What would techno-fascist punishment look like?

Perhaps something rather like this. From a disturbing but important article:

The scary thing about VR as a torture device is its versatility. “It’s difficult to conceive of the upper limits of distress. The human mind’s capacity for suffering is tremendously vast,” the people at BeAnotherLab told me, “as is human ingenuity to cause suffering in novel ways.” Within the confines of simulation, there are certainly many circles of mental hell that a head-mounted display can navigate: disorientation and physical sickness, the incitation of panic and fear, religious or moral defamation, sensory overload, sensory deprivation, a feeling of disembodiment, and dependence on a machine that could flash whatever horrible imagery its operator chose before the eyes.

It may seem that VR prisoners would simply be trained to tune out the images being blasted into their eyeholes, knowing full-well that the worst harm that could come from an optical illusion is eyestrain. However, consider the hypothetical plight of a captured soldier who is kept alone in VR for an exceedingly long period of time. Gradually, their brain would begin to carve out new connections as it adjusted to living inside a virtual environment. If the simulation was stressful, fear conditioning would climb. Prolonged VR immersion would potentially alter how a person responds to visual stimuli. It would also affect the prisoner’s sense of self, place, and time. Coupled with what is already known about solitary confinement—that it causes visual and auditory hallucinations, that it hinders people’s ability to recognize an object as the same object when viewed from different angles, that it drives inmates to self-harm and suicide—VR confinement could leave detainees on the verge of a complete breakdown.


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