News Journal: The advances in what is now commonly referred to as “mind mapping,” via the science of Neuroinformatics, has finally bridged the divide between human brain memory, processes and analytical thinking and thetechnology utilized to structure and operate virtual and augmented realities. The first consumer driven application, M.A.R.M., despite the surrounding ethical controversy, has been nothing short of a cataclysmic event in the evolution of the human brain and its fusion with today’s technology.
LL, the pioneer in this... newly christened M.A.R.M. technology, has been beta testing the software and equipment for nearly 2 years. While all publically released findings of the clinical trials demonstrate the technology as being “safe” for the general population, the emotional impact and experiences being reported by some of its users appears to have been grossly underestimated, and the duration of the emotional side effects, misjudged. Sales of the units were recently halted due to reports from across the county of users experiencing anxiety disorders, generalized depression and conditions replicating PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). These reports notwithstanding, demand for the units continues to grow almost exponentially, with backorders in the tens of thousands.
The most recent and tragic incident involved Seattle, WA resident, Nora Taylor, a 38 year old mother of three, who after completing the 24-hour mind mapping base-line process, began to utilize the M.A.R.M. device to recreate her childhood environments, friends and family. These simulations being made possible by importing the memory data mined, cataloged and translated into readable code into the SL data base, where a personalized region was then created based on these inputs.
The ensuing 36 hours for Nora Taylor can only be described as heartrending, as she rekindled old friendships, and reunited with relatives long since deceased, “losing herself,” as described by her husband, Jeff Taylor, “within the virtual recreation of her past life.” Upon returning from a business trip, finding their children uncared for and unfed, and his wife in a coma-like nirvana, Jeff promptly phoned 911 for emergency assistance. While the children have since fully recovered, sadly Nora Taylor died 2 days later while suffering from psychiatrically-induced catatonia.
Dr. Alred Russo with the National Institute of Mental Health, NIHM, stated that in extreme cases, involving already unstable, highly emotional or hypersensitive individuals, a real danger may in fact exist. “The virtual recreation of past real-life environments, and the sight of highly detailed recreations (avatars) of friends and family created via the improved 3-D imagery of SL, can be overpoweringly real, particularly when combined with the strength of real life memories and emotions.” He goes on, “The users’ brain can become so overwhelmed with sensory and emotional stimuli, that this virtual world and real life can become indistinguishable.”
Sales of M.A.R.M. products are expected to resume by next week – albeit with revised warnings and cautions. M.A.R.M. software and hardware may be purchased directly from LL, the official vendor of the M.A.R.M. Experience © in SL.
Latest version of Mind Mapping Hardware, M.A.R.M. ©
Originally posted in SL Newspaper