Is ‘Shadow’ the most sinister startup ever?

By Milo Yiannopoulos on September 19th, 2013

Even the name is redolent of the black terror of Babylon 5. Shadow is a New York City-based start-up, currently jonesing for cash on Kickstarter, that wants to record your dreams – and then share that data with the world.

If it’s a hoax, it’s bloody elaborate – and not particularly funny. Instead, it’s desperately sinister. Take a look at this.

It’s not recording your dreams itself, of course: For that, it would need actual proper technology, rather than an iPhone app. What it’s doing instead is getting you to record what you can as soon in that groggy state immediately after you wake up.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because that’s what the SAS used to do to IRA terrorists. The brain is less self-aware in these early-morning states and more likely to yield its treasures.

Shadow is counting on that, because it wants to take what you dream, extract out the “keywords” and send that information to the internet, where your data will be added to that of anyone else monstrously naïve enough to download its products.

You know what else is desperate to get inside your head and suck out the juicy goodness? Zombies. But at least they’re suffering from an undead imperative. This company wants to take out credit on your sexual fantasies.

And not just sexual fantasies. You see, the thing about the unconscious mind is that it processes are entirely involuntary. We’ve all had dreams in which we’ve seen ourselves do disturbing things. It doesn’t mean we want to do them in real life, but…

Let’s be honest: Shadow is probably the most disturbing thing yet to emerge from the internet industry – and that’s saying something.

Not content with getting its greedy mitts on my stuff for its own financial enrichment, the tech industry now wants to get inside my head and collect information about my most private cognitive states.

This is stuff I sometimes don’t even share with my partner. Yet thanks to its gently rising alarm clock, the app may well trick me, in my vulnerable morning state, to reveal more than I want to.

And then make a “cloud” out of it, or whatever it is rapacious, privacy-invading start-up bastards do these days under the moniker of “connectedness” when the question they’re really asking is: how do I make the most effective advertising delivery network on the planet?

Shadow’s website is as you’d expect: formidably glossy. We’ll help you to record and remember your dreams, it says. Yeah, course you will. I mean, really: How stupid do these people think we all are?

The Kickstarter page for Shadow, which as I write has raised less than 40 per cent of its target, is also dripping with meaningless Silicon Valley jargon. What it neglects to say is how Shadow intends to profit from your unconscious mind.

Will it serve ads to you in your impressionable, bleary-eyed morning state? To answer that question we might want to know who’s behind the thing. And it’s there that things become truly misery-inducing.

The founder of Shadow, Hunter Lee Soik, describes himself like this:

“Equal parts innovation strategist and entrepreneur, hunter lee soik combines an interest in technology and fashion with a broad understanding of production—both digital and physical.

“Armed with an intra-disciplinary skill set that transcends a single career path, hunter has designed experiences for some of the world’s most exciting brands: from Stella McCartney and Art Basel to Kanye West and Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne tour.

“Fluent in navigating the languages, conventions and institutional barriers of various disciplines, hunter founded Wardenclyffe Institute, an innovation consulting group that forms brief networks to solve problems, in 2009.”

Any idea what any of that means? Nope, me neither. But here’s one thing I do know: “innovation strategist” Soik is getting nowhere near my dreams. Ever.