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There are basically three developments for dream journals I hope to see in the
future: leveraging the internet, use of language recognition technology and easy
to use movie making.
The internet has the potential to help both novice dreamers and experienced
dreamers. A big issue for novice dreamers is validation of their dreams. After
all the mainstream view of dreams in our society is that dreams are weird.
Fortunately that's mostly a matter of ignorance. A place where dreamers can meet
and exchange experiences would help to make dreams feel more normal. The
internet is the perfect medium for just that.
Both novice and experienced dreamers are interested in symbolic
interpretation, participation in dream groups and special projects on mutual
dreaming and precognition. Here too the internet offers many possibilities.
To see how the internet can affect dream journaling software I have to get a
bit technical. The current generation of journaling software - like most other
software - still works on an individual computer completely separated from the
internet. The exact opposite is already possible. Nowadays software can just as
well run on a website. As long as you're connected people won't even notice if
software is running on their own machine or somewhere on the internet at the
other side of the world. Within a few years most people will be continuously
connected to the internet, using i.e. cable connections. For various reasons I
don't expect you'd want to use dream journaling software running on the
internet, but a hybrid running partly on your own machine and partly on the
internet may be very interesting.
Hybrid local/internet software would make it possible to offer a dream for
discussion on the internet, to have people share personal symbol dictionaries,
look for discussions of similar dreams, etc, all within the same dream
journaling package. Use of the internet would make it possible to tap virtually
unlimited resources. Of course, email and simple websites can do a lot too, but
I feel it's too cumbersome and not enough.
The second development I hope to see is use of language recognition.
Basically language recognition is the ability of computers to understand natural
language as written and spoken by us humans. In a very primitive form this is
already being used in dictation software. In a more advanced form it could do
quantitative analysis of dreams, detect recurring themes and possible even ask
some smart questions to help reflection. Naturally, what most people really want
is out-of-the -box dream interpretation, but I'm very skeptical about that.
The third development has to do with trying to capture dreams more directly
then by writing down a description. Many dreamers already draw quick pictures
and sketches, but what really would be nice are animations or cartoon movies.
Most of the basic technology already exists, think about the 3D engines used in
graphics games. The problem is that you need a lot of time to create something.
I've seen examples of software for children that makes creation very easy but at
the cost of very few options. The current trade-off between options and easy of
use seems unnecessary to me and that's where I expect huge improvements.
Graphics software is of course a class of software on its own, but eventually
to the user of dream journaling software it should feel like it's an integral
part of the journaling environment. I know that Richard Wilkerson would like to
see movies automatically generated from a dream description. Vice versa, it
should be possible to generate a description from a movie in case you generated
the movie manually and skipped the description. That way all other future
features based on an internet connection and language recognition can still be
used as well.
With enough financial resources, anything can be done here. The hardest part
is language recognition and some people are pessimistic that we will ever get
that right. The development of graphics software is hard to predict, but it's
primarily a matter of continued development, not of fundamental research as
needed with language recognition. Everything related to the internet is already
Alchera, dream interpretation software: