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!
Further reading: Science fiction
- Crosstalk by Connie Willis
- Nexus trilogy by Ramez Naam
- “Mute,” Twilight Zone episode
- “To Serve Man,” Twilight Zone episode
- Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
- Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg
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.
And if you want to support the show, there are a few ways you can do that too! Here’s how to support the show financially. But if that’s not in the cards for you, you can head to Apple Podcasts and leave us a nice review or just tell your friends about us. Those things really do help.
That’s all for this future, come back next time and we’ll travel to a new one.
Flash Forward is a critically acclaimed podcast about the future.
In each episode, host Rose Eveleth takes on a possible (or not so possible) future scenario — everything from the existence of artificial wombs, to what would happen if space pirates dragged a second moon to Earth. What would the warranty on a sex robot look like? How would diplomacy work if we couldn’t lie? Could there ever be a black market for fecal transplants? (Complicated, it wouldn’t, and yes, respectively, in case you’re curious.) By combining audio drama and deep reporting, Flash Forward gives listeners an original and unique window into the future, how likely different scenarios might be, and how to prepare for what might come.