Where Does Reality End and Imagination Begin? In the Future, We Might Not Know

Reality is whatever your body believes. Virtual reality knows how to hack that.

"The line between what it means to be dreaming and what it means to be awake is going to become very interesting," says Jordan Greenhall, CEO of Neurohacker. Virtual reality is perhaps the easiest way to conceive of that concept right now, but it's just one piece in a much larger body of accelerated technology on the horizon. Our sense of reality, how our self fits into our perception of the world, can be easily shaken through sensory input manipulation—and in very low-tech and low-quality ways. So image what a sophisticated approach will bring. VR and its relatives will be able to hack our mind in ways we will be helpless to resist—dream up an object and one day it might be 3D printed in quasi-real-time, straight from your imagination. Of course, there are enormous ethical implications. If we think social media encroaches on our lives now, we are not prepared for a future in which dreaming and waking look eerily similar. How will it change election campaigns, personal relationships, will you responsible for your own addictions and behaviors in this future? How will we establish the first rules of consent—hopefully not the hard way. VR will disrupt our very deepest construct: how we see and react to reality. If we are thoughtful about design and ethics, Greenhall hopes this radically upgrade our potential, rather than downgrade how we relate to one another.

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Why Controlling the Masses Through Media No Longer Works

As the Internet takes over from broadcast television, we find ourselves in a new psychological ecosystem—and people's ability or failure to adapt explains the last two years of American politics.

When television took over from print and radio as the dominant media in the second half of the 20th century, a hierarchy evolved in which the privileged few with TV camera access spoke to the masses. This top-down dissemination of news and opinion not only shaped information, but it also shaped the psychology of those people, and of anyone who has lived with one foot in the TV broadcast era, and the other in the new dynamic brought on by the Internet. That established top-down directive—and society's conditioning to widely accept what is presented to them by experts—is what Neurohacker CEO Jordan Greenhall describes as the Blue Church: "The Blue Church is a kind of narrative/ideology control structure that is a natural result of mass media. It is an evolved (rather than designed) function that has come over the past half-century to be deeply connected with the Democratic political "Establishment" and lightly connected with the "Deep State" to form an effective political and dominant cultural force in the United States," writes Greenhall on Medium. Greenhall is careful to point out that control is not necessarily always a bad thing: it is how hundreds of millions of individuals are able to make collective decisions and engage in effective collective actions to advance their society.

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