Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The World Wide Mind

In 15 years time, technology could enable a mind to search for, or “Google” for, the answer to any question, information about which, or the solution, is available in connected minds across the world.

Mind reading and thought control could be creepy topics. On the one hand, they conjure up images of black magic where adepts can look into a victim’s mind and then hurt him or otherwise control his behaviour without his knowledge, and on the other hand, we remember Pink Floyd and their defiant call to evade thought control in the classroom. Even Uri Geller’s celebrated demonstrations of bending spoons by thought, in the 1970s, was viewed very suspiciously by the scientific community. In fact this whole business of reading and controlling the mind is seen as being based on superstitions and beyond the reach of the science and technology that is taught in our schools.

But strangely enough, today, there is a bioinformatics company, Emotiv, that sells commercial mind reading equipment starting at $350 and the OpenBCI initiative (where BCI stands for Brain Computer Interface) manufactures equipment that allow students to build thought-controlled robots!

What kind of volte face in the technology community can turn a superstition into consumer product?

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