Cyber Mushroom: Can a psychedelic expertise come to life with digital actuality?
Higher but, what for those who might present it to somebody?
Terrence McKenna, a macrodose mushroom explorer and outspoken psychedelic advocate, has been recognized to wax poetic concerning the untapped potential of digital actuality, saying “The factor that excites me most about these data applied sciences is I believe we’ll be capable to use digital actuality to indicate one another what’s inside our heads” at a symposium Titled “Dreaming Awake on the Finish of Time” in December 1998.
Right this moment, this feat is not only a guess, however relatively fairly literal and continuously bettering in its capabilities and accuracy. Enter Cyber Mushroom, a “digital actuality mushroom journey” designed by London-based technologist and futurist Batuhan Pentas.
“I used to be initially impressed to create Cyber Mushroom as a strategy to ‘hack the system,’” says Batuhan, who goes by “Batu” for brief.
“Psychedelics modified my life. I would like everybody to expertise the facility and fantastic thing about a mushroom journey; sadly, psychedelics are unlawful in most nations. So I questioned, how can I discover a strategy to let extra folks expertise the magic of mushrooms? My reply that mushrooms supplied was by expertise.” digital.
The drug modified my life. I would like everybody to expertise the facility and fantastic thing about the mushroom journey
I first encountered Patu demonstrating the Cyber Mushroom in an enormous atrium on the College of Exeter through the Breaking Conference drug analysis convention in March 2023.
The area hacker and digital wizard, the larger-than-life determine behind the Cyber Mushroom, appears to be all over the place without delay as she exhibits off her valuable digital expertise through the frenetic multi-day conference.
Of the many individuals making an attempt out the expertise over the course of the week, I solely noticed Mushroom King Paul Stamets taking the headset for a check journey.
“My present imaginative and prescient for Cyber Mushroom is to create a digital platform the place folks can share their journey studies and immerse themselves in one another’s journeys by digital actuality. This fashion we will create a library of journey studies. I’m a real believer that psychedelic experiences have extra in widespread than variations – as If solely these experiences linked us to a standard parallel dimension.
Patu has discovered many individuals prepared to immerse himself in his wisecracking digital expertise, which continues to replace, enhance, and develop horizons because the expertise itself evolves.
Inside the Cyber Mushroom platform, vacationers are tasked with selecting from a lot of completely different mushrooms unfold out in a digital actuality area on a desk in entrance of them. Members select which mushroom they want to ‘journey’ with utilizing the guide controls supplied as a part of the expertise, and upon grabbing a mushroom they’re propelled right into a coordinated digital journey by time and area.
Digital worlds throughout the platform embody Mayan and Egyptian pyramids and decorations, a large Sphinx, a towering mushroom swirling on electrical inexperienced grass, light-up and radiant alphabet tunnels, and a large Terrence McKenna himself that folks can work together with amongst different spectacular options.
Pato was an everyday presence on the European competition circuit final summer time – after our first assembly at Breaking Conference in England, I caught up with him once more on the 30,000-capacity Ozora competition in Hungary within the first week of August. As soon as once more, the Cyber Mushroom has created a buzz amongst festival-goers that solely superior expertise can do that.
After Ozora, I ventured to England with Batou and spent a number of days hanging out in East London with the eccentric digital chemist. I had the chance to see the Cyber Mushroom woven into the social cloth of the group there, as Batu and the Cyber Mushroom know many individuals from completely different demographics and subcultures.
We headed to Oxfordshire collectively to showcase our wearable mushroom trekking expertise once more on the Campout convention.
The expertise incorporates many fascinating parts of a high-dose mushroom journey, most notably the inexperienced alphanumeric and alphabetical shapes that dangle like a vertical curtain and evolve in actual time. I watched a number of numbly naïve folks don the cybernetic headset and work together, every of them seeming utterly impressed by the individuality and unusual magic of the cybernetic journey. One Cyber Mushroom digital nomad even famous that the expertise reminded them extra of a DMT journey than the mushroom experiences they’d had.
Analysis into VR functions to be used as a companion characteristic or integration instrument alongside psychedelics is being carried out at prestigious establishments resembling Maastricht College within the Netherlands, the place neurocognitive researcher Zeus Thibado is at present investigating the intersection of DMT and VR. Various different psychedelic corporations are investigating digital therapeutics together with ketamine remedy as effectively.
Patu’s aspirations to understand the total potential of digital actuality embody social influence past cyber pleasure. He has taken his VR headset and VR instructional software program to catastrophe zones to assist free the minds and souls of individuals bodily trapped in conditions past their management. Following the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey earlier this 12 months, Batu introduced digital actuality to folks on the bottom as a method to assist them reconnect with a way of optimism and inspiration throughout very troublesome occasions. He goals to do the identical in refugee camps all over the world as effectively.
An added benefit with Cyber Mushroom is that it’s well-suited for kids and the aged who can expertise the “psychological playground” of an expanded state of mushroom-informed consciousness with out the accompanying feeling of depth and extended overwhelm of the senses which will happen through the precise psilocybin mushroom-induced state. If issues get heavy, one can merely take away the headset.
As a veteran psychonaut, I need to warning that the Cyber Mushroom VR expertise doesn’t measure as much as an precise high-dose mushroom journey at the moment. For one factor, the distinct bodily sensation of heat and rolling vibrations is absent from the digital model of the journey, and the photographs themselves clearly don’t comprise the identical tendency to see a private imaginative and prescient and reflection of the internal contents of 1’s psyche. However all of that is topic to alter as digital actuality and knowledge applied sciences proceed to advance quickly and adapt real-time enter from customers within the digital tripping paradigm. The potential for performing tactile sensory experiences by carrying a customized physique go well with can also be one thing one might think about contemplating the more and more life like psychedelic expertise supplied by the Cyber Mushroom in some unspecified time in the future sooner or later.
“My future imaginative and prescient is to attach each digital mushroom throughout the expertise to AI, so you may discuss on to the mushroom. Utilizing generative AI, it might create the journey or world you need to share or expertise immediately. Finally, we could possibly join the mushroom community Your complete organism is supplied with synthetic intelligence and digital actuality in order that we will talk immediately with the biggest and oldest dwelling organism on our planet.Batu is glorified by his boundless optimism and curiosity.
Whereas the mainstreaming of psychedelics and rising applied sciences like digital actuality and synthetic intelligence characterize unknown alternatives and challenges for the worldwide group, the stewardship of visionaries like Batuhan Pintas, the promise of Cyber Mushroom, and related platforms present tangible causes to co-create a greater future the place expertise is enabled. By way of humanity relatively than utterly opposing it.