By Dr.S S Verma, Professor, Department of Physics, SLIET
Telepathy is the transfer of information on thoughts or feelings between individuals by means other than the five senses. A person who is able to make use of telepathy is said to be able to read the thoughts and stored information in the brain of others. There are people that feel that telepathy is the evolutionary destiny of humanity. The term was coined in 1882 by the classical scholar Fredric W. H. Myers, a founder of the Society for Psychical Research, and has remained more popular than the more-correct expression thought-transference. Telepathy is a flexible, modular communications framework that enables real-time communication via pluggable protocol backends. Telepathy is a communications service that can be accessed by many applications (“clients”) simultaneously.
Many studies/stories seeking to detect, understand, and utilize telepathy have been done within this field. Particularly Indian philosophy some people are born with the ability or some develop it with practice to read other people’s minds. It was well founded principle of the telepaths that the purpose of telepathy was not to read someone’s mind to misuse the information but it could only be used to deliver and receive messages for the well being of mankind. It is said that telepathy works because there is one large cosmic tower, a bit like a cell phone tower, on planet Earth. This facilitates transmission of brain waves between individuals. It happens to us often but we don’t realize it. Sometimes we think about a person we are close to and that very person calls us at that moment or even lands up at our door. However, any claims of telepathy as a real phenomenon in everyday life are at odds so far with the scientific consensus. Skeptics of telepathy state that there is no scientific proof because there is no technique discovered which shows statistically significant evidence of telepathy on every occasion. Therefore, according to the prevailing view among scientists, telepathy lacks replicable results from well-controlled experiments. However, parapsychologists argue, however, that there are some instances of telepathy that are real. They claim that the statistical significance and consistency of results shown by a meta-analysis of numerous studies provides evidence for telepathy that is almost impossible to account for using any other means.
Electronics in its various applications not only have made its users life more comfortable but also have made many things possible which few decades back were thought as impossible. On the same footing, telepathy once thought to be a sixth sense or a mythological concept is going to be possible for mankind with the help of electronics. Many electronic companies all over the world are working to make electronic telepathy a reality. Scientists and engineers propose that electronic is evolving to the point that it will bring our collective thinking and intellectual capacity into a kind of global “hive mind” and thus one day may augment neural processes and, thus, enable “electronic telepathy,” or digital communication between human minds. Technologically enabled telepathy is also called “techlepathy,” “synthetic telepathy,” or “psychotronics.”
Electronic Telepathy or e-telepathy is a sub-trope of Telepathy. In most cases characters using telepathic powers will do so by using some kind of supernatural force or a highly evolved biological mechanism. However, in some cases a character will have no natural or supernatural telepathic ability and instead use a Neural Interface to gain this power. In this form of telepathy, thoughts are converted from impulses in the brain (electric activity produced by neuron reaction potentials) into digital signals that can then be broadcast artificially to another e-telepath using radio waves or some other form of wireless communication. This form of telepathy is different from others in that it does not allow mind reading, since a person must be actively transmitting a signal in order for another to receive it. However, is possible for an enterprising cyborg to “mind hack” another user of an implant and monitor their thoughts without their permission, similar to infecting a computer with spyware.
Futurists think that brain-computer interfaces may make telepathy possible. There has already been progress in connecting brains with machines, and a man-machine-man bridge is considered very possible. And if man-machine-man bridges can be made, then such a link can be achieved over great distances using Internet. Telepathy is a common theme in modern fiction and science fiction, with many superheroes and supervillains having telepathic abilities. In more recent times, neuroimaging has allowed researchers to actually perform early forms of mind reading.
The ability to extend and connect our mind power is coming through electronic body implants, wearable computers, and the Internet. If human minds could work directly with the Internet, two grand unifications could happen at once. First, humans would become more closely connected with each other. We would have entirely new ways to sense each others’ presence, moods and needs. Second, humanity and its tool, the Internet, would become a single organism with entirely new powers. This actually sounds a little scary, but similar fears were being raised when telegraphs and telephones first came on the scene. And who could have envisioned social networking as recently as 20 years ago? It is pointed out that technology will not be reading minds, or implanting memories or instant learning, still, the ability of a “wired mind” to interact, in real time, with the global Internet represents the next stage of communication and interaction.
Researchers feel that communicating with nature telepathically will be almost mandatory and commonplace in the near future. Scientists believe in future it may be possible to “decode” the thoughts of brain-damaged patients who cannot speak. In a recent study US researchers were able to reconstruct heard words from brain wave patterns. A computer program was used to predict what spoken words volunteers had listened to by analyzing their brain activity. Research has shown that imagined words activate similar brain areas as words that are actually uttered. The hope further is that imagined words can be uncovered by “reading” the brain waves they produce. However, a system sophisticated enough to achieve the same result non-invasively remains a long way off.
Recent brain-computer-interface toys like those developed by NeuroSky have brought real life telepathy to the general public. The MindFlex made by Mattel in collaboration with NeuroSky was even ranked in Time Magazine’s top 100 toys of all time. In this game the player floats a ball by concentrating on it;an electroencephalogram is used to judge the persons level of concentration through direct measurement of the electrical activity in their brain, this headset then communicates with a platform controlling the speed of a fan and thus the ball. In 2011 a Guinness Book of World Records category was created for brain-computer-interface based telepathy. The NeuroSky MindWave was awarded it for the, “Heaviest machine moved using a brain control interface”. Experiments have proved that with the right hardware, two humans could communicate telegraphically through physical signals converted into nervous system impulses. Scientists have designed a brain-computer interface that goes one step further. Their systems used subjects wearing electroencephalography (EEG) sensors and LEDs attached to computers.
There are several practical and ethical problems to consider in regard to thought-based communication. One is that any system will require subjects to undergo extensive training to work properly. How can you send specific thoughts while protecting others? You wouldn’t want to broadcast every thought you had to the world at large. We’ll need to design a system that is easy to control to keep communication clear and private. Once humans have the ability to send thoughts, we’ll also need to worry about the possibility of people designing system to snoop on conversations. Spying will take on a new element. And then there’s the frightening possibility of thought police. What protections would need to be in place to keep spies from looking in on our thoughts? Some may worry that this sort of technology might lead to ‘mind-reading’ devices which could one day be used to eavesdrop on the privacy of our thoughts.
Since these systems all require a brain-computer interface, there are other ethical issues to consider. A comprehensive system might require you to undergo surgery. You may need sensors implanted in your scalp or even in your brain. This raises concerns about safety — is it medically responsible to implant sensors into a patient? Assuming the patient isn’t suffering from paralysis or some other problem that prevents him or her from speaking, should a doctor perform such surgery? What about people who don’t want to have sensors implanted in their heads? Or people who don’t want to communicate through thought? Will people who choose not to adopt this technology fall behind? Will the human race separate into two different species — cyborgs and traditional humans? And could that lead to even bigger problems? Could we actually experience a communication gap? Right now, it’s impossible to answer these questions. And because the technology is still in its infancy, we have many years to debate the issue and possibly work out solutions in advance.