David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
from the world's big
Start Learning

Jason Silva: Portable Virtual Reality Will Allow You to Climb Into Someone Else's Mind

How do you typically let other people into your minds? You smile. You laugh. You use language to communicate thoughts and feelings. Jason Silva is here to explain why that's all going to change once virtual reality reaches its full potential.

Jason Silva: Well I think that Oculus Rift and virtual reality is sort of — the Oculus Rift being an example that virtual reality has now arrived, you know. The multiple-billion-dollar purchase of Oculus Rift shows that now they have the resources to bring this thing into the mainstream. And, of course, virtual reality, like other media technologies, like cinema, is an engine of empathy because it speeds up the capacity to achieve presence in the mediated world, right. And so with a movie theater the size of the screen, the surround sound audio puts you there. With the Oculus Rift potentially you’re surrounded now by the media, by the simulated dreamscape. So you are even more there. So when I say an agent of empathy, the UN just released a virtual reality film of a Syrian refugee camp, you know. The fact that we’re able to put reporters now virtually on the ground, it elicits a sort of experience that is so much more visceral, so much more powerful, that the elusive sense of presence that literally puts you in a liminal trance state. Your defenses get lowered. You forget yourself. You forget your problems. You are there. You are in the moment. And so, you know, the power of that as an engine of empathy, I think can’t hurt humanity, you know. I think it’s like they talk in the movie Interstellar, our empathy rarely extends beyond our line of sight. And I think with virtual reality and the Oculus Rift, we now are extending our line of sight by being able to go everywhere at the speed of mind.

And I think that’s transformational. Furthermore the psychonautic philosopher Terence McKenna says that the goal of humanity is to turn ourselves inside-out, right. And he says that with virtual reality the canvas for intersubjective intimacy is taken to the next level. You know, before if I want to share the contents of my mind, I smile and I move my lips in a certain way. I make crude little grunts to convey meanings. I might make a painting, you know, or I might write a poem. And the point is these are a rich tapestry of tools that human beings have used for achieving something akin to telepathy, to know each other’s minds, to enter the intersubjective space of one another. But with virtual reality each of us potentially, the full flowering of this technology means each of us can create a universe of our own construction. A universe that reflects our own archetypical spaces, you know, our own iconographies. We turn ourselves inside out. You don’t just come into my room and see my books to see who I am. Now you get to come inside my mind. That’s what kind of blows my mind. The new spaces of intimacy that will be made possible when you can invite your lover or your friend into your world. Come visit my world and you get to inhabit that as a sort of cosmos of the mind.


How do you typically let other people into your minds? You smile. You laugh. You use language to communicate thoughts and feelings. Jason Silva is here to explain why that's all going to change once virtual reality reaches its full potential. Imagine instead of writing a poem or painting a picture to express yourself, you construct an entire world in virtual reality and invite others in to make an intimate assessment of who you are and what you project to be. Silva says it blows his mind to imagine "the new spaces of intimacy that will be made possible when you can invite your lover or your friend into your world."

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
Keep reading Show less

The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
Keep reading Show less

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

Dinosaur bone? Meteorite? These men's wedding bands are a real break from boredom.

Manly Bands wanted to improve on mens' wedding bands. Mission accomplished.

Sex & Relationships
  • Manly Bands was founded in 2016 to provide better options and customer service in men's wedding bands.
  • Unique materials include antler, dinosaur bones, meteorite, tungsten, and whiskey barrels.
  • The company donates a portion of profits to charity every month.
Keep reading Show less

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

Keep reading Show less