Ethical Implications of Mixed Reality Technologies

Since 2019, Dr Ben Egliston and I have been studying the ethical implications of emerging mixed reality technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). We believe that these technologies bring enormous potential for societal harms, concordant with the risks of AI. In particular, our research has begun to focus on mobile VR headsets as a highly extractive digital sensor, with significant privacy risks. Our research is informed by our excitement for the potential of the technology, such as in my research into the opportunities for VR in the zoo. More recently – with the support of funding from Meta & TikTok – our research has been focused on how to ensure VR is accessible and inclusive, such as through studies of people with disabilities experiences with VR (with Kate Clark), and trust and safety features in social VR (with Jo Gray).

Academic Publications


  1. Carter, M. & Egliston, B. (2023) Fantasies of Virtual Reality. MIT Press (forthcoming, contact me for an advance copy)

Journal Articles

  1. Egliston, B. & Carter, M. (2022) ‘The metaverse and how we’ll build it’: The political economy of Meta’s Reality Labs. New Media & Society [link]
  2. Egliston, B. & Carter, M. (2021) The material politics of (mobile) virtual reality: Oculus, data, and the technics of sensemaking. Convergence [link]
  3. Egliston, B. & Carter, M. (2021) Critical questions for Facebook’s virtual reality: data, power and the metaverse. Internet Policy Review [link]
  4. Egliston, B. & Carter, M. (2021) ‘The Interface of the Future’: Mixed Reality, intimate data and imagined temporalities. Big Data and Society [link]
  5. Egliston, B. & Carter, M. (2021) Examining visions of surveillance in Oculus’ data and privacy policies, 2014-2020. Media International Australia [link]
  6. Carter, M. & Egliston, B. (2021) What are the risks of Virtual Reality data? Learning Analytics, Algorithmic Bias and a Fantasy of Perfect Data. New Media and Society [link]
  7. Carter, M., Webber, S., Rawson, S., Smith, W., Purdam, J. & McLeod, E. (2020) Virtual reality in the zoo: A qualitative evaluation of a stereoscopic virtual reality video encounter with little penguins (Eudyptula minor). Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research, 8(4):239-245. [link]
  8. Egliston, B. & Carter, M. (2020) Oculus Imaginaries: the promises and perils of Facebook’s virtual reality. New Media and Society [link]

Conference Papers and Presentations

  1. Carter, M. & Egliston, B. (2021, October). A Critical Future of Virtual Reality: All Work and No Play. Paper presented at AoIR 2021: The 22nd Annual Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers. Philadelphia, PA, USA: AoIR. [Link]
  2. Egliston B, & Carter, M. (2021) Augmented Reality, Time, and Visions of Control. In Program of the Social Studies of Science Conference (4S)
  3. Egliston, B. & Carter, M. (2021) Oculus Insight, and taking VR ‘off the grid’. Geomedia 2021.
  4. Egliston, B. & Carter, M. (2021) Virtual Reality as Social Media: The Facebook / Oculus Imaginary. Presented at Digital Intimacies Symposium [link]


  1. [Ethical Implication Report] Carter, M. & Egliston, B. (2020) Ethical Implications of Emerging Mixed Reality Technologies. Socio-Tech Futures Lab Report
  2. [YouTube Video Series] Carter, M. & Egliston, B. (2020) Ethical Implications of Emerging Mixed Reality Technologies [link]
  3. [Press Release] Virtual and augmented realities: six thorny questions you need to ask. USYD Media Press Release 23 June 2020 [link]


In the Media

  • Egliston, B., Clark, K. & Carter, M. (2023)  “My VR does not acknowledge me as a person”: Is the metaverse leaving disabled users behind?. ABC Religion & Ethics.
  • Carter, M. & Egliston, B. (2022) Privacy Concerns and Data Harms in the Metaverse. The World Financial Review
  • Carter, M. & Egliston, B. (2021) No Escape From Reality: The immersiveness of virtual reality fuels a fantasy of richer data collection. Real Life Magazine. [More Information]
  • Carter, M. & Egliston, B. (2021) All Work and no play in the future of virtual reality. Sydney Business Insights.
  • Carter, M. & Egliston, B. (2021) Facebook relaunches itself as ‘Meta’ in a clear bid to dominate the metaverse. The Conversation
  • Egliston, B. & Carter, M. (2021) Ray-Ban Stories lets you wear Facebook on your face. But why would you want to? The Conversation
  • Egliston, B. & Carter, M. (2021) ‘Potential for harm’: Microsoft will make US$22 billion worth of augmented reality headsets for US soldiers. The Conversation.
  • Carter, M. & Egliston, B. (2020). Facebook’s virtual reality push is about data, not gaming. The Conversation.
  • Carter, M. & Egliston, B. (2020) Pokémon Go wants to make 3D scans of the whole world for ‘planet-scale augmented reality experiences’. Is that good? The Conversation
  • Webber, S. & Carter, M. (2019) Virtual reality won’t make cows happier, but it might help us see them differently. The Conversation


Print Interviews