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Can Virtual Reality Sidestep The Time Travel Paradox?

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There are two technologies that humanity has been looking forward to for decades. One of these technologies is time travel. The other is virtual reality. You may want to throw ‘flying cars’ up there somewhere as well, but some people haven’t seemed to realize that planes essentially are just that. Regardless, of all of these technologies that humanity has wished for, only one of them has come to pass so far: virtual reality. The thing is, with virtual reality, it may be possible to experience the other technologies through it.
Granted, virtual reality will never be able to truly, physically send you through time and space to exist in a different era. But, with the power of virtual reality, it may be possible to experience the past and future in every sense besides the legitimate physical.

Imagine, for instance, virtual reality that lets you experience the American Revolution firsthand. As a soldier perhaps, or even one of the commanders. Or perhaps you would just be present in an ethereal sense, watching everything from the safety of virtual reality. Or consider the opposite. What if you could go into virtual reality, and experience a programmer’s idea of the world in the year 3000? While you can’t claim any accuracy to what people think is the future (though Back to the Future did an uncannily good job with their Cubs World Series prediction), you could still experience what people believe the future will be like, from flying DeLorean’s to those hover boards we never got when we were supposed to.

Obviously, none of this will truly take you to the past or the future. You will still physically be present in the world of 2017, but, the real question is, does it make a difference? If you experience something that is so real to your senses that it may as well have been, does it really matter if it actually happened? To some people it might, but to many others it does not.

If you could use virtual reality to experience say, sky-diving, would it not be the same as actually sky diving so long as it was realistic? The same notion can be held to the idea of pseudo-time travel through virtual reality. Maybe you didn’t really travel in time back to the Crusades, the American Revolution, or one of the World Wars. Maybe you didn’t really travel to the year 3000 and witness the future. But if the experience is real enough, is it not the same as though you actually did?

It is something that is yet to be seen, but highly anticipated by all. Moreover, the potential is nearly limitless. With this kind of virtual reality, will the way history is taught change? Will students be able to experience renditions of the history they are learning first hand? And what of religion? Rather than read the Bible or the Quran, will you be able to experience every part of it from the perspective of someone who was actually there? You very well could, provided that a programmer desires to make it so.

In the end, virtual reality is one of the most exciting things to happen to humanity in decades. And though we may never truly travel through time, who knows what we could one day experience through the power of the technology we now have. I’ll meet you there or, rather, then.

Original post on SpiritualVR.com

Mindfulness and Technology

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Originating in Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness is becoming increasingly popular in the West as the incidence of anxiety, depression, and stress-related disorders plague the undercurrent of our fast-paced industrialized way of life. Recent scientific research on mindfulness has demonstrated beneficial effects on several holistic aspects of personal health, including the mind, the body, and behavior.

Mindfulness meditation has been proven medically effective to decrease stress and improve well-being when practiced consistently. Yet many people still struggle with the concept or application of mindfulness-based therapy. A new wave of delivery is emerging which is combining this ancient practice with modern technology to bridge the gap and appeal to a modern generation of meditators. Studies show not only relaxation, but important shifts in cognition, emotion, biology, and behavior that may work synergistically to improve health. There is also emerging evidence that mindfulness training is associated with greater meaning and peace in one’s life (spirituality), as well as enhanced relationships with others (Carmody et al., 2008Carson et al., 2004)

Imagine you are sitting peacefully on a beautiful beach. You can hear seagulls against a backdrop of pebbles clinking together with each breaking wave. You take deep belly breaths and listen to your meditation teacher as she sits beside you and guides you through the film roll of anxiety and consciousness unfolding behind your eyes. Now imagine that you take off your virtual reality headset to discover you in fact never left your own living room (and saved hundreds of dollars on a flight to a meditation retreat in India.) This is an example of one scenario that modern entrepreneurs are envisioning the marriage of mindfulness and technology to enhance the effectiveness of well-being and relaxation intervention. Virtual reality devices can be combined with health tracking technology such as Provada Health‘s iOS app; “…incorporated into (the) app (is) the ability to link health-tracking wearables, such as the Apple Watch, to quantify the effects of a meditation session on, for example, your resting heart rate. Or look at how your sleep is being affected by taking time out to meditate.”

Modern gaming technology is another avenue where it seems there is potential for mindfulness to be cultivated. Take for example one gaming app available via Play Store called ‘Pause,’ which was created through the principles of mindfulness meditation and Tai Chi. The creator Peng Cheng explains, “It started with my own severe experience of stress and depression. I gave myself 6 months, I practically didn’t do anything but I meditated and practiced Tai Chi with the goal to do nothing but staying in the here and now as much as possible.” The simple game involves a little blob which follows your finger across the screen and facilitates focused awareness by growing in size as you maintain a slow concentrated speed. “Most of our stress only exists in our head and absorbs all our attention. To break this pattern, I need to focus on what is physical and tangible and actively put my attention in the moment.”

Cultivating focused attention in the present moment is the core foundation of mindfulness practice preached hundreds of years ago, in ancient India, and today via a squiggly blob on a hand-held screen or through a high-tech headset. Proper use of technology has the capacity to transform the quality of our lives and the delivery of ancient therapies such as mindfulness which are being lost on a section of the modern generation unaccustomed or afraid of ‘spiritual mumbo jumbo.’ Many trials of research have found that people with higher levels of mindfulness – even without “formal” meditation training – report feeling less stressed, anxious and depressed, and more joyful, inspired, grateful, hopeful, content, vital, and satisfied with life (Baer et al., 2006; Brown & Ryan, 2003; Cardaciotto et al., 2008; Feldman et al., 2007; Walach et al., 2006).

Another benefit of mindfulness is the ability to recognize and accurately label emotions (Analayo, 2003). More mindful people appear to have a greater ability to control emotional reactions in the middle part of the brain (the amygdala and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex [ACC]) by engaging the front part of the brain (the prefrontal cortex [PFC]), which is associated with attention, concentration, and emotion regulation. This means when you’re practicing mindfulness you’ll better be able to control your emotions and correct unpleasant mood states.

Believe it or not, there is increasing scientific evidence to support the therapeutic effect of mindfulness meditation training on stress-related medical conditions, including psoriasis, type 2 diabetes, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic low back pain, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Several new technologies, including brain imaging, wearable tech. and virtual reality, are being used to look at and extend the potential health benefits of mindfulness. Finally, research is beginning to prove what mindfulness practitioners have known for centuries…that greater focus, awareness, acceptance, and empathy can make for more flexible, adaptive responses to stress, which, in turn, can help free us from suffering and realize greater well-being & happiness.

Original article

Shifting the Paradigm Summit at Esalen Oct. 9-14th

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Digital Raign and Wisdompreneurs presents a VR-focused event centered on entrepreneurship and wisdom practices in this week long immersion.

More on the experience:
http://www.digitalraign.com/wp-esalen

This is an industry immersive with multifaceted components including: thought leadership & network expansion, a lab to bring ideas and impact initiatives to life, an invitation into balance and self-care and an exploration regarding the reality revolution and the fundamentals of this exploding industry.

Here is a look at some of the content programming we are looking to design into the experience:

•          Mechanics of an Empathy Engine

•          Perspective: Diversity & Women’s Influence

•          Sound crafting for emotional engagement 

•          Consciousness Expanded: Neuroscience & Behavior Change

•          Cause: Social Impact & 4Good Initiatives for Global Challenges

•          The Coming Experience Economy 

•          Exponential Tech Convergence

•          Culture Creation 

•          Virtual Worlds

•          Nature of Reality 

•          Paint the Future: Ignite Talks

•          Unconference

Here’s who’s said yes to co-creating the experience: Walter Greenleaf of Stanford Virtual Human Interaction LabLucy Caldwell of Silicon Valley Social Venture FundToshi Anders Hoo of Institute for the FutureErika Barraza of Singularity UniversityMikey Siegel of Consciousness Hacking, Nicole Bradford of Transformative Technology LabFrank Fitzpatrick of EarthTonesMina Lee at Stealth, Dan Mapes of Cyberlab 9, Linda Copenhagen of Seiler LLPJohann Wolf of Magnificent AgencyNicole Radziwill and Morgan Benton of James Madison University, Chris Smith and Eric Levin ofJuno VREvonne Heyning of ExO WorksCelestine Johnson of Boom Capital, Craig Allen of Creative Alchemy Inc, Danielle Strle of New Museum NYCFred Davis of Runway, Sarah Filley of Popup HoodDustin Wish of LeEco, Keren Flavell of TownHall AppShalom Ormsby of Autodesk Pier 9 Workshop.

Our partners and advisors include: Barry Pousman of Variable Labs, Lisa Padilla of SpiritualVRDon Stein of Virtual Reality Investments LLCJodi Schiller of ARVR Women, Cris Miranda of Vivid Vision and EnterVRIrena Cronin of SpoutVR and VR SocietyAlan Smithson of MetaVRse, Bioneers, Transformative Technology Conference and Prototyping the Future. We are also proud to be working with VR Scout as our Summit VR Media Partner.

From our culture labs: DJ Spooky will be presenting remotely his new collaboration with Stanford and NASA, exploring experimental cosmology, The Hidden Code. We are working to find a way to work with Android Jones through his immersive Samskara experience of his new music/visual VR app MicroDose.

Space is limited, please join us! I can answer questions about this event. Just ask!

SpiritualVR finds a new home at Upload Collective

Lisa Padilla

SpiritualVR is seeing some big changes this month. Our team is growing and we’re on the move. This week we added a desk over at Upload Collective, UploadVRs hottest VR co-working space in the Bay Area, equipped with some of the latest AR/VR hardware and software coming off the presses. I’m seen here wearing the Microsoft HoloLens, an augmented reality headset from the software giant, being used for enterprise and consumer applications alike.

Read more about SpiritualVR here.

About UploadVR

Upload is on a mission to accelerate the growth of the consumer VR/AR industry and use immersive technology to make a positive global impact.

At UploadVR, we believe that virtual reality and augmented reality are going to bring data into three dimensions, unlocking the next platform of computing. Through conferences, events, community, daily news coverage, talent placement, corporate connections, content creation, and more, we do everything in our power to grow the industry and move toward a path of positive impact. We are always interested in learning about new opportunities and leveraging our position to help those in need. We look forward to building the future with you all!