By Tony Sokol
NEW YORK, April 18, 2015 /Daily Offbeat/ -- Psyche Corporation is a concept band. Seminal punk band Devo created a fantasy backdrop of a de-evolved culture in the 1970s. Psyche Corporation purports to come from a future where dreams can be manufactured and downloaded directly into a person's brain. Specifically, Psyche Corporation is named "after a dream manufacture group from a future where neural implants allow people to download dreams from the Internet." Because of the offbeat nature of the premise, along with the violently provocative serial killer lyrical content, Daily Offbeat reached out to Psyche Chimère, the mastermind of Psyche Corporation. She immediately gave us a homework assignment, and broke our brains.
“First, I want to clarify that we only have one serial killer song, and it’s a serial killer who kills serial killers, a serial serial-killer-killer, if you will. Part of a custom-ordered dream manufacture for an anonymous client who’s very into meta-morality,” said Chimère. “The work-for-hire we produce for our clients is not in any way to be considered representative of the views of the Corporation.
“Second, 21st century neuroscience is already beginning to put together the technology that will enable the Psyche Corporation of the future-that we are from, of course. Let’s talk about the Kamitani group of your time.”
Japanese neuroscientists have invented a computer program that can decode human dreams. Researchers at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories, in Kyoto, Japan, broke out their Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanners for “the world’s first decoding” of night-time visions. The MRI scans located the parts of brain that go to work when a person starts dreaming in sleep. This is the first time any group has shown that non-invasive brain scanning can be used to decode dreams.
Yuki Kamitani first presented the findings at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans in 2012. Research participants were put into the narrow bore of an fMRI for a series of mid afternoon naps. The subjects were woken up by the researchers and asked to describe the images they remember dreaming. The researchers built a comparison database and soon found they were getting better at predicting what the subjects were going to say about their dreams, ultimately reaching a 70% accuracy rate. So far scientists have only explored superficial levels of sleep, not the deeply vivid dreaming phase known as REM sleep.
“This is really a pivotal point in the history of dream decoding,” Chimère added. “This Japanese group, as well as another group from California, really set the stage for seeing into the mind’s eye. It’s something we all take for granted in the future, and which led to a lot of regulatory laws being passed to prevent identity theft and other crimes perpetuated by would-be dream-terrorist groups. But that’s another story. In brief, we dream-manufacturers were set back for almost 600 years in your future because of all the regulations put in place to prevent dream-crimes after the first wave of commercial dream-decoders. But after the War of Robots, neurotech legislation loosened up for social justice reasons-all the illegal human-robot hybrids wanted official citizenship and personhood, so it got harder to regulate exotic neural hardware.”
Daily Offbeat asked Chimère how the machine would help Psyche Corporation once it is perfected,
“Psyche Corp., as you know, manufactures computer-generated dreams for download. To do that, we first need to understand how dreams are biologically-generated in real brains. In other words if we’re ever going to use some kind of electromagnetic field-generator to ‘force’ new activity patterns into someone’s brain, making them see what we want them to see, in their dreams, we have to understand what kind of brain patterns are associated with what kind of dream images. That last part is what the Japanese group is working on.”
According to Science Direct, “the neural code converter assimilates individual differences in brain activity patterns. The converter exploits multi-voxel pattern information for accurate assimilation of brain activity, to predict the brain activity of one person from the activity of others. The converter can predict brain activity patterns even for unseen visual stimuli and predicted activity patterns contain sufficient information for decoding analyses.”
“That said, they ideally could have used better statistics and should have corrected for multiple comparisons,” Chimère added. “In the future, everyone is required to learn advanced statistics until they can do power calculations in their sleep. It’s recognized as a form of mental self-defense, really, what with all the advertisers trying to convince you to buy their products with misleading sponsored dream content. I guess the future is a little sinister that way. Speaking of which, could I interest you in a series of dreams/songs with secret messages embedded in them? We have a special set of songs called the Crypto-Paranoid Triology, which comprises songs 2 to 4 from our album. The first to correctly decode the secret message for either of the first two songs will receive a free digital download of any of our released albums.”
Crypto-Paranoid Trilogy info:
(1) Whirring World – this song was inspired by spooky stories about Numbers Stations and has a secret message in it, done in Morse Code. It also has the Fibonnacci sequence going through it.
(2) Jewels – this song is about a high class courtesan who is very materialistic, so of course she encodes her phone number in the song, but in bar code (specifically 2-of-5 interleaved bar code during the bridge). Her phone number also spells out a secret word that is a synonym for Courtesan.
(3) Pound of Flesh – this song is narrated by a woman who is dying of polio. The DNA of the polio virus has been translated into percussion and is running through the bridge of the song as well as at the end, because the polio is *replicating*.
Readers are encouraged to email their guesses to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win.
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