The concept of dream hacking is a decades-old concept inspired by ancient cultures. The ability to influence the thoughts of others while they sleep is a haunting concept that's been used in sci-fi stories such as Remember Me. However, what if that power could be used by marketers?
According to researchers at The University of Harvard, Montreal and MIT, that's an approaching future. The researchers believe that dream hacking will not only be available in the next few years, but it'll also be commercialised.
Dream Adverts are a marketer’s dream
Published in Aeon, the three-team research troupe discovered that marketers are actively working on dreamtech. After conducting a survey, it was found that 77% of marketing companies are looking to exploit civilian dreams with advertisements.
The group notes a past experiment by American beer company Coors. Beloved pop star Zayn Malik agreed to range an “incubated Coors dream” on Instagram Live. Coors’ test “explicitly aimed to place images of Coors beer, along with positive imagery into dreamers’ minds”. Reportedly, it worked.
With this in mind, it’s not unbelievable for marketers to want to push the experiment further. The team notes that two of them have already worked on an active dream manipulation device called Dormio. A computer or smartphone is paired with slaps to “prompt users to think about a specific topic”.
The team’s dream device was designed to be used to help treat PTSD nightmares. However, advertisers want to use similar tech “to exploit people’s sleep and dreams”. Thankfully, the researchers are entirely against the rise of the dangerous technology.
An open letter to stop dream hacking
In the face of the emerging technology, the researchers wrote an open letter condemning would-be advertisers from using it. The team wrote to the FCC, begging the Commission to make dream ads illegal in the United States.
“The Coors dream advertisement was not merely a gimmicky marketing campaign; it was a signal that what was once the stuff of science fiction might quickly become our reality,. We now find ourselves on a very slippery slope. Where we slide to, and at what speed, depends on what actions we choose to take in order to protect our dreams.”
As the researchers claim, dream adverts are possible and oncoming. However, early regulation can stop the technology from becoming a widespread problem even if it exists.