the food industry or to take a swim with a grieving orca mother whose baby was stolen from her and forced to live in a tiny tank. Now we’ll be sharing our experience and expertise in a keynote speech at Immersed 2016, a virtual reality (VR) and immersive technology conference in Toronto, Canada, October 16–18. James Rodgers, the head of PETA’s Innovations Department, will discuss how emerging technologies can help users develop empathy for animals. Attendees will be able to experience this firsthand via PETA’s cutting-edge “I, Chicken,” in which, as roosting chickens, they watch their feathered friend walk around and engage with fellow flockmates—until the truck arrives to take them to slaughter. James estimates that at least 20 percent of people who experience “I, Chicken” vow to stop eating animals.

Other innovations that James will discuss include “I, Orca,” which presents a VR view of SeaWorld’s cruelty, and Ellie, PETA’s life-sized robot elephant, voiced by Quantico star Priyanka Chopra, who tours schools to tell students why elephants don’t want to be kept in chains and forced to perform tricks in circuses. One of PETA’s most exciting projects is the new H.E.R.O.Bot, which uses PETA’s artificial intelligence interface to answer ethics questions related to animals. Take a look:

As James says, “Emerging technology, especially VR, is very powerful, and in the right hands, it can change people’s behaviors, alleviate pain and suffering, and even make us more mindful—something religions have been grappling with for millennia.” If you’re in Toronto, check out Immersed 2016, and be sure to stop by PETA’s booth to check it out. And share this blog on your social media sites, so your friends and family can experience the future of animal rights.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind