This AI Startup Wants to Help Decode Your Dreams
Neurotech startup Prophetic AI wants to provide people with a straightforward path into the world of dreams using the latest advances in neuroscience and artificial intelligence.
The content of our dreams can say a lot about ourselves, what is going on in our lives, and what our subconscious is focused on. To mine these insights, Prophetic AI is developing a “non-invasive” neural device to induce and stabilize lucid dreams—dreams in which the dreamer becomes aware that they are dreaming while they are dreaming.
“If you look at the history of Prophets, whether it’s Abraham, Mohammed or Buddha, they received their Prophetic AI wisdom from dreams,” Prophetic AI co-founder Eric Wollberg told Decrypt. “The goal here is to make anyone a prophet, to give people access to that prophetic knowledge, wisdom, and interface.”
“We consider lucid dreams to be particle accelerators for consciousness: a state that allows for the objective observation of the neural foundations of self-awareness, (meta)cognition, and sensory perception,” Prophetic AI says.
A June 2020 report by Frontiers in Psychology said that 50% of those surveyed have a prevalence of lucid dreaming.
Wollberg said planning for Prophetic AI began in 2018 and came after years of study and being a self-proclaimed lucid dreamer himself. He said he is inspired by the Axial Age period, named by German philosopher Karl Jaspers in 1949, which was characterized by broad changes in religious, philosophical, and metaphysical thought that occurred in various locations from about the 8th to the 3rd century BCE.
Wesley Berry joined Prophetic AI in March, and serves as the firm’s CTO after working on other neurotech projects, including the Neurosity crown used during the Ultra Music Festival performance by musician and AI enthusiast Grimes in March.
“I would put the Neurosity crown on [concertgoers] and stream their brainwaves and the signals coming out from that to the crowd,” Berry said.
Central to Prophetic AI’s work is the Halo, a crown-shaped device designed to be worn on the head. According to Berry, the Halo uses ultrasound technology, targeting brain regions more precisely than traditional electrode methods.
While skeptics may scoff at the idea of reliably inducing lucid dreaming with technology, Wollberg and Berry said the company is all about doing the unexpected.
As Berry explained, Prophetic AI uses generative AI as the scribe translating the dream data.
“The generative AI is like a medium,” Berry told Decrypt. “Putting the words and the sentence for our language model equivalent.”
According to Wollberg, Prophetic AI is aiming for a late 2025 release of the Halo headsets after testing with the Netherlands-based Donders Institute and the UK-based research center TTP Group is completed. Halos can be reserved for $100 on the Prophetic AI website.
While paying $100 to reserve technology that is still years off from being released may not sit well with some, Wollberg said the money is held in escrow until the Halos are released and the $100 credited towards the final price of the Halo device.
“The whole idea with the reservations is we’re essentially creating our order book,” Wollberg said. “So we can partner with a tier one manufacturer, like a Foxconn. And so that’s the strategy there.”
Metaphysics aside, AI developers have come under increased scrutiny from policymakers and advocacy groups that question where and how the data used to train AI models are used and stored. In June, ChatGPT creator OpenAI pledged $1 million towards AI-driven cybersecurity initiatives. OpenAI followed this pledge in September with an open call to so-called “red teams” to help find holes in its suite of AI tools.
Wollberg says that while he understands cybersecurity is essential to any technology advancement, he hopes to alleviate fears and says Prophetic AI works hard to ensure user data is secure.
While lucid dreaming has benefits—including enabling personal insight, nightmare resolution, and creative problem-solving—the Sleep Foundation cautions against continuous lucid dreaming, saying that it can cause disrupted sleep patterns and impact mental health in those who experience PTSD and nightmares.
Despite critics and skeptics casting doubt on lucid dreaming’s benefits, Prophetic AI stands firm in its mission.
“We want people to sense that they are part of a shared metaphysical journey, understanding that all consciousness contributes to this data,” Wollberg said. “We believe that this information can significantly accelerate consciousness research.”