Is the human brain capable of thought transference, otherwise known as telepathy? The scientific establishment rules out the existence of all psychic phenomena, disputing such claims as lucky guesses, coincidences, or outright fraud.
But while natural mind-to-mind communication remains elusive, artificial telepathy seems all but certain to become a reality, perhaps even within our lifetimes.
Researchers from the University of Washington have successfully conducted the first human-to-human brain interface.
Rajesh Rao and Andrea Stocco conducted the experiment, demonstrating that one person could actually remote control the physical actions of another person – by using nothing more than simple thought.
Rao wore a special headpiece wired with electrodes. The headpiece connected back to a machine which interpreted his brain activity. For the experiment, Roa played a computer game. But instead of physically manipulating the computer controls, he merely thought of moving his hand to carry out the action.
In an isolated part of the campus, Stocco – who was also hooked up to the interface – experienced an incredible sensation. His right hand was moving involuntarily, perfectly mimicking Roa’s thoughts.
The implications of the experiment are both astounding and ghastly. One day, it might actually be possible for quadriplegics to manipulate their surrounding environment, using their thoughts in place of hands and legs.
Yet who’s to say that such powerful technology won’t be subverted? Will computer hackers be able to break into your mind and, quite literally, steal your ideas? Will they be able to make their victims carry out actions against their will?
For now, those future scenarios remain the stuff of science fiction. But thanks to scientists like Roa and Stocco, science fiction is quickly becoming science fact.