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transformative technology

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Transformative technology is hardware- and software-based tools designed to enhance human psychological well-being, cognitive function and physical capabilities.

Transformative technologies include:

Virtual reality therapy – the use of VR to enhance physical and psychological well-being. VR therapy has been applied for sports training and stroke and paraplegia recovery as well as treatment for mental health issues including phobias, stress, anxiety and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

Digital drugs (binaural beats) -- audio recordings capable of changing brain wave patterns and inducing an altered state of consciousness similar to that effected by taking physical drugs or achieving a deep state of meditation.

Mindfulness training -- in a tech context, apps designed to help participants increase their ability to live fully in the present moment. That capacity reduces stress and burnout and leads to greater engagement and productivity.

Affective computing -- AI systems that can assess human emotion through data gathered from faces, voices and body language. An important business goal of AC is to build human-computer interfaces that can detect and appropriately respond to an end user's state of mind.

Biofeedback – systems that access biological data from the user, such as heart rate, breathing patterns and skin changes and help them control physiological responses to improve physical and mental health.

The old adage that we only use 10 percent of our brain is no longer considered valid -- it’s more accurate to say that the other 90 percent is also active, but we’re not sure exactly what it is doing. According to experts such as Michael Hutchinson, author of Mega Brain, the human capacity for transformation is vast:

“What we think of as normal intelligence is probably just a pale shadow of the brain’s actual powers and faculties. It’s as if we’ve been given superbly engineered sports cars in which we’ve been putt-putting about without ever shifting out of first gear, never realizing that there were higher gears."

Transformative technologies are one aspect of what is being referred to as consciousness hacking. The other two elements of consciousness hacking are practices such as shamanic drumming and meditation, and psychedelics such as peyote and ayahuasca.

The term transformative technology is also sometimes used in reference to disruptive technology.

This was last updated in April 2018

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