Assessment of Innovation Readiness and Technology Acceptance Using Immersive Sci-Fi Prototyping
Keywords:virtual reality, science-fiction prototyping, multilinear narratives, immersion, attitude change
Digital transformation is ubiquitous and is generating unprecedented forms of innovation. However, it brings new challenges due to its comprehensive nature and potentially profound impacts. Technology assessment examines the long-term impacts of technologies on society and the environment. One aspect of this is a broad societal discourse, which is considered indispensable in a functioning democracy. To this end, various perspectives are sought, especially from experts in science, business, and politics, but also the opinion of the public. In practice, however, this poses a challenge. How is the public supposed to be able to form an informed opinion about a technological change, an upcoming innovation, if this change is multi-layered and not easily transparent and comprehensible? In this paper, attitude formation and attitude change are examined in more detail using a science fiction prototype in the democratic field of action. The main focus lies on immersion. The effects of immersive scenarios on attitudes toward technological innovations have not yet been sufficiently studied. The authors believe that conventional methods appeal mainly to cognition, but people are often driven by emotions. The immersive sci-fi prototyping method is designed to allow technological innovations to be experienced with virtual reality and thus also appeals to emotions in the process of forming attitudes. The authors hypothesize that with the immersive sci-fi prototyping method, a better starting point is provided to evaluate technology acceptance and innovation readiness. For this purpose, a laboratory experiment is conducted with a pre- and post-survey. The results of the low-immersion group, who click through the sci-fi prototype as hypertext in the browser, are compared with the high-immersion group, who experience the sci-fi prototype in a VR environment. The results show that both sci-fi prototyping and immersive sci-fi prototyping are suitable for capturing attitude. In the immersive sci-fi prototyping method, subjects are better able to visualise the technology and, in general, VR has shown a stronger impact on attitude change. These results relate to the digital democratic assistant presented in the sci-fi prototype.