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Hearing Voices: Risks of Voice Synthesis and the Merger of AR Games and Storytelling

From time to time, society stumbles upon a special kind of genius that claims to have near-supernatural powers. For example, innovative thinkers have attested to the powers of hearing angels and dead people, who contribute to their brilliance. Carl Jung had Philemon, Tesla had Edison, and my dear friends have yours truly.

Many studies have been done with people who hear voices. Some of these people are considered high functioning schizophrenics; some are considered geniuses due to their contribution to the world of science, literature and arts. This kind of skill seems to be more of a property of the dreamworld, and does not appear often in normal subjects.

Jung's Philemon

It appears that sometimes these people may experience disassociation and terrors that are akin to schizophrenic psychosis. This type of spiritual emergency has been widely described by an army of psychiatrists and psychologists around the world. These people may start experiencing hearing their family and friends with non-standard speech patterns, or may be even ideas that would normally be alien to them, right “in” their head. It can appear to be a highly beneficial behaviour if it is controlled and nurtured within a creative, scientific and kind environment. But it can also create psychotic and dangerous behaviour in people whose influences are not that kind.

Communication with the unconscious of these people is what prompted this article. In the world where augmented reality simulations are closer to becoming an integral part of our lives, we should consider following stricter guidelines about the content and the process of integrating narrations as a part of our daily AR experience. Even though these technologies are not yet available to the public, we are capable of creating fairly accurate voice simulations of any living person.

The human psyche is highly fragile in the times of stress, and it’s only appropriate to assume that the simulated voices will follow us more and more, just like the GPS in your car telling you to turn around the corner. We must apply tight user experience guidelines to some of these simulations. Besides, I’m increasingly convinced that my mother’s voice should stop telling me to turn off the lights in the kitchen while I’m having sex! This is not what I moved out of my folks’ house for.

Inappropriate use of voice synthesis may cause a variety of psychological disorders such as disassociation and mixing of memories. This can easily result in highly dangerous psychotic states, especially in conjunction with senses simulations, feelings simulations, or drugs. Thus it is proposed that while we research these technologies, and implement them into real world, it makes a lot of sense to run them alongside of the software for automated psychological tracking to measure psychological appropriateness of the user experience.

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Alexey Kuznetsov is an entrepreneur, visionary, designer and a software developer from Vancouver, BC. Alexey’s interests lay at the intersection of science, design, art and at the edge of human perception. Currently he works on multiple projects in the field of strategy development, software development and design.


For additional information see:

Intervoice  the International Network for Training, Education and Research into Hearing Voices.

INTERVOICE aims to:

  • show that hearing voices is a normal though unusual variation in human behaviour
  • show that the problem is not hearing voices but the inability to cope with the experience
  • educate society about the meaning of voices so as to reduce ignorance & anxiety and to ensure this innovatory approach on voice hearing is better known by voice hearers, families, professionals and the general public
  • demonstrate the wide variety of voice hearing experiences and their origins, and peoples’ approaches to coping
  • increase the quality and quantity of mutual support available to all people and organisations involved in hearing voices work across the world
  • make our work more effective and develop more non-medical ways of helping voice hearers cope with their experiences

http://www.intervoiceonline.org/

 

Hearing Voices Network http://www.hearing-voices.org/