This week I’m veering away from the mainstream Cyber Security warnings. I’d like to address what I see is a far more sinister technological threat: Virtual Reality. What’s that, now? VR? Those super cool headsets that allow you to take tours of the Louvreand treat veterans with PTSD? Exactly that.
Of all the most threatening devices, beasts and disasters; man is always the deadliest. Whether it’s through the invention of weaponry, murder, war, spreading of disease or simply poor life choices; we are own worst enemies.
Let’s go dark side…
What prevents most people from causing harm to others?
- Fear of getting caught
- Lack of resources or ability
- Lack of motivation
Now, what if causing harm were state-sanctioned, supported, trained and paid for? During times of war for example? Well, that takes care of three out of four of those reasons. But what about that empathy? Having a conscience is one reason that cause soldiers to return home from battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Imagine a world where soldiers never experienced trauma and could take orders to execute their enemies with no remorse?
Let’s make Sociopaths!
Stanley Kubrick knew it. We can rewire the brain through neural stimulation. To Kubrick’s credit, the premise of A Clockwork Orange was to prevent the psychosexual violent tendencies of a futuristic gang of sociopaths. But what if we could reverse that and actually create sociopaths?
I don’t want to sound the alarm against ultra-cool gaming, incredible experiences or medical breakthroughs. However, we need to understand that with repeated exposure to any mental stimuli there are darker uses-we could begin rewiring someone’s brain.
Human behavior is mostly determined by a series of neural pathways that have gotten created through repetition. This is why Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) works. CBT is designed to replace undesirable patterns of behavior by changing the thoughts and feelings that lead to these behaviors. It’s essentially redirecting the way you arrived at a particular thought or feeling with a new pathway. A neural path.
A Path to Destruction
Now, put that power in the wrong hands, say a dictator’s or a terrorist regime and we’ve opened up the potential to not only create suicide bombers but a whole new breed of soldiers willing to harm anyone who gets in the way. No remorse. No fear. No conscience.
While we’re all running around shouting about the dangers of Cyber Crime, Ransomware, Phishing and DDoS attacks; I wouldn’t be surprised if there isn’t already a bunker of scientists somewhere using Virtual Reality to train the next evolution of mercenaries, terrorists or fanatics.
Talk about Cyber Security
What does cyber security include? Personally, I think the discussion of our safety should include the technology we can see being used against us and the technology that’s yet to be revealed as doing so.