Businesses Are About To Start Injecting Ads Directly Into Our Dreams

It seems like ads are everywhere, and soon they might even be in your dreams.

According to a new essay published by a trio of researchers from MIT, Harvard and the University of Montreal, advertisers are working on ways to hack our dreams. A recent survey also notes that 77 percent of marketers plan to use something called dreamtech ads within the next three years.

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The future could bring dream ads

A woman sleeps comfortably in her bed.  - Credit: Jacob Lund / Adobe

A woman sleeps comfortably in her bed. – Credit: Jacob Lund / Adobe

Jacob Lund / Adobe

If this all sounds very science fiction, then you wouldn’t be completely wrong. Based on the essay, companies like Molson Coors worked on “incubating dreams,” a term first coined in a 2020 article. The trio note that this means advertisers are keeping a close eye on advertisers. academic work on the subject.

Molson Coors is already looking for ways to implement this idea as well. Earlier this year, the company created an advertising campaign that promised free beer in return for people’s participation. The test for “incubating dreams” involved a video of dancing beer cans, talking fish, and it included pop star Zayn Malik, all to spark interest in the product.

The Dream Hacking Dilemma

Illuminated ads on modern buildings in city

Illuminated ads on modern buildings in city

Two of the three authors of the trial have previously worked on an MIT device designed to communicate with sleeping subjects. This device was designed to allow people to take full control of their dreams. Others have worked to use it to treat medical problems, like PTSD.

The technology has many practical uses, but researchers fear that tech companies could use it to make watches, clothing, and other technology to track sleep. While not inherently bad, many tech companies make money selling information to the highest bidder. Plus, they might start using technology to advertise their products in your dreams.

Of course, one of the biggest concerns is that you might not even remember it. In the trial, the authors refer to a study in which researchers mixed bad smells with cigarette smoke while daily smokers slept. The study found that it reduced the person’s smoking habit the next day. The scary part, however, is that this person couldn’t remember smelling anything while they slept.

All three authors wrote an open letter about advertisers hacking dreams earlier this year. The letter garnered support from 40 other scientists, all of whom signed the document. The researchers also said the Federal Trade Commission should step in and add regulations for subliminal messages in dreams.

If research into dream hacking continues, scientists fear we may find ourselves on a slippery slope.

“Where we slide and how fast depends on the actions we choose to take in order to protect our dreams,” they wrote.

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