If technology were not the limiting factor

Suppose technology were not the limiting factor. What then would we actually end up with as a “holodeck”?

Would it be like the vision we saw in 1987 in the TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation? Or would it be radically different?

If we could enable anything, will people want to have the sense that their physical being is transported into another world? That very literal vision is both comforting and limiting.

Or might it be more like Ready Player One, where you are transformed into a being with great powers that make sense only in a virtual world?

Or will we split the difference? The Matrix posits a virtual world that seems just like this one, until you unlock the codes that give you super powers.

Or will we gradually abandon this literal body image, and shift to something else entirely? That probably seems like a very strange idea, yet if everyone does it, it will just seem normal.

After all, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy were represented only by a string of words printed on paper. In 1813 nobody seemed to mind.

One Response to “If technology were not the limiting factor”

  1. Thibault says:

    It partly depends on what we count for an holodeck experience : in a sense lucid dreaming and psychedelics are far more advanced in this regard, both being a state of consciousness, one of which induced by a serotin-like molecule, albeit less controlled (and hardly shared).

    But when you look at what current state of language model can produce (ala GPT-3), one can wonder what the future brings in this regard (looking at aidungeon.com).

    I think part of the appeals of generated worlds or alternate realities is – like stories – to integrate part of our selves, to achieve individuation in jungian term. Both as an individual experience and part of the whole.

    But if we could generate infinite space of our wildest fantasy, why bother with our struggles and natural reality ? Would we escape in artificial paradises ?

    The most sci-fi part of Star-Trek is potentially assuming that in a world where holodeck and food replicators (probably same tech) exist, mankind will have the wisdom to continue exploring strange new worlds. But that’s probably because entropy needs someones to feed the machine.

    The holodeck is in TNG, and probably will be in reality, a centaure (a term coined by Nicky Case) : to pierce the veil of reality we would always need a creating mind. What we would endup with, whatever form it will take is a human head-director and a machine body-producer.

    But overall I suspect the most interesting way to touch this holographic state is through an alterate state of consciousness. The question then become what tool can help us achieve that ?

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