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Issue #15 – Playing With Reality – Egirls, NFT’s implosion, and VR exposure therapy 🚀🔮🌟

Thijs Pepping
June 14, 2021

“Playing with Reality” is the title of our upcoming book on synthetic media and the follow-up to our 2008 book “Me the Media”. Playing with Reality is about how humans continuously manipulate reality and how new digital technology tools enable us to go one step further in this ancient game. This includes modern phenomena like conspiracy theories such as QAnon, Deepfakes, and fake news, but also virtual humans such as CGI Influencer Lil Miquela and virtual worlds like Fortnite.

Who Is Samsung Sam?

“Step aside Alexa and Siri, a new digital assistant is taking over the Internet: Samsung Sam. A batch of 3D rendered images of a virtual woman went viral over the weekend, with millions swarming around the latest virtual human to appear online. The only catch? Samsung didn’t officially make Sam, or even acknowledge her.”

Samsung Sam

Welcome to Planet Egirl

“What does it look like when women’s long-held interest in gaming is finally accepted into the mainstream—and embraced by billion-dollar industries?”
The stereotype of egirls is changing rapidly from a slur used to denigrate women streaming games on Twitch to a true gamer, entertainer and fashion icon in one. And according to this Wired article, there’s a lot of pink.

Egirl culture is a consumer culture. ILLUSTRATION: THERESA O’REILLY

The NFT Market Bubble Has Popped

“The NFT market has imploded over the past month, with sales in every single category almost entirely drying up. NFTs peaked on May 3, when $102 million worth were sold in a single day. The crypto-collectibles market made up $100 million of those sales. But according to data analyzed by Protos, just $19.4 million in NFT sales were processed in the past week. Overall, $170 million in NFTs were transacted in the seven days surrounding the market’s top — a near-90% collapse.”

Virtual Reality exposure therapy

The most significant disorders that virtual reality therapy has shown success in treating are PTSD, anxiety, and phobias. Several companies and clinicians are increasingly using V.R. to treat other disorders and behaviours. Think of reducing stress and burnout in medical workers during the pandemic. Or alleviating childhood social anxiety by using animated artificial intelligence bullies that growl things like, “Give me your lunch money.”
Academics have studied virtual reality’s potential to treat anxiety disorders since the ‘90s. If you want an overview of where the field is anno 2021, have a look at this NYTimes article: Virtual Reality Therapy Plunges Patients Back Into Trauma. Here Is Why Some Swear by It.

A snapshot from a VR exposure therapy clip

Join Our Upcoming Reality Show

On the 15th of June 2021 we are organizing our yearly summit. This year we try to answer the question how digital technology is changing our relationship with reality. So if you want to know more about deepfakes, virtual humans, cgi influencers, synthetic media, AR, VR and mixed reality, please register yourself. And it’s free!


Playing with Reality is a weekly newsletter in which SogetiLabs’s Research Institute VINT examines the future where synthetic reality becomes part or our objective reality. We investigate the impact of new technology on people, organisations and our society. If you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us at

About the author

Trend Analyst VINT | Netherlands
Thijs Pepping is a humanistic trend analyst in the field of new technologies. He is part of the think tank within SogetiLabs and in his work he continuously wonders and analyses what the impact of New Technologies is on our lives, organizations and society.


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