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Digital Raign Esalen Oratory - Consciousness and the Emerging Hive Mind

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19th Nov 2018

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Digital Raign is a San Francisco based purpose driven organization exploring exponential technologies for radical transformation. In conjunction with Esalen Institute, Digital Raign is convening a series of summits and weekends designed to explore the intersection of consciousness and technology, looking at how they are shaping an emerging hive mind.

Following a recent event weekend, Hub Culture gathered three attendees into a group chat covering their experience:

Digital Raign Oratory: Reality Summit and X-Series at Esalen

Hub: Hi everyone! This is a great opportunity to share some insights and thoughts from the session which we will distill to a group interview discussion. So just feel free to chime in and be part of the discussion. Our participants include Peter Newell, Emerging Technology, REI; Marko Suvajdzic, Director of the Digital Worlds Institute; and Holly Ruxin, CEO, Montcalm TCR.

What were your expectations going into the weekend and what was your main takeaway from the event?

Peter: I went in with no expectations, and while I didn't know anyone that was attending ahead of time, I knew I would be among "my people" and whatever came from it would be just right.

My main takeaway is a further appreciation for the incredible work happening on all the fronts I care about, that there are people doing great things and supporting each other to really make a difference in the world. It has me remembering to get out of my own way and let others help, that I don't have to go it alone and do everything.

Hub: Thanks - what are these fronts you care about - what do you see emerging in the culture?

Peter: I spend my time exploring emerging technologies across all forms, looking for ways to apply the tech for the betterment of our species. Most days this is a somewhat solo experience, where I am the one who learns about the tech and teaches others about the potential, so joining a group where I could mention any of the ideas that come about and not sound crazy or have to translate was refreshing. Thinking about the impact of reality creation tools with artificial intelligence and blockchain tech, progressing thoughts in real time with multiple experts on hand can only be beneficial.

Leading up to the summit there was a feeling of powerlessness in the political climate, things just weren't going the way one might hope, and the summit stood in contrast as a reminder that there is something tangible we can be doing to make the world a better place and we have to keep focused and working towards the kind of world we want to bring about.

Hub: Great we will let the others chime in before moving to next question.

Holly: I had a feeling that I was strongly meant to be there. That was all that came through for me. I had no expectations of the content or of the people. My main takeaway was an upward spiraling energy of collaboration and community that I had never experienced before in a group like this. It set me on an entirely new path in my own life, feeling I had a community to be held accountable for my own decisions. And my takeaway from the conference gave me a deeper confidence in doing so. The value of that is beyond immeasurable and so powerful. It continues to shift everything in my life personally and professionally.

Marko: I had no specific expectations. However, I am aware of the power of a hive mind, and was excited to connect with others at a special place like Esalen. Being together for an extended period of time, with no Internet and no distractions was a perfect setting for personal as well as professional growth.

My main takeaway was in regard to chaos, out of which all great breakthroughs come. There were 80 or so people, and each with their own unique approach to our common challenges as humans, from meditation and mindfulness in VR, to blockchain for social good. The sheer myriad of thoughts gave me two insights: I am not alone in this path, and there are many ways to achieve a common good.  An unexpected bonus was all the personal connections thet were created during the retreat. Very special.

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Hub: How does technology shape your view of the move toward shared or collective consciousness? So you think we are learning new skills by integrating mindful techniques with work around future systems?

Marko‬: I believe that technology will be the enabler necessary to facilitate human interconnectedness. The future leader(s) of the world will be like jedi council, a group interconnected with their thoughts, and whose actions are continuously registered on a blockchain. Thus, the decentralized nature of blockchain will allow populations at large to directly participate in decision making by a hive mind.

In a short term, we will see technologies like VR and AI being used in medicine, facilitating patient recovery in a manner that is simply not achievable today.

Peter‬: Technology is a great enabler that is often overlooked, building the artificial neurons that connect our independent thinking systems. We will evolve as a species because of technology and our job is to shape it to the best of our abilities.

We are absolutely learning new skills and realizing a better future by integrating mindful techniques. We can only improve that which we measure, and we're getting a lot better at measuring our brain activity and providing experiences to directly improve wellbeing in a measurable form.

As we get further along with brain computer interfaces, we'll realize new powers as our time to knowledge on a subject trends towards omniscience. Just last week we saw researchers essentially connecting three brains together to collaboratively play Tetris, it's currently a slow process, but it shows further progress towards this shared collective intelligence.

It will be interesting to see the role that BCI plays in the growth of super intelligence, whether through AGI or through connected human hive minds, or a grand assembly of both.

Hub: Do you feel higher consciousness can be a force for enhancement in a world where existential risks exist? How should we manage the ‘machine potential movement’ of the imminent future?

Peter: I absolutely believe higher consciousness can be a force for enhancement, as it helps us slow down in a high anxiety world. While worrying less and slowing down, we are better equipped to handle the existential risks with a clear head.

We should manage the machine potential movement arm in arm, providing the most useful and important data we can. In Max Tegmark's book Life 3.0, he makes the case that while it may still take a couple of decades for artificial general intelligence to emerge, it might take that long to solve some of the safety, ethics, and goal alignment problems, so we should be working towards those now in preparation to bring about the sort of world we want instead of living in fear of the worst.

Holly‬: For the first part of your question I absolutely believe that higher consciousness is our antidote to existential risk. And the most powerful tool that we have.

Marko‬: Higher consciousness is a path to common consciousness. Once we all think of ourselves as one, the existentialist risks that are self afflicted will disappear.

However, we may or may not reach this level in time to prevent irreparable damage to earth. Thus in the meantime we will employ technology to better ourselves, and to improve the lives of others around the world. One such effort was born during the summit - Global Blockchain Initiative provides equal opportunity and accessibility to the blockchain technology revolution, seeding the ecosystem that will create sustainable local economies in developing countries.

Technology is a tool. Humans provide ideas and creativity (for now).

Learn more about the Digital Raign Reality Summit and X-Series at Esalen, where you can apply to attend a future X-Series Summit.