Author Topic: The Possible Future of Videogames and [NZ,Aus] the shadowy world of "Neurocam"  (Read 54 times)

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The Neurocam story follows ...

source: https://www.futureconscience.com/timeline-future-of-videogames/

Whilst looking into gaming apps for BCI out of sheer curiosity (i am no gamer as i keep it real) and also exploring Alternate reality gameWiki, I found this. I hope you like some of the excerpts below ...

In theory, we could design a better future reality model it by virtualising the current model and assessing hypothetical outcomes.

Life is a game and when my win is your win then true contentment abounds. Don't quote me on that but it sounds about right. Highly viral and infectious - just like us.

Timeline: The Future of Videogames as at 2012

2015

Expect a boom in alternate reality gamingWiki, bringing the paradigms of videogame culture to our daily activities.  In traditional forms of gaming, simulation of accurate physics will become increasingly important as graphics advances begin to see diminishing returns. 

With the new increases in processing power available we will start to see some incredibly life-like simulations for things such as damage models; whilst also being able to simulate more far-fetched, but highly entertaining, interactions between vast numbers of moving objects or particles.

There will also be more connection between your online and offline personas, with facial-recognition technology relaying your expressions and lip movements into the multiplayer gaming experience. 

Persistence in gaming will become more prevalent, and there will be an increased emphasis on constantly updating your game through short bursts of activity that can be accessed anywhere. 

This is something that we currently see in the casual gaming market, but it will become more of a component of complex games and will feed into the experience through various mini-games or ‘side quests’ that allow you to progress your game state for the next time you play.

2030

The relational paradigm between user and machine will change as neural signatures are used as primary input methods for interaction with digital environments.  Whereas before input schemes would rely on fixed boundaries (press button X, wave hand, move analog stick) game platforms will have to go through a process of learning about each user’s unique brain patterns and adapting accordingly.  Initially used as a control scheme, this will pave the way for deeper emotional attachments and emergent story-telling as gaming environments can respond to the emotions of the individual using them.

Neural Connections in the Human Brain (image by Image Editor, Flickr, CC)If the game is supposed to evoke fear, it could very gradually ramp up particular imagery or situational experiences that the individual user is responding to with anxiety – phasing out aspects that are not getting the desired effect and making those that are become more prominent and intense. 

Likewise, interaction with in-game characters will become much more lifelike as artificial intelligences are able to be informed by the neural activity of the player as to what they like or are put off by and respond accordingly (even provoking the player intentionally).  Intense gaming experiences such as action-based violence will be able to be paced perfectly according to the feedback from the player, with action increasing when the player is feeling more calm and maintaining a certain level of adrenaline within the individual by customising the experience to them.

Non-action gaming experiences will be far more predominant than they ever have been, as they begin to be tailored to the wants of each player and a much wider demographic that are seeking experiences beyond traditional competitive, adversarial models.  Romantic experiences will be seen more often in games, with relationships becoming central components of particular genres, and sexual activity will as always be a profitable sub-culture but will also be dealt with in a more nuanced manner as part of mainstream games.

The use of videogames as a medium beyond entertainment will see great leaps at this point, as the ability to cater the technology to different forms of behavioural therapy, educational use or other personal or group development will enable more people to grapple with aspects of the human condition that can sometimes be difficult to address or, in the case of mental health for example, are often stigmatised.  Of course, with an effectiveness in these areas there are also increases in less positive uses, such as social conditioning or emotional manipulation that could be used by numerous ideological or political movements.

This change in the relational paradigm will mean that gaming becomes a direct projection of as well as influence on our personal and group identities in an ever evolving feedback loop.  By this stage it’s incredibly difficult to predict how it will be used, but we can be certain that such an all-inclusive interactive medium will impact every area of human life and will allow us to explore every creative or even destructive avenue that we are capable of.



source: https://www.argn.com/2005/01/neurocam/

Neurocam

JANUARY 18, 2005

“…
neurocam is not a psychology experiment
neurocam is not a terrorist training organisation
neurocam is not a corporate team-building exercise
neurocam is not a security company
neurocam is not a joke
neurocam is not an ARG…”

Maybe this won't help either  ;)

source: https://www.theage.com.au/national/entering-shadowy-world-of-neurocam-20041218-gdz7we.html

Entering shadowy world of Neurocam

December 18, 2004

It began with a billboard, then an innocent exploration through cyberspace. Soon Graham Henstock found himself on secret assignment, the agent of a shadowy organisation.

In a bar on Fitzroy's Gertrude Street he awaited the arrival of his contact, an anonymous Kiwi transvestite "supermodel" whose autograph he had been told to collect.

The 27-year-old theatre technician and avid web logger from North Fitzroy has been immersed for the past year in the world of neurocam. He is one of an unknown number of Melburnians who have voluntarily submitted to being pawns for a mysterious organisation whose motivations, methods and aims remain deliberately - some fear dangerously - obscure.

Thousands would have passed neurocam's billboard, displayed in November on Alexandra Parade, one of Melbourne's main commuter thoroughfares. "Get Out of Your Mind", it urged. But the cryptic website it spruiked gave little insight, only the opportunity to register with name and email address. Clearly, however, the organisers had gone to some trouble to get their message out. The billboard would have cost about $10,000. Whether the whole thing is hoax, mind game, artistic experiment, sinister front or clever marketing ploy remains unclear.

The only information on the website was a disclaimer, a long list of things neurocam was not.
  • "neurocam is not a pyramid marketing scam"
  • "neurocam is not a cult religion"
  • "neurocam is not a psychology experiment"
  • "neurocam is not a terrorist training organisation"

And so on.

Tacked to the foot of the list, was an unattributed quotation: "Some of the most rewarding experiences we have come about through random circumstances of which we have no real understanding. It is sometimes important to commit to something we know very little about if the act of commitment in itself becomes part of an experience."

So what is neurocam? As a first test of Henstock's abilities, neurocam's head of Melbourne operations, a phantom with the alias of Robert Henley, sent Henstock to answer the question as best he could in orange spray paint across one of neurocam's own billboards.

Against his better instincts, Henstock climbed the advertisement hoarding one night and responded with the only words he could think of: "neurocam is a matter of perception". Some other devotee had already contributed - more aptly, Henstock later thought - "neurocam is mind control".

Those behind neurocam have gone to great lengths to conceal their identities. The Melbourne branch is said to have been begun by a New Zealander, but operates a website registered to an address in Beverly Hills, California.

Police say they have had no complaints, but a Melbourne psychologist says users could be vulnerable to exploitation.

When I contacted organisers, through Henstock, I had to agree to being taken blindfolded to a secret location before asking any questions.

What is known is that those who follow the instructions on the neurocam website are assigned missions, with the threat of grave consequences should these tasks not be carried out. Individuals prove their mettle by completing progressively more complex, riskier assignments - possibly of questionable legality.

"That's a little worrisome," said University of Sydney lecturer Andrew Campbell after seeing the website. A specialist in cyber-psychology, or the psychology of human behaviour online, Dr Campbell said the original motivation to register with neurocam was like the benign allure of a puzzle.

"It's the sense of gambling. It's that whole intrigue of, 'Well, you know, how could this hurt me? It's on a computer.' "

The reality, he said, could be more disturbing.

"The only things that are similar to this would be gaming societies. But the gaming societies are very clear cut. You know there is an objective, you know what it is about, you know who the people are and you delve into a fantasy realm for a limited period of time. But in this case, no. This is the first I have ever seen it. This is unique."

While neurocam's own website remains deliberately obscure, its activities are best tracked through the websites of bloggers such as Henstock. Web logs including Henstock's "Jumping on the Bandwagon" detail neurocam operations and chronicle how neurocam infiltrates the lives of its recruits. It is, according to one blogger, "the f----d up leading the hypnotised".

Soon after his late-night graffiti adventure, Henstock began to receive more emailed assignments. His willingness to take risks had earned him Henley's respect, it seemed. Items had to be delivered, packages retrieved, events documented - all for reasons Henley would not disclose.

Then, says Henstock, the tone changed. Photographs taken of him at close range and without his knowledge arrived in his inbox. An apparently frantic girl wrote to him that, when she had thought to go to the press with her knowledge of the organisation, she had been abducted, threatened and bribed by a man who hid his face behind a bird mask. She believed the man to be Henley. Henstock had his doubts that the letter was genuine, but worried that it might be.

People love a mystery, said Dr Campbell. "If anything, it would appeal to a person's curiosity of what's behind this. Is there a puzzle? Is there a clue to me working this out? Is it a scam? Other people might simply feel, 'Well, this is a game.' "

But he said the information handed over in an online registration could be more dangerous than it seemed. "What are you actually submitting your information to? Even if it is an alias, a person can still be tracked down through an IP address, especially if it's a fixed IP address like a university."

The creators of the neurocam website on the other hand have worked hard to keep themselves hidden.

"They are actually blocking me from looking at the (website's) source code," said Campbell, "so someone is definitely protecting something. And you don't go to that extreme without wanting to get something from someone else."

Waiting in his Gertrude Street bar, Henstock recognised others he had encountered in previous operations. There was "Z", who ordered a beer and fiddled with her camera. "C" sat with another young man near the entrance. The minutes ticked towards 10pm, the deadline for the assignment.

When Henstock's hirsute Kiwi supermodel finally arrived, Henstock obtained the autograph. He was already at his car when he discovered she had signed with the name... Robert Henley.

Who is Robert Henley? In 2001, New Zealand artist Robin Hely, then artist-in-residence at the Victoria College of the Arts, created a video called Who is Robert Henley?. The video was distributed by neurocam during one of its operations. Hely, who still lives in Melbourne, would not comment when The Age contacted him.

But soon after his appearance in Gertrude Street, Henley stopped writing. The assignments ended - for a time - then word came that Henley had been transferred to Brussels and replaced in Melbourne by a man named Charles Hastings.

Earlier this month I arranged to meet Hastings and two others who claim to be top neurocam operatives in Melbourne and use the names Maxwell Knight and Neville Harris.

At precisely 8pm, a sleek black sedan carrying three men in masks pulled into the Queens Wharf parking lot on the corner of Spencer and Flinders streets. The driver's door opened and Harris stepped out looking every inch the neo-fascist. A thin man of medium height, he wore a grey shirt over black pants. A black balaclava pulled askew over his face gave the impression he was speaking from one side of his mouth.

Through a heavy New Zealand accent, he explained the conditions of the interview. He handed over a black mask the eyes of which had been covered with electrical tape that I would have to wear in order to be transported to a secret location.

No one spoke as the car veered off the street and into a gravel lot. Harris guided me by the arm through what sounded like a heavy iron door and down a twisting hallway to an immense space that echoed like an empty theatre. A creaking wooden wheelchair was offered and permission granted to remove the mask. One red lamp stood on a wooden table in the middle of which sat a metal attache case.

From beneath his mask, Harris said neurocam had no association with VCA. Some operatives might be past or current students, but that proved nothing. At any rate, Henley was no longer head of Melbourne operations, he said.

Harris said Henley had begun as a neurocam operative in New Zealand and had gained a series of promotions until he was eventually asked to "facilitate" neurocam's operations in Melbourne.

The recent reappearance of billboards beckoning the curious to join had nothing to do with Henley, he said. Neurocam was preparing for a major operation, for which substantial numbers of new recruits were needed.

What kind of operation?

"I'm sorry, but we can't tell you about that," he said.

Does Melbourne have anything to fear from this operation?

"We have nothing to say about the social benefit or risk associated with neurocam's operations," he said.

"Have you read The Magus ?" he asked.

The Magus, originally titled The Godgame, is a novel by British author John Fowles. In it, English teacher Nicholas Urfe travels to a Greek island where he meets the mysterious, androgynous Conchis, who teaches Urfe about himself through a series of illusions - games apparently without purpose - that challenge Urfe's perceptions of reality and ask him to commit himself completely to tasks he does not understand.

"Neurocam is an unveiling," Hastings said. "That is all you need to know."

An unveiling of what? "That depends on the person."

At the end of the interview, Harris gave me a computer disk, on the condition the details not be printed. The disk led me to the base of a Melbourne landmark at which was embedded an electronic safe. Inside was a pile of manila envelopes, each bearing the name, or alias, of one of the dozens of recruits who had recently signed up for neurocam.

Whatever that is.
Over 90% of all computer problems can be traced back to the interface between the keyboard and the chair !

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