“Founding Father” of virtual reality Jaron Lanier: “If you control the person’s reality, you control the person… “Never has a medium been so potent for beauty and so vulnerable to creepiness.”
This Christmas, many Americans will receive VR (Virtual Reality) gadgets. The bulky headsets are introducing us to the concept of virtual interaction that Facebook and major tech companies hope to get us drawn into for life. Transhumanists see these technologies as a step toward the integration of the human brain with computers.
Virtual Reality headsets are one type of virtual interaction. Augmented reality (which involves digital information about real physical locations, products, and people displayed on cell phone screens, and eventually contact lenses) is being introduced to the masses through cell phone apps like Snapchat and Facebook’s camera app. VR technologies are projected to become billion dollar industries over the next several years.
Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook are all heavily investing in and developing products that will plunge users into a new “augmented” reality that is superimposed over our real world.
“We will wander not one, but two worlds — the physical and the digital — wearing glasses or contact lenses that can summon information about the street we are walking on or the restaurant we are eating in or let us manipulate digital objects that feel real but aren’t really there.
As technologies are being developed to draw humanity even further into the digital realm, Facebook itself has admitted that its app is harmful to mental health. The company also recently announced that it is enhancing its artificial intelligence programs to “help prevent suicide.” Reuters reports that the system suggests resources to the suicidal user, and that Facebook employees may even alert local authorities.
An Artificial Intelligence, augmented reality “smart” overlay is being constructed over our world. Transhumanist proponents say that the human body will be integrated into this system. Multiple individuals have warned about an elite group in the technological community seeking to enslave humanity.
Computer scientist and father of virtual reality tech, Jaron Lanier, named in Time Magazine’s top 100 most influential people for 2010, calls this group “Cybernetic totalists”. Lanier points out that this elite group may “…cause suffering for millions of people.” Lanier writes in the year 2000 in his “One Half A Manifesto” that,
“There is a real chance that evolutionary psychology, artificial intelligence, Moore’s Law fetishizing, and the rest of the package, will catch on in a big way, as big as Freud or Marx did in their times. Or bigger, since these ideas might end up essentially built into the software that runs our society and our lives. If that happens, the ideology of cybernetic totalist intellectuals will be amplified from novelty into a force that could cause suffering for millions of people.”
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Lanier said that “This is such a scary time, isn’t it?… I mean, it is for me. I had always feared we would create this social-manipulation technology out of computers.”