Upload rehearsal?

Crosby_M (CrosbyM@po1.cpi.bls.gov)
Mon, 28 Oct 1996 12:56:29 -0500

On Wednesday, October 23, 1996 10:36 AM, James Snapp wrote:
<my question was phrased poorly..."Is anyone familiar with somewhere I
could physically transport myself to in order to *experience* (undoubtedly
only one of many theoretical ideas of "what" the uploaded lifestyle would
feel like) a type of "upload" consciousness?" I am referring to "shedding
the body" (hence involving sensory deprivation to diminish sensory input),
and using thought (?) to manipulate a "created" environment.>

On Saturday, October 26, 1996 6:11 AM, Hara Ra replied:
<Check your locale for a provider of Sensory Isolation Tanks. Here in Santa
Cruz you can rent one for $20/hour. Here is the URL of a manufacturer of
same, about $5000. You can also build one, cost around $500....>

I think James was really asking if anyone has combined something like a
sensory isolation tank with a virtual reality. The problem I see is that
these tanks don't allow the user to move around much or provide any way to
interactively manipulate a VR. Even if a helmet could be designed to
provide the VR to the person in an otherwise sensory isolated environment,
I don't think anyone has yet satisfactorily developed a system that would
allow the user to interact with the VR without using their hands, although
the military probably has some systems for pilots that track eye movements
as a system manipulation method.

In the mean time, there is *another* approach to sensory isolation and the
experience of VR. It's called dreaming! Basically, when we are dreaming,
the body's normal sensors and actuators are 'switched off' and the mind
uses our current 'goal stacks' and memories to simulate scenarios and
outcomes. Lucid dreaming and related techniques for trying to direct the
content of these dreams might be useful exercises for analyzing situations
and techniques that an uploaded person might need to interact with their
virtual environment.

One of the more sophisticated immersive VR environments at the present time
is the CAVE system of DeFanti, et.al. at the Electronic Visualization Lab
at the University of Chicago:


There also is an interesting interview with Tom DeFanti in the latest issue
of Mondo 2000.

Mark Crosby

"We go back to the beginning. We are only observers, after all, and not
actors, now that our labor is done. The information we gather can have no
effect on the times we'll gather it from ... They sped along the conduits
reserved for the subtle messages of subatomic particles, space-time's
hidden circuitry." - Greg Bear, _Eternity_