Is a virtual dream machine possible?

For those who wish to discuss the purely scientific aspects of sleep and dreams, including new research and future technologies.
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HAGART
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Is a virtual dream machine possible?

Postby HAGART » 13 Aug 2013 04:28

Is a virtual dream machine possible?

The movie, Inception, had one. And the way I see it, the writers were accurate in their depiction. It would be used by many elderly people as a way to live young again. The promise of the fountain of youth has always been a money maker. Just watch any 'anti-wrinkle-cream' commercial and you can see how prevalent it is.

Avatar was very similar and would give a chance for anyone with paralysis or the loss of limbs to be 'whole-again'. (There is great potential there).

I've seen dream machines in some Japanese Anime as well, such as, Paprika, and an episode of Cowboy Bebop. (In Japan they tend to take it a step further and show the dark side of such a device, like mind control.)

deschainXIX, mentioned a device called the Oculus Rift. We are already heading in that direction. I looked it up briefly, but it appears to be visual and audio only. Does it connect to your brain with electrodes? That is the next step. (But questionable....)

If a device could fully integrate with our minds and provide all sensations, not just the 5 senses, but perspiration, hunger, even salivation, proprioception, balance and many more...... how is that different from how we define reality as we perceive it?

SO HERE'S THE DISCUSSION.
- Do you think it is possible? When? In our lifetime?
- Would it be like a lucid dream, or is it lacking? Are lucid dreams more that just that?
- What are the benefits? What are the dangers?
- Would the knew technology follow the same path as the internet and be used predominantly for porn? (This is my belief and most movies won't depict that, but let's be honest! That's where I disagree with Inception and how they portrayed their main marketplace in that movie. I hate to admit it, but I have to be honest. And you could make a killing with such a technology!)
If we all lucid dreamed this world would be a better place.

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lucidinthe sky
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Re: Is a virtual dream machine possible?

Postby lucidinthe sky » 13 Aug 2013 20:26

The concept Virtual Reality in general is no longer science fiction so as far I can see, it's just a matter of time before the technology is perfected. What exists today are devices that create the experience of reality by stimulation of the senses externally, but eventually the brain could stimulated directly to produce the same results. There have already been experiments done with stimulating different parts of the brain and doing very basic things.

If you look at things on a purely experiential level and remove the concept of an objective physical reality, the difference you have is only a matter of the quality of the simulation which is purely subjective anyway. Take a look at some of the holographic images that have been produced on stages and I would say anyone on the audience would be hard pressed to tell they weren't real people standing there or walking around on stage.

I think eventually when the technology is better and becomes affordable, people will replace a lot of the things they do in life with virtual experiences because it would be faster and less expensive than doing them in real life. And if you can't tell the difference, who would mind? People will become more interested in having the experience and less interested in whether it's actually real. The only thing that would matter is the quality of the experience. Just consider watching the Olympics on TV vs. being there. You could of course argue that being there is better, just because. If actually being there is important you, O.K. that's valid. But in terms of seeing more of the details of the events going on, the virtual reality of the camera is much better than the true reality you can see from your seat. So who has the better experience? We certainly know which one costs less.
Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world? Morpheus

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Jacob46719
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Re: Is a virtual dream machine possible?

Postby Jacob46719 » 13 Aug 2013 20:40

Can't wait to use the Holodeck! :D
Never underestimate the power of the ponies.

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deschainXIX
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Re: Is a virtual dream machine possible?

Postby deschainXIX » 13 Aug 2013 21:11

Oh, it is certainly possible. Soon enough, we will use the word "impossible" less and less when it comes to technology. And yes, I think it will be in our lifetime as well.
It still will be lacking from lucid dreaming, though. Because in lucid dreaming, you have ALL your senses, more than the main stream "5." Dreams are full of meaning and have infinite possibilities.
The benefits will be generally happier people. Imagine not having to go on vacation and spending all that money! Imagine immediately hooking up to a machine that can take you into SPACE and beyond! The dangers will be that society will continue to become less and less physiologically healthy. People will stop caring about reality and get lost in the machine. People won't ever want to leave their world.
I disagree entirely that this technology would be used predominantly for pornography. I think that a VR with this level of realism will open doors to possibilities never even imagined by people beforehand. I think things like that (while they will be popular) will be lesser.
Well said.

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HAGART
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Re: Is a virtual dream machine possible?

Postby HAGART » 13 Aug 2013 23:29

Before I read the replies I was thinking about what I wrote and want to clarify a few things.

HAGART wrote:(In Japan they tend to take it a step further and show the dark side of such a device, like mind control.)

I'm going to correct myself. Inception WAS about that wasn't it? Mind control and dream machines tend to go hand in hand.

I also realized that each of the 4 examples from movies that I mentioned are different:
- Inception is like a lucid dream.

- Avatar is your mind hooked up to an actual surrogate body that exists physically and can manipulate physical matter.

- Paprika was a device that recorded your dreams and saved them to be viewed on a computer.

- The episode of Cowboy Bebop was a game console that you hook your brain up to.

So each of those types of machines are very similar in that they hook up to the mind and fool its sensory input to place you in a very convincing, virtual, reality, but each is also very different. (Well Paprika was just a dream recall device, but it goes off the deep end later in the movie...)
Last edited by HAGART on 14 Aug 2013 02:37, edited 1 time in total.
If we all lucid dreamed this world would be a better place.

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HAGART
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Re: Is a virtual dream machine possible?

Postby HAGART » 13 Aug 2013 23:43

deschainXIX wrote:I disagree entirely that this technology would be used predominantly for pornography.


Maybe the amount of porn on the internet is a stereotype and is actually less than comedians and pop culture portray it to be. You might be right. I have no evidence that it is. I only get my facts from Conan O'Brien's opening monologues! :lol:
If we all lucid dreamed this world would be a better place.

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lucidinthe sky
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Re: Is a virtual dream machine possible?

Postby lucidinthe sky » 14 Aug 2013 02:30

deschainXIX wrote:It still will be lacking from lucid dreaming, though. Because in lucid dreaming, you have ALL your senses, more than the main stream "5." Dreams are full of meaning and have infinite possibilities.
The benefits will be generally happier people. Imagine not having to go on vacation and spending all that money!


Yeah, I agree with that. The ultimate virtual reality machine is the human brain which is what produces dreams, lucid or not. We consciously create the reality we experience in dreams with no sensory inputs. As far as I can see, these dream realities are very close to perfect representations, you can even touch them.

So then we already have a virtual reality machine built in, and it's really just a matter of learning to use it and having the right information available to create what ever it is that we are trying to create.
Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world? Morpheus

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HAGART
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Re: Is a virtual dream machine possible?

Postby HAGART » 14 Aug 2013 02:49

I think what lucid dreams have, that all the possible devices wouldn't have,
is that sense of knowing something is there even before you see it.
Sometimes you can sense something is going to happen just before it does. Perhaps a person standing behind you, you sense them, you turn around and there they are!

Or if something looks different than what it should normally look like, I still somehow know what it is. I once had a short lucid dream and saw a Ritz cracker on the floor and raised it and made it shatter as a reality check. When I left the room, I woke up sadly, but it got me thinking. The 'cracker' was vibrant orange, and was across the room, too far away to discern what it is with my waking eyes. But in the dream, I just knew and felt that it was a Ritz cracker. (It's all an illusion really, but for some reason I recognized it as an object I know of, even though it looked nothing like it.)

In a lucid dream, our state of mind is different. I don't know if that is good or bad, but just an observation.
If we all lucid dreamed this world would be a better place.

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deschainXIX
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Re: Is a virtual dream machine possible?

Postby deschainXIX » 14 Aug 2013 02:52

Exactly my point, HAGART! I lot of people don't know this, but we, as humans, have WAY more senses than the popular and well-known 5.
Here's an article if you're interested! :)
http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/07/humans-have-a-lot-more-than-five-senses/
Well said.

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lucidinthe sky
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Re: Is a virtual dream machine possible?

Postby lucidinthe sky » 14 Aug 2013 18:25

Jacob46719 wrote:Can't wait to use the Holodeck! :D


Had an interesting dream about that last night. I'm in the basement of my dad's house with a flashlight and find this guy hiding behind some clothes that were hanging up. He was dressed in strange clothes and had on a small mask, mainly just around his eyes. I told him he shouldn't just show up in people's houses like that. Then he explained he was a time traveler, and when I asked about the year, he wrote down the year 8900 with some difficulty. I proceeded to start asking all kinds of questions regarding the existing technology they had. I can't remember a lot of it, but I did ask him how they communicated, comparing to our cell phones. He said everyone carries one of these and pulled out something that looked like an analog clock. Then he said "this does everything". It had lots of functions including communication. He started using it to make music which sounded like we were in concert hall, then lit up the entire room with really interesting holograms in green and yellow tones. Hope he shows up again, I have so many more questions to ask.
Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world? Morpheus


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