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

Virtual Reality Will Trick You In Ways You’ll Like – and Ways You Won’t

When you take off a virtual reality headset, you don't remember seeing things, you recall experiencing them, says Kevin Kelly. VR will create a world of amazing opportunity – for us and for advertisers.

Kevin Kelly: I think in five years or so VR is going to be a really prominent platform for experiences, for business, for commerce, entertainment, and social. Let me tell you why. So I've been trying a lot of the VR gear and the thing about VR is, and the other version of it called MR, mixed reality, which is where you see virtual objects in the real world and VR where you see only the virtual world, both of those operate on a different part of your brain then when you're watching on a screen.

So a very common demonstration in VR is to put on a pair of goggles while you're in a room and then to drop the virtual floor inside away so that you're suddenly standing on a cliff and to ask you to walk out on a plank that's over nothing, maybe it's kilometers deep. And for most people it's almost impossible to do. Your knees start shaking, you're nauseous, even while your brain is telling you hey you're in the same room I was in a few moments ago. But the VR is working on a lower different part of your brain stem it's a much more primeval part of it that experiences things. And when you take your VR goggles off you remember not having seen something but having experienced it. And that ability to get to where we feel things, get to where we experience things is very, very powerful. And in trying many, many of these worlds for almost two decades or more one of the things that's most surprising to me is that the most intriguing things in these worlds are not incredible objects, they're not amazing worlds, they're actually other people.

So when you have a world with other people in it that's really what's the most powerful thing. And we now have the ability to add a couple things to make those people seem real. One of them is eye contact. The other one is the ability to have real-time capture of their movements so you can see their body language and you can detect that that's actually this other person. And the experience is a real experience. And that experience of other people I think is going to make VR the most social of all the social media. And actually we've been trying a couple of these VR games where you have to do stuff physically and even the idea that this is sort of you're going to become a big slug in the closet isolated is totally wrong. This is going to be some of the most callisthenic kinetic activity that we're going to undergo. So VR is likely to become the social platform within five years. And this is the place where we're going to download, exchange, buy, purchase experiences, which are going to be some of the most valuable things that we can create. And they'll be a whole economy based around this.

And then the amount of data that is necessary to make this work is huge. There's going to be no VR without AI. And the VR companies who make this are going to become the largest data companies in the world because in order to have your avatar in the VR real time you have to capture so much of our behavior that we're going to be capturing behavior that's expensive to capture outside in the real world but it's going to be very cheap to capture in VR. And the companies that are running these they're not making their money selling goggles, they're going to be collecting our lives data and that's going to be their wealth. And so part of the attraction for business in VR is going to be the fact that everything is quantified, that everything is digitized and our digital lives are going to become paramount there. And so the issues about who owns that data, the issues about who controls that data, the issues about what can be done with it will continue to loom and the power of what you can do with that will be harness by AI because that data alone is just a headache without AI. And that promise of having a virtual life is going to be I think the big thing in business in five years.

 

Get a life? Soon it will be that simple, says Kevin Kelly. Five years from now, Kelly anticipates that most of us will have a physical reality and a virtual one – and the second will be as social and kinetic as the first. Forget the idea of VR making us isolated slugs, he says, you will be challenged and connected. Of course for all the perceptive tricks it will play, it will also play commercial tricks. The price of this novelty is all your data, historical and biometric, and with that will come more advertising than ever. What is the beginning of a new dimension of fun, will be the end of privacy. Kevin Kelly's most recent book is The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future.


Kevin Kelly's most recent book is The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future.

A new hydrogel might be strong enough for knee replacements

Duke University researchers might have solved a half-century old problem.

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • Duke University researchers created a hydrogel that appears to be as strong and flexible as human cartilage.
  • The blend of three polymers provides enough flexibility and durability to mimic the knee.
  • The next step is to test this hydrogel in sheep; human use can take at least three years.
Keep reading Show less

Predicting PTSD symptoms becomes possible with a new test

An algorithm may allow doctors to assess PTSD candidates for early intervention after traumatic ER visits.

Image source: camillo jimenez/Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • 10-15% of people visiting emergency rooms eventually develop symptoms of long-lasting PTSD.
  • Early treatment is available but there's been no way to tell who needs it.
  • Using clinical data already being collected, machine learning can identify who's at risk.

The psychological scars a traumatic experience can leave behind may have a more profound effect on a person than the original traumatic experience. Long after an acute emergency is resolved, victims of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continue to suffer its consequences.

In the U.S. some 30 million patients are annually treated in emergency departments (EDs) for a range of traumatic injuries. Add to that urgent admissions to the ED with the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Health experts predict that some 10 percent to 15 percent of these people will develop long-lasting PTSD within a year of the initial incident. While there are interventions that can help individuals avoid PTSD, there's been no reliable way to identify those most likely to need it.

That may now have changed. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers has developed a method for predicting who is most likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic emergency-room experience. Their study is published in the journal Nature Medicine.

70 data points and machine learning

nurse wrapping patient's arm

Image source: Creators Collective/Unsplash

Study lead author Katharina Schultebraucks of Columbia University's Department Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons says:

"For many trauma patients, the ED visit is often their sole contact with the health care system. The time immediately after a traumatic injury is a critical window for identifying people at risk for PTSD and arranging appropriate follow-up treatment. The earlier we can treat those at risk, the better the likely outcomes."

The new PTSD test uses machine learning and 70 clinical data points plus a clinical stress-level assessment to develop a PTSD score for an individual that identifies their risk of acquiring the condition.

Among the 70 data points are stress hormone levels, inflammatory signals, high blood pressure, and an anxiety-level assessment. Says Schultebraucks, "We selected measures that are routinely collected in the ED and logged in the electronic medical record, plus answers to a few short questions about the psychological stress response. The idea was to create a tool that would be universally available and would add little burden to ED personnel."

Researchers used data from adult trauma survivors in Atlanta, Georgia (377 individuals) and New York City (221 individuals) to test their system.

Of this cohort, 90 percent of those predicted to be at high risk developed long-lasting PTSD symptoms within a year of the initial traumatic event — just 5 percent of people who never developed PTSD symptoms had been erroneously identified as being at risk.

On the other side of the coin, 29 percent of individuals were 'false negatives," tagged by the algorithm as not being at risk of PTSD, but then developing symptoms.

Going forward

person leaning their head on another's shoulder

Image source: Külli Kittus/Unsplash

Schultebraucks looks forward to more testing as the researchers continue to refine their algorithm and to instill confidence in the approach among ED clinicians: "Because previous models for predicting PTSD risk have not been validated in independent samples like our model, they haven't been adopted in clinical practice." She expects that, "Testing and validation of our model in larger samples will be necessary for the algorithm to be ready-to-use in the general population."

"Currently only 7% of level-1 trauma centers routinely screen for PTSD," notes Schultebraucks. "We hope that the algorithm will provide ED clinicians with a rapid, automatic readout that they could use for discharge planning and the prevention of PTSD." She envisions the algorithm being implemented in the future as a feature of electronic medical records.

The researchers also plan to test their algorithm at predicting PTSD in people whose traumatic experiences come in the form of health events such as heart attacks and strokes, as opposed to visits to the emergency department.

Hints of the 4th dimension have been detected by physicists

What would it be like to experience the 4th dimension?

Two different experiments show hints of a 4th spatial dimension. Credit: Zilberberg Group / ETH Zürich
Technology & Innovation

Physicists have understood at least theoretically, that there may be higher dimensions, besides our normal three. The first clue came in 1905 when Einstein developed his theory of special relativity. Of course, by dimensions we’re talking about length, width, and height. Generally speaking, when we talk about a fourth dimension, it’s considered space-time. But here, physicists mean a spatial dimension beyond the normal three, not a parallel universe, as such dimensions are mistaken for in popular sci-fi shows.

Keep reading Show less

How often do vaccine trials hit paydirt?

Vaccines find more success in development than any other kind of drug, but have been relatively neglected in recent decades.

Pedro Vilela/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Vaccines are more likely to get through clinical trials than any other type of drug — but have been given relatively little pharmaceutical industry support during the last two decades, according to a new study by MIT scholars.

Keep reading Show less
Quantcast