AI, Consciousness Expansion, and Subjective Control #38 #cong23 #reality


The impact of artificial intelligence on our perception of reality, considering existential risks and ethical concerns.

William Burroughs’ views on reality, altered through psychedelics.

State media manipulation in various countries and how it impacts on some citizen’s reality.

Call to action is for discourse about the ethics involved in evolving digital realities.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. AI could profoundly reshape our conceptions of reality if it achieves superhuman general intelligence. But we must pursue its development cautiously and ethically to avoid existential risks.
  2. Psychedelics and other techniques like meditation, ayahuasca, and AR/VR can reveal hidden depths of reality not perceivable through ordinary consciousness alone, according to thinkers like William Burroughs.
  3. We construct subjective realities through the structure of our consciousness. By expanding our perceptual modes, we can uncover new truths about the nature of reality.
  4. While we do not have absolute control, we can influence our experienced realities through intention, wisdom, and shaping both our inner and outer worlds.

About Maryrose Lyons:

I am a future focused digital operator.

A marketer and communicator, a UX designer, I have recently been enjoying considerable success helping people augment their skills using AI.

I am on a mission to help people to not get left behind.

I am excited to be back at Cong this year. I haven’t been in person since long before Covid. Can’t wait to see you all – meet new people – and have a holiday for my mind!

Contacting Maryrose Lyons:

Connect with me on LinkedIn:

By Maryrose Lyons

My research for this very interesting topic began with a book, immediately discarded for being too academic for my taste, then followed up with travelling in directions that interested me personally. I brought all of my thoughts together to Claude 2 (AI) and asked it to act like a Professor of Philosophy and ask me questions to help me get my thoughts down into some sort of coherent form.

A theme that will probably feature greatly in conversations about Reality is artificial intelligence. What happens to our perception of reality if AI achieves advanced general capabilities surpassing human intelligence? It could profoundly reshape our collective conception of reality in ways we can’t yet fully anticipate. While I’m all in on the benefits of AI, I’m also all in on the need to actively pursue the mitigation of existential risks. However, on this Saturday morning I feel quite despondent about our ability to do that. There is a genocide taking place in Palestine by the Israelis before our very eyes and we are doing nothing to condemn or stop it. How can we expect governments of the world and people to get together and respond in time to the threat posed to our reality?

A more enjoyable avenue of exploration for me was to dig deep into the writings of William Burroughs. His book “The Doors of Perception” dissolves the very notion of reality and speaks of how expanding modes of human perception can play a role in unveiling hidden dimensions of reality. Techniques like psychedelics and ayahuasca can temporarily dissolve the constructs of our normal consciousness, opening doors to deeper truths about the nature of existence, consciousness, and our place in the cosmos. I have engaged, I have seen for myself, and I believe everyone should have the opportunity to open their minds at least once!

Next I went to the control of reality, and the dark side of state manipulation of media. In places like Russia, North Korea, and China, restricting access to information and shaping narratives through propaganda controls citizens’ perceived reality in ways that support authoritarian aims. In places like USA, UK, Ireland, social media also presents a certain view of reality that supports other aims.

Finally I gave some thought to VR/AR and the role they might have in shaping reality now and in the future. More immersive AR/VR experiences may start displacing some physical/social activities where the virtual version offers clear advantages in convenience, customisation, or enjoyment. But a full replacement seems unlikely. Humans are biologically wired to need in-person interaction, touch, nature, etc. Our recent experiences during lockdowns have reaffirmed the intrinsic human need for in-person interactions and natural environments.

As a forward-thinking digital operator, I am deeply excited by the possibilities at the intersection of technology and consciousness. AI, undeniably, will play a significant role in shaping our reality.

The future remains unwritten, and it is our collective responsibility to approach it with care, precision, and an inclusive perspective.

In conclusion, our understanding of reality is constantly evolving, influenced by technological advancements, global events, and diverse cultural perspectives. As we navigate this ever-changing landscape, it is imperative to engage in thoughtful discourse at events such as this one, to consider diverse viewpoints, and to actively participate in shaping an ethical and balanced digital future.

Looking forward to meeting you all at Cong.

Average? Great? Or Extraordinary? #50 #cong18


Average people talk about people.  Great people talk about people’s ideas.  Extraordinary people talk about ideas.  Which one are you?

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Average people talk about people. Is this more or less since social media?
  2. Great people talk about people’s ideas. The Ted Talks demographic.
  3. Extraordinary people talk about ideas. Cong Central.
  4. Which one is you?

About Maryrose Lyons:

Maryrose Lyons is a passionate marketer and lover of social media. Unfailingly optimistic, she is the one to contact when you’re feeling down and you want solutions to your life’s cause.

Contacting Maryrose Lyons:

You can follow Maryrose Twitter and Instagram or connect with her on LinkedIn.

By Maryrose Lyons

My good friends Joan and Anu are great hosts. I love getting an invite to a gathering at their place. They are always tune-filled events with all sorts of eclectic people who just gel; where there is a buzz in the room as connections are made, laughs are had, and minds are often expanded.

It was at one of these events, a long time ago, that I first heard of this phrase about ideas, and it kind of stuck with me ever since. It was the first thing that came into my mind when I read this year’s theme for Congregation.

  • Average people talk about people.
  • Great people talk about people’s ideas.
  • Extraordinary people talk about ideas.

There is nothing wrong with being Average, so you long as you don’t realise you’re it! The rise of the Influencer has been fuelled by Average people – people who are more interested in watching and following other people’s lives. I felt terribly sad recently when a wedding organiser told me that she has a large number of brides-to-be who want a wedding just like the one she did for a well known celebrity influencer. Right down to the choice of napkins… isn’t that sad? That the one day you’re standing in front of your most loved ones, with your loved one, celebrating each other, that you are copying someone else’s style and taste, not making any of these decisions yourself?

I wonder if it was always like this?

Before Instagram, pre-YouTube, when there was no constant soundtrack of other people’s lives, were there in fact more Great people sitting around talking about other people’s ideas?

Did social media bring about the end of people’s ideas by pushing us to a mass viewing of other people’s lives? Or did TV do that decades before with soaps?

So the middle level of being great and talking about other people’s ideas – I imagine that is a smallish layer. It would get pretty boring talking about other people’s ideas for a long time and not really having any yourself. Surely you’d move on to the next level – or fall back into being Average. But while you’re there, you do have a role of sorts. To promote those ideas that you deem worthwhile. To be behind a push of ‘ideas worth spreading’ to borrow from TedTalks. It’s from those very TedTalks that inklings can turn into movements. Ideas that gain mass support can often in this place.

And so to the level of being Extraordinary! What a wonderful place – or maybe not?
Many of this year’s submissions contain health warnings about not spending too much time on ideas… not getting caught up in producing ideas with no outcomes… … the downsides of always idea generating.

So where would you rather be?

  • Part of the tribe of Watchers?
  • Part of the Great who are Pushers?
  • Or one of those magical idea creators …

You’re here. You’re reading this. Whether you agree or disagree, you are at least not watching reruns of “Love Island” and flicking through your instafeed. Congratulations! Don’t be afraid of it. Let’s have the crazy conversations, and see where it takes us.