News and commentary about the Great Frontiers

ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) --- This view of Earth's horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible. Credit: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Image Credit: ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) – Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

The Science of Telepathy


There is little or no scientific evidence for a supernatural or extrasensory telepathic ability, despite claims to the contrary throughout human history. However, there is scientific proof that brain signals can be used to operate robotic arms via wires and extensive computing equipment, and there is little doubt that eventually such technology will be wireless and the brute computing force needed will be compacted down into a tiny brain implant.

After other scientists successfully demonstrated a brain-machine interface in monkeys, researchers at Cyberkinetics Inc. are about to implant their own system, called the BrainGate, into the brains of five paralyzed people. They hope the people will eventually learn to control a computer with the implant. They expect to have a commercial product available by the end of this decade. The article in the online version of The New York Times (which requires free registration before viewing) also mentions several other scientists and research teams currently at work on similar technologies.

Arthur C. Clarke once wrote “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Our world in just a few decades will appear to be one of magic, with our enhanced brains suddenly in control of more than just our own individual bodies. For good or ill, this will occur in the lifetime of most people alive today. Do you think you are ready?

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