by Alex Vikoulov
"Virtual reality is the 'ultimate empathy machine.' These experiences are more than documentaries. They're opportunities to walk a mile in someone else's shoes." -Chris Milk
The next major technological platform for creative expansion of the mind will be the Metaverse, a functional successor to today's 2D Internet, with virtual places instead of Webpages. The Internet and smartphones have enabled the rapid and cheap sharing of information, immersive Virtual Reality will be able to provide the same for experiences. That means that just as we can read, listen to, and watch videos of anything we want today, soon we’ll be able to experience stunning lifelike simulations in virtual reality indistinguishable from our physical world. We'll be walking and actively interacting in the Metaverse, not slavishly staring at the flat screens. On this new social platform, we would be able to "turn our minds inside out" and show our dreams to each other in this ecstadelic matrix of our own making.
Only a decade ago, people online mostly shared text. Today, we share rich multimedia content such as photos, videos, articles. A decade from now, people will be sharing fully immersive VR experiences. In a couple of decades, people will be sharing multi-sensory VR experiences - just like in the movie "Being John Malkovich" - you could experience someone else's palette of sensations just as real as your own. We'll epiphanize ourselves via intersubjective mutuality that would result in an unprecedented level of empathy, altruism, superfluidity of identiity, and the initial stages of the Syntellect Emergence.
You can tattoo a dragon on your chest today, but tomorrow you can BE a living, breathing dragon in VR, if you’d like. You can “take for a spin” a cool car on your playstation VR today, but tomorrow you can drive a Lamborghini convertible along the Pacific coast on highway 1 with a gentle ocean breeze on your face in immersive multisensory VR. Today, online dating and social media give people never-before seen access to a tremendously wide variety of sexual partners outside of people's normal dating spheres, creating connections that would have been extremely unlikely in the past. Tomorrow, when social VR becomes ultrarealistic, it's going to add far more to the sex and love industry than it takes away. It's also going to have a profound effect on our interpersonal relationships and human sexuality itself. In the not-so-distant future, when we get to spend more time in virtual environments, when we will have phased out most of our biology, and share our digitized experiences with each other, our love life will be transformed beyond recognition, it will be polyamorous rather than monogamous: There will be all sorts of relationships between humans, humans and androids, virtual entities and other conscious AI. We will be able to share part of our minds, which humans currently can’t, unless they dedicate a lot of time to each other. There will be fusions of the mind that don’t exist among biological organisms.
We all have so-called FOMO, fear of missing out, to a degree. But the good news is that once we have the fully operational Metaverse, it would be easy to relive your own cherished moments in multisensory VR - travel to your own past, so to speak - who said you can't come back in time? ..and even tweak something? (Just ask your AI assistant!) Other people's precious memories, should they want to share them, or recreated historical events, or fabricated phantasies could be accessible through the global library of millions of VR experiences to fill the gaps of parental love, exotic vacations, romantic encounters, professional achievements, athletic performances, or any other things in life missing from your arsenal of past sensations. One could easily envision that with exponential development of AI-powered multisensory immersive technologies, in 10-15 years most of us could immerse in "real virtualities" akin to lifestyles of today's billionaires. Give it another couple of decades, each of us might opt to create and run their own virtual universe with [simulated] physics indistinguishable from physics of our world. Or you can always "fine-tune" the rule set, or tweak historical scenarios at will.
Video Credit: Etherial Exposition - Terence McKenna "Real Virtualities
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Tags: self-transcendence, transcendence, neuroscience, collective intelligence, sentience, self-awareness, strong AI, human psychology, human motivation, transformative technology, extended phenotype, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, exocortex, Chris Milk, Terence McKenna, Syntellect Hypothesis, Extended Mind Hypothesis, superintelligence, singularity, mind uploading, postbiological superintelligence, posthuman superintelligence, the Syntellect emergence, technological singularity, Intelligence Supernova, virtual world, VR, MR, AR, virtual reality, VR experience, dimensionality, virtual body, Global Brain, human evolution, human condition, AI assistant, digital assistant, transcendent other, AI, AGI, artificial general intelligence, real virtualities, Metaverse, FOMO, transhumanism, superwellbeing, cognitive enhancement, substrate-independent mind, digital mind, digital immortality, wetware, neural interface, paradise engineering, experiential realism, philosophy of mind, transcendentalism, neo-transcendentalism
*Image Credit: Shutterstock
About the Author:
Alex Vikoulov is a neo-transcendentalist, cosmist, singularitarian, evolutionary extrapolist, digital philosopher, futurist, founder of Ecstadelic Media, painter and media artist, author of "The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution". Graduated from Armstrong University, Berkeley, CA. Lives in Burlingame, California (San Francisco Bay Area).