In our last episode of the season, we take one one of the most requested futures: telepathy! What would it be like to be able to link minds, and communicate brain to brain? And how likely is it that we’ll ever get this kind of technology?
We start the episode by talking to Roger Luckhurst, a Professor in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck, University of London, who explains where the word telepathy comes from, and how it totally obsessed men of science in the early 1800’s. Then, futurist and science fiction author Ramez Naam walks us through both the current state of science and the futuristic world of his science fiction series Nexus, that centers around a drug that gives people telepathic powers. After that, we consider what a future full of telepathic people might mean for etiquette with Robin Abrahams, the etiquette columnist for the Boston Globe. And then we talk privacy and digital security with Kit Walsh, a a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. And we finish out the episode by talking to Lateef McLeod, a poet, blogger, activist and doctoral student in the anthropology and social change program at California Institute for Integral Studies, about how those with complex communication needs might appreciate a new form of communication.
Further reading: Science & history
The Neurologist Who Hacked His Brain -- And Almost Lost His Mind
When “I” becomes “We”: ethical implications of emerging brain-to-brain interfacing technologies
Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies
Brain-to-Brain Interfaces: When Reality Meets Science Fiction
The invention of telepathy, 1870-1901 by Roger Luckhurst
Telepathy and literature: essays on the reading mind by Nicholas Royle
“First Report of the Literary Committee by W.F. Barrett, C.C. Massey, Rev. W. Stainton Moses, Frank Podmore…. In Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research”
Phenomena: the secret history of the U.S. government's investigations into extrasensory perception and psychokinesis by Annie Jacobsen
The 120-Year-Old Mind-Reading Machine
The Future of Human Evolution | Ray Kurzweil Q & A | Singularity University
Science Gave My Son the Gift of Sound
Understanding Deafness: Not Everyone Wants to Be 'Fixed'
Memory Implant Gives Rats Sharper Recollection
Building the Bionic Brain
A cortical neural prosthesis for restoring and enhancing memory
Computing Arm Movements with a Monkey Brainet
A Brain-to-Brain Interface for Real-Time Sharing of Sensorimotor Information
The Ultimate Interface: Your Brain
Reconstructing visual experiences from brain activity evoked by natural movies
Facilitation and restoration of cognitive function in primate prefrontal cortex by a neuroprosthesis that utilizes minicolumn-specific neural firing
Protect Your Right to Repair and Control the Devices in Your Life
Defend Your Right to Repair!
Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose Eveleth. The intro music is by Asura and the outtro music is by Hussalonia. The episode art is by Matt Lubchansky.
If you want to suggest a future we should take on, send us a note on Twitter, Facebook or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love hearing your ideas! And if you think you’ve spotted one of the little references I’ve hidden in the episode, email us there too. If you’re right, I’ll send you something cool.
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