Telepathy in 2014?

Witchery, madness, folklore, and fiction are just a few words one may think of when it comes to telepathy. However, the researchers at PLOS ONE would like to differ. PLOS ONE scientists recently held a two person experiment that sent a one worded email with common tools such as the human brain, electroencephalograph (EEG), and the Internet. This may not be telepathy exactly, but like the article states, it’s probably the closest science has ever come (Locke, 2014).

telepathy picture

(Locke, 2014)

So, how does it work? The sender is hooked up to an EEG, a machine also used to measure brain activity for seizures, comas, or general brain malfunctions (Vrocher III, 2014). Meanwhile, the receiver experiences transcranial magnetic stimulation, which is typically used to treat depression by stimulating nerve cells as stated in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (2014). Researchers then create a binary code for the words “hola” and “ciao” that works much like the Morse code, but utilize combinations of “0” and “1” to represent each letter.

Once the code is established, the sender transmits the message as he thinks about moving his feet to code “0” and moving his hands to code “1.” The binary code traveled through the Internet and created flashes through the magnetic stimulation that was translated by the receiver.

Overall, the experiment was a success and takes the first step that combines technological advances with telepathy – a concept most people regard as imaginary. However, is all this effort really worth working toward for a form of communication that only has the possibility of succeeding? For a form of communication that only has a potential to become practical, if at all? I believe it is.

In an article written in 1945, Vannevar Bush discusses the future of technology and what it may yield to consumers. Bush questions typewriters and other machines that transcribe. He proposes that one day an author may be able to speak directly to a device, and in return it will compose the words that were spoken just moments before (uh, Siri).

As a man ahead of his time claims, “Some of them [machines] will be sufficiently bizarre to suite the most fastidious connoisseur of the present artifacts of civilization“ (Bush, 1945). The telepathic email may very well be “bizarre” for even the most tech savvy human being, but Bush also believes the root of this issue is a cause of the basic supply and demand marketing principle. In order for these innovations to thrive and improve people must grow a need and create a market for it.

With cars that can start at the push of a button, rooftops that convert light to energy, and phones that can access the World Wide Web, maybe telepathic emails aren’t too far fetched.

 

References:

Bush, V. (1945, July 1). As We May Think. Retrieved September 9, 2014, from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1945/07/as-we-may-think/303881/3/

Locke, S. (2014, September 7). Brain-to-Brain Communication is Finally Possible. It’s Just Very Clunky. Retrieved September 9, 2014, from http://www.vox.com/2014/9/7/6115573/telepathy-brain-communication-EEG-TMS

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. (2014). Retrieved September 9, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/transcranial-magnetic-stimulation/basics/definition/PRC-20020555

Vrocher III, D. (2014). Electroencephalography, EEG: Definition and Facts on Results. Retrieved September 9, 2014, from http://www.emedicinehealth.com/electroencephalography_eeg/article_em.htm

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2 thoughts on “Telepathy in 2014?

  1. While this is indeed a very exciting advancement in both the medicinal and communicative fields, I feel nervous as to where advertisers or marketers could take this. Our minds are our last sanctuary, and what is to stop brands from telepathically placing advertisements in our minds once the technology meaningfully develops in the future? With the rise in wearable technology, the next obvious step is chip implantation, which would basically act as a digital highway leading straight into our minds. Very cool concept though.

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  2. I’m not so sure that people are ready for a technology like this. As the person above said, the next step after wearable tech is implanting technology directly into human beings. While this may seem scifi to us now, it’s really only a matter of time. The topic is too hot to advertisers to touch yet. We will have to wait until we have adjusted to the idea and the technology is advanced enough to put initial doubts of safety and privacy at ease.

    Liked by 1 person

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