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Issue #19 – Playing With Reality – Kroppspress, Birds Aren’t Real and the Postmodern Singularity 🚀🔮🌟

Thijs Pepping
July 06, 2021

It’s official: the full title of our upcoming book is “Real Fake – Playing with Reality in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”.

“Real Fake” is our take on synthetic media and the follow-up to our 2008 book “Me the Media”. Real Fake is about how humans continuously manipulate reality and how new digital technology tools enable us to go one step further in this ancient game. This includes modern phenomena like conspiracy theories such as QAnon, Deepfakes, and fake news, but also virtual humans such as CGI Influencer Lil Miquela and virtual worlds like Fortnite.

Norway Law Forces Influencers to Label Retouched Photos on Instagram

“Legislators in Norway have passed new regulations requiring influencers and advertisers to label retouched photos in a bid to fight unrealistic beauty standards.”
Body pressure, or “kroppspress” in Norway, is a major topic of conversation in the country. By prohibiting advertisers and influencers from posting doctored photos without proper documentation with a government-authorized label, the government hopes to lessen the negative impacts of body pressure on young people. Such pressure can have deleterious effects on kids and teens’ sense of self-worth.

Watch the Internet React to the Shower Scene in Sex/Life

“Netflix’s latest show Sex/Life is more saucy than 365 Days, Fifty Shades of Grey and Bridgerton combined. It’s messy, chaotic and the memes perfectly sum up the drama that goes down. There is one scene that has left everyone talking about. And that’s 19 minutes and 50 seconds into the third episode of Sex/Life.”
Watch a thousand memes on the most rewinded scene on Netflix.

Birds Aren’t Real Movement

“One theory that seems intentionally nonsensical but is nonetheless gaining traction on social media is the ”Birds Aren’t Real“ movement, which is built around the claim that, well, birds aren’t real. The unsubstantiated theory alleges that, between 1959 and 2001, the government killed off all birds and replaced them with surveillance drones. It’s such a bizarre idea that it almost seems like a parody of other conspiracy theories—and it very well might be, despite what the movement’s apparent leader insists.”
Aahhh, we get it, that’s why birds sit on power lines, it is to charge their batteries… There is even a subreddit group on this conspiracy theory and a website.

Presentation: Future of Social Communities

A look at the evolution of brand communities and the opportunities to create deeper engagement with our fans.”

How Long Until the Citizen App Gets Someone Killed?

“If you give people this power to draw attention based around a dangerous event, then they are actually encouraged to seek out, or at worst manufacture, these dangerous events.”
Interesting thought, does the Citizen app make crime worse than it was before?

What to Watch in Crypto

“Crypto’s most intelligent investors identify the projects worth paying attention to. […] The purpose of this piece is to answer that question. Or, at least, to begin to. We have assembled a collection of ten of the most perceptive crypto investors and asked them to share the projects and spaces that excite them most. These are not the bombastic YOLO artists of Twitter, but deep thinkers and pragmatic asset allocators. Despite their metier, this is not investment advice, but rather a discussion of projects worth learning more about.”

How a VR Museum Will Tell LGBTQ+ Stories

The LGBTQ+ VR museum, a first-of-its-kind exhibit, will be viewable using VR headsets like the Quest 2. The digital museum collects images of artwork from LGBTQ+ artists around the world, exhibited alongside 3D scans of real-world objects. Each object will be accompanied by an audio recording from its contributor explaining the object’s ties to their personal journey—how it was integral to their coming out, or how it was attached to a feeling of gender euphoria.”

MUST WATCH I: Investing in the Metaverse

Revisit the Reality Show

On the 15th of June 2021 we organized our yearly summit. This year we tried to answer the question how digital technology is changing our relationship with reality. More than 1000 people have already watched our show. So if you want to know more about deepfakes, virtual humans, cgi influencers, synthetic media, AR, VR and mixed reality, then please watch our show.

New Book

Last week the cover was chosen for our Dutch book “Echt Nep”, a positive book about deepfakes, synthetic media, conspiracy theories, CGI influencers, immersive storytelling, NFTs and the metaverse. The book will be published in the autumn of this year. We are also currently working on an English version called “Real Fake”. We will keep you updated in the coming weeks!


Playing with Reality is a weekly newsletter in which SogetiLabs’s Research Institute VINT examines the future where synthetic reality becomes part or our objective reality. We investigate the impact of new technology on people, organisations and our society. If you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us at

About the author

Trend Analyst VINT | Netherlands
Thijs Pepping is a humanistic trend analyst in the field of new technologies. He is part of the think tank within SogetiLabs and in his work he continuously wonders and analyses what the impact of New Technologies is on our lives, organizations and society. He specialized in Humanistic Counselling and Education at the University of Humanistics in Utrecht.


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