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ByDesign 2020 – Dream Tech: Designing the Gateway to Infinity

March 21, 2020

$5 – $15

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Everybody dreams. Dream tech – devices and applications that directly interface with our dreams at night – is no longer the stuff of sci-fi stories like Inception and Black Mirror. Recent advancements in neurotechnology are making it possible not only to peer into the dreaming brain, but to influence it. As a new wave of entrepreneurs and technologists push past the boundary of consciousness, profound questions arise about what this all means for the future. Is the most mysterious human frontier now fair game for technological intervention?
This talk offers an overview and discussion of the nascent industry of dream tech and poses questions to the design community about the role of ethical design in an emerging tech space with universal resonance. A few examples of dream tech will be presented, such as wearable devices that attempt to induce lucid dreams – dreams in which you are aware of the fact that you’re dreaming and may exert control over the dream narrative. Meanwhile, neuromarketers are waking up to the mouth-watering potential of a good night’s sleep as eight hours of perfectly passive, untapped advertising real estate.
Western dream science is still in its infancy, but attempts to productize research findings are well underway. How can we take stock of the implications of this moment for dream tech design in the years ahead? And how can designers participate proactively in the development of dream tech for social good?
The program will begin with a presentation on dream tech and footage from a sci-fi documentary project by Courtney Sheehan, followed by discussion with Aleena Chia, an ethnographer of gaming cultures and author of Virtual Lucidity, an essay that uses media archaeology to examine the history of dream tech.


March 21
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
$5 – $15




Northwest Film Forum