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Thursday, March 31, 2005

From a Brain-Computer Interface For Music to Telepathy and Global Consciousness

I have a variety of friends. Some of them more spiritually inclined than others. With most of my friends I'm used to being the flaky one. The weird one. The one who amuses people with her strange and naive ideas. The one who has tarot readings and clears her aura. The one who says she has precognitions and feelings about things. The one who is charmingly and harmlessly a little deranged.

I am also a scientist. My scientific and logical friends will smile tolerantly here. This was going to be a scientific post about the brain-computer interface for music research being conducted at the Future Music Lab (via we make art not money). This was going to be a short and informative post with a couple of links. But I changed my mind.

I changed my mind because I had an idea. Sort of like one of those Eureka moments, but not quite as dramatic. More like an opening of a page in my brain that I've seen before.

It's times like these that I miss Matt. We used to have the coolest discussions about ideas like this one. I have seen numerous things that remind me of one or another of those discussions. This is just the most recent. If Matt had been here I probably wouldn't be writing this. But seeing as he's not, and seeing as I am short on scientific, non-judgemental, open-minded friends who love discussing abstract technological ideas, I am blogging this. I assume this is what blogs are for. Replacements for when there is no one to talk to.

Anyway. Back to the idea.

In spiritual circles people talk about and often believe in things like telepathy and global consciousness. Things that quite a lot of other people don't believe in.

But it seems to me that it is only a small step from these prototype brain-computer interfaces to telepathy and global consciousness enabled by technology. It all it really needs is a two-way interface between computers and brains.

If I could access my computer with my brain waves (preferably wireless from an isolated West Coast beach), then essentially I can access all the information on the internet and I can communicate with all my friends...telepathic emails or phonecalls or whatever you feel like calling them

Obviously there are downsides. I'd have to have a pretty good security system as I wouldn't want just anyone hacking into my brain. And I probably wouldn't get anything done (imagine del.icio.us and flickr feeds directly into my brain!!)...and I'm sure there's more...

But it will mean that even the most hardcore non-believers will be able to experience a limited form of telepathy and global consciousness. Cool huh?

There are lots and lots of sci-fi books that deal with these kinds of issues. William Gibson obviously, but I also read several by Paul Anderson, who also deals with a form of immortality by having some sort of device which can traverse your brain and all its interconnections and re-create your mind in software.
Haven't read many novels oevr the past few years.

Are William Gibson and Pual ANderson good writers? I used to be able to just read books for their ideas, but I have gotten pickier in my old age.
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