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Tools of the Technocracy: #6 Virtual Reality
Seeing is believing, and the capability to leverage your own senses against you only gets more extreme over time.
What is reality?
Is it what you can touch?
What you can feel?
What you see?
How much do your thoughts and past experiences shape those things?
As of 2020, Most forms of mind control are constructed through incentive structures:
Social media algorithms incentivize specific kinds of engagement to maximize people’s reprogramming of each other. Strong financial incentives are used to shape interactions and transform entire sectors of society in various ways. Mainstream media still shapes a powerful impression of the state of reality for a significant amount of people, creating top-down cultural incentives.
Academia isn’t safe either, despite all the criticism placed on the public over trading autonomy, independence & integrity for convenience...all kinds of institutions are far more egregiously guilty of the same offense. Ironically, due to the slow rate of change in organizations; they are often trapped into choosing the simplest changes, rather than the more important ones. Over time this creates a tidal-wave of institutional change that costs significantly more energy, resources, and career credit to oppose than to ride. This often pushes institutions to adopt technology and solutions that work against people, rather than for them.
A massive game-changer for the technocracy will be the ability to build powerful behavior modification systems (mind control) that take advantage of your own senses. Cognitive warfare is waged by exploiting vulnerabilities in our minds. Overcoming these effects is much more challenging than simply recognizing incentives and working around them when possible. When it comes to perception control, every drop of prevention is worth an ocean of cure. Because we’re only at the beginning of witnessing these techniques, we can only speculate on the extent of the dangers. As always, it will be of utmost importance to guard your mental, emotional, and even spiritual state in the face of these challenges.
When most people think of virtual reality they think of high-resolution displays presenting a 3D environment for people to explore and interact with complex controllers. Tactile improvements to people’s ability to really feel what’s in these environments are only getting better and better. The only thing slowing this down seems to be people getting motion sick from playing for more than short periods of time. As more improvements are made and more problems get addressed this will become the frontier of multi-media content. Suddenly, instead of learning things in purely abstract ways, people will be able to learn all kinds of things by doing it. With truly endless possibilities this means that VR will also be the state-of-the-art delivery mechanism for propaganda.
For now, when a tragedy or circumstance is exploited to drive people’s emotions; the technocracy has a couple of ways to convey the situation. As this technology develops and becomes more ubiquitous, the technocracy will be able to have people experience these events directly, in a completely crafted scenario. The lines between propaganda, entertainment, learning, and all kinds of things will be blurred even more than they are already. Virtual reality will be the information war battleground of the future, but as it stands it won’t be a battle but outright mind-slaughter. Unless people’s ability to create and distribute these experiences is democratized, large institutions will enjoy a massive advantage in controlling content. This is a significant challenge because of the significant start-up costs.
The campaign doesn’t end there however; virtual reality technology won’t end with nicer displays, controls, and tactile feedback. As cybernetics improve, there will be powerful incentives to have these systems send direct signals to your body. This would allow these devices to save incredible amounts of energy and provide a level of immersion that is currently impossible. This shift from presenting stimuli to create signals in your brain, to sending those signals directly to your brain will exponentially increase the power and influence of those who have control of these systems.
Surely this technology wouldn’t be forced on people right? It will stay purely in the realm of entertainment and all you’ll have to do is turn off the VR TV right? This is sadly not the case. As long as our society still yields to top-down control, almost every institution will have powerful incentives to adopt these tools. Training and education will likely be the first place to majorly adopt these systems because of how powerful an information transfer tool they are. It will also enhance automation efforts. In a society driven by these technologies, your rights to bodily autonomy will be seen as an outdated inefficiency that gets in the way of powerful societal “innovation”. Big data and machine learning has a massive role to play in this space. Many of these devices will be used to get more data from people to learn how to further manipulate them.
The competitive advantages and economies of scale could make these problems nearly impossible to uproot. It is absolutely critical to do all we can to prevent these systems from driving all our lives in the way that the internet does already. Digital currencies are a very powerful system for bootstrapping new technologies, and it is no longer inconceivable that people will be bribed into transforming their body into a test-bed for novel technology. It is of utmost importance that we work to protect bodily autonomy in an environment where people will be even more motivated to set it all aside. We as a society have already gravely crossed red lines that never should have been crossed.
Pushing back against centralization and control takes a great deal of active focus to start. Once you’ve regained some of your own independence and liberty you can then help bring it to others. The crux of these issues is not necessarily the technologies themselves. Instead, it’s our cultural acceptance for top-down control of so many aspects of our lives. Bringing awareness of these issues, and what we should prioritize to safeguard ourselves can go a long way.
Learn, Create & Share
The primary advantage the technocracy has is a monopoly on people’s perception of reality. A very effective way to turn the tide in the information war is to share art, beauty, and stories that bring people hope, and a desire for change. Anything you can create to bring more independence and freedom into their lives is worth making. Try to have appreciation for the great works people have created. Try to appeal to people’s better selves, instead of cynically just trying to win with snark.
Support open software and hardware
Many of these systems aren’t going away. Being able to liberate people from these systems may require a significant amount of technical skill and tooling. There is a great deal of potential in prosthetics and assistive technology. We can avert many of dangers by promoting software and hardware freedom. There is a treasure-trove of opportunity when we realign our focus to support and prioritize ways to enhance each other’s lives.