Meditation and other techniques that offer insights of how consciousness works existed long before the appearance of neurotechnology and neuroscience.
In our current day, neuroscience exists within the scientific domain while work with states of consciousness (such as meditation) exist within the spiritual domain. So far they exist in different ontologies with almost no connection between them.
There are scientific studies of meditation and other techniques that demonstrate certain correlations, such as the rise of alpha and theta brain waves or the activation of certain areas of the brain at the time of concentration or meditation. Science is starting to explore those areas and continues to push the horizons of the academic research. For the spiritual realm, such progress allows for the creation of a more accessible language for broadcasting subjective experience.
But research from an independent observer position does not lead to consolidation of existing ontologies. Scientists will have to be a participant in the process, engaging into the experience of meditation and other practices.
Such a process may allow for consolidating ontologies and creating new protocols for communication, which will combine neurotech and the practices of mindfulness. This is the main goal of our lab.
What's the Point?
We observe that the main technologies have always been developed by hierarchical structures that want to strengthen their own position. There is a lot of examples of negative scenarious, for example the mind control towers from the novel "Inhabited Island" by the Strugatsky brothers. How can we avoid such a scenario for the application of neurotechnology?
Technologies that transform human identity have a significant influence on possible future scenarios and may alter them from the most positive to the most negative. That is why we choose to work with neurotechnology within the framework of this laboratory.
We can not stop the continued evolution of technology new technologies will always appead. Instead, we see this laboratory as a space to develop a different approach — one of personal responsibility — to the use of technology. This approach asks us to be conscious of the image of our desired future and use technology toward that end.
We believe it is necessary to create spaces where free experimentation with new technologies and humanitarian frameworks coexist. Where participants live in a horizontally-organized community and go through a transformational process of searching for the meanings of life and the models of action in a new, complex world. We call this space "Technoashram".
Process of Laboratory
There are 4 main roles in the lab — scientist, programmer, meditator and visualizer — and two additional roles — journalist/blogger/promoter and facilitator.
Stage 1: the exploration of particular states of mind
Meditators identify, with the help of the scientists and the rest of the laboratory, states of consciousness to be practiced and analyzed. For example — deep relaxation or concentration. Furthermore, scientists, visualizers, and programmers develop programming to analyze EEG signals. A meditator enters into the chosen state of consciousness, observing the visualization of data from the neurointerfaces. This creates a neurofeedback loop. Next, visualizers and programmers optimize the rendering algorithm to ease the entry into this state of consciousness for all participants (not only for meditators). The algorithm uses a deep learning neural network technology, which adjusts the visualization for a specific user. The program works with a variety of stimuli - visual, auditory, sensory.
Stage 2: The synchronization of two people in certain states of consciousness
Process is similar to the first stage but the level of synchronization between states of consciousness between two (or more) people is added to the neurofeedback loop. This creates a new protocol for communication.
The idea of the laboratory is based on our experience with the Neuro Sync performance, in which poets and musicians synchronized brain rhythms with the help of shared field of visual neurofeedback.
Why go further?
Experience with those performances showed that this technology has the potential for development. We are open to the study of a similar experience with neurofeedback technology from other lab members.
Who are we waiting for
25 people who may be connect with one or more of the follwing categories:
• Practitioners working with states of consciousness (eg, concentration, meditation, mindfulness)
• Scientists who study the brain and the mind, in particular, neuroscientists and cognitive scientists
• Media artists and animators engaged in digital art
• Programmers who work with data streams, deep neural network learning, VR and AR.
• journalists, bloggers, popularizers
...who are open to joint experiment and willing to co-create.
• Creation of a software prototype that allows to enter in certain states of consciousness such as the state of relaxation and concentration. The algorithm uses a deep learning neural network technology, and it works with a variety of stimuli — visual, auditory, sensitive, including with the use of VR and AR. Software code will be posted as open source.
• Scientific results (article / collaborative interdisciplinary research)
Humanitarian (for the participants):
• Exploration of your own mental processes, an experience of different states of consciousness
• The experience of living together and co-creation in a limited space and a closed community.
• An understanding of existing limitations, barriers, emotions and characteristics that prevent us to negotiate and understand each other
• Experience of building a community based on trust and sincerity as opposed to mainstream hierarchical and competitive logic.
Time and place
10 first days of May 2018
The space that:
• can host 30 people for living and working together throughout the whole event
• outside any major city
• has spaces for common processes and for work in small groups
• helps to maintain process integrity
To host this event we are looking to attract a variety of resources.
Some of them are:
• Accommodation and meals for participants and organizers
• Equipment (neurointerfaces, computing power, VR-helmets, etc.)
• Transfer of participants to the event venue
• Fee for speakers, moderators
• Photo and video recordings of the event, content for further distribution in media
• Administrative costs