SciFi Question of the Day: Which would be a greater benefit to humanity as a whole? For all humans to have touch telepathy, or for all humans to have regional empathy?
(Let’s say TT means if you have skin/skin contact with another human, you can both hear each other’s surface thoughts. For RE, all humans have a general sense of the emotional state of everyone in their general vicinity, like 10m.)
Barry Gavin I just want to be able to read women’s minds so that I can leave the room without having to be glared at first o.0
Jessi Shakarian Regional empathy. Having touch telepathy could cause a lot more problems than fixing them.
Geri Bressler TT – regional empathy would be overwhelming and full to too many conflicting emotions
John Vipperman If you could lie via TT, I’d say Regional Empathy. The most earth-shattering element would simply be knowing you can trust (or distrust) someone. That alone, without anything else, would change a whole lot.
William J. Teegarden TT. Can you imagine RE in a Walmart? Instant insanity! Rich Gedney touch. you would go wonky like with regional.
Perry Willis I say neither. Regional empathy could lead to a sort of reverse mind control, where the group can influence the individual. Kind of like when individuals join into a mob mentality. And touch telepathy unless people are able to filter, would lead to too much animosity as the white lie would no longer be possible if you can come in contact. And if people were able to filter, then what would be the point anyway. What would be better to have would be a telepathic concience, where you can feel when anyone is in pain. The worse the pain, the worse the feeling, also augmented by proximity. Would be the closest thing able to eliminate wars, crime, cruelty and maybe even greed.
Dale Thelander TT. RE would be maddening.
Google Plus Answers, Speculative Fiction Writers Community:
Matt L.T. Smith …I think touch telepathy. It puts a bigger emphasis on human intimacy and would help bring individuals closer together. Even without an empathetic side to the power, it still has great potential to create incredibly deep and emotional experiences. Regional empathy could have varying effects however, because people can be emotionally confusing or frightening. To be able to feel anger, hate, fear, sadness, happiness etc, from the people around you all at once, I feel would become overwhelming, even if it is just a general sense within a ten metre distance. Not to mention the invasion of privacy the regional empathy entails, you don’t necessarily want everyone to know how you are feeling, some people mask emotions for a reason.
J. Michael Schmidt …Lol, would any of you believe I have something like regional empathy. Don’t ask me how. I just can feel, in a vague, but rather reliable way, what the emotional state people are in around me. Sometimes it is true for strangers, depending. I think it also has to do with unconsciously reading body language clues.But, my point is, it depends on the level, the depth, of these powers I think. Imagine someone who could touch people, and be consumed by even their surface thoughts; they might be terrified to touch someone else. Or, imagine someone has regional empathy, and they are constantly bombarded by emotions completely foreign to them; they would have grown up getting depressed for no reason, or scares. The more people they were around, the worst it’d be; or the stronger the emotions of someone, the more they’d feel it. They’d be scared to be around anyone.
Matt L.T. Smith …The implication for this however was just surface thoughts, so presumably you’d have some control over what the person touching you can hear. On that level I think it could be something constructive.
J. Michael Schmidt …But, if you can’t control hearing the other persons thoughts, its a game changer, lol. How bout, if two people are intimate they might lose control over their thoughts.
Matt L.T. Smith …We’ll just have to put a sticker on it ‘Warning: Use at own risk. Could cause you to lose control and trip out’. haha
Edrei Zahari …Isn’t empathy about feeling what the other person is feeling?Personally it’s go with regional empathy rather than touch telepathy. Given than all that you touch screws up what you see, rather than controlling what you feel around you. It’s easier to build a society that cares for the emotional wellbeing of one another through empathy rather than a society that fears touching everything else because of what they may feel.
Abby Goldsmith …I think people constantly underestimate the negative effects of telepathy. Say goodbye to personal privacy. Governments and businesses could make use of that power, to the detriment of their rivals or underlings. It would change the world, but not in a good way.I’m gonna go with empathy.
Google Plus Answers, Sci-Fi Community:
Google Plus Answers, Science Fiction Community:
Jack OShyte …Telepathy of any kind would be a disaster. For one, we don’t even know what we ourselves are thinking. Adding the thoughts of others would not be constructive. For another, people around us harbor some surprisingly dark thoughts. It would likely depress us or worse. We would need to wear protective clothing. For similar reasons, empathy would not be beneficial. We would need a way to block it. The exception to both of these would be sensing the thoughts and feelings of an enlightened individual. Of course, this would be very expensive.
Gustavo Campanelli …I don’t want anybody to know what I think, so I don’t like telepathy. Empathy, on the other hand, would make things better for a lot of people.
Stephanie Chaptal …Empathy. Would be more difficult to have local conflicts this way.
Mike Rees …Telepathy. There are a lot of feelings that I don’t like, so the idea of other people making me feel them horrifies me.
Kirsten Corby …I would definitely say empathy. It would make the actual practice of warfare damn near impossible.
Google Plus Answers, Public Post:
Jonathan Black …Touch would lead to a very distant society that fragments all over. Regional would be better, but I think it would tribalize the world.
Thomas Sanjurjo …The latter is coming soon, with the advent of google glass and the enhancement of sensors, we’re going to be able to see people’s moods with fairly reliable accuracy.I don’t think being able to read surface thoughts would be any good, very often people aren’t aware of their own surface thoughts and so it would likely be more confusing than helpful.
Laura Klein RE could be rough, actually. Come to think of it, so would touch telepathy. Really. At least with the touch telepathy, I could maybe wear gloves and a body suit to keep private. I worked a long time to keep all my sarcastic comments inside.I would much rather be able to interface with machines telepathically (driving, looking up information online, etc).
AmyBeth Inverness …Eep!.
Eoghann Irving …Empathy is pretty much always more beneficial to society than telepathy.
Jonathan Black …Any kind of mass telepathy would lead towards a near catastrophic, if not a complete catastrophic break down of society.
Gregory Lynn …Touch telepathy might eliminate prostitution.
Jonathan Black …Or enhance it if she’s good enough.
Kimberly Unger …I think TT, simply because if it requires skin to skin, you can still find a way to keep your thoughts private.
Mince Walsh …If people grew up with a regional telepathy, they would be acclimated to it. It would do absolutely amazing things to productivity. Working together would take on a whole new meaning regarding efficiency. Initially though, it would cause complete and utter chaos once implemented. If people were brought into it as children and grew up with it, I’m sure they would have very little trouble with it.
Miaka Kirino …This question immediately brings to mind my husband’s story ParaNormal and its sequel _ParaNormal: Second Story_. (links: http://www.fictionpress.com/s/593068/1/ParaNormaland http://www.fictionpress.com/s/3011868/1/ParaNormal-Second-Story )
Jonathan Black …Eventually, a more peaceful or totalitarian society would evolve out of the addition of mass telepathy to humankind.
Kerry Amburgy-Dickson …Or +Jonathan Black humanity would not be able to deal with the new stimuli and would have a psychotic break and our society would catastrophically implode.
Ezra Strong …Empathy. I think, longterm, empathy would force humanity to deal with some of its problems. Less substance abuse, less violence.
Q: If JJ Abrams had been the director of “The Bible” how would it have been “re-envisioned?”
I liked a lot of the comments here. Above in the Facebook answers, Perry Willis made a good observation. Mob rule would be the standard.
It’s interesting to consider how many science fiction (and fantasy writers) have dealt with this issue. I actually liked the way J. Michael Strazynski decribed a telepathic society (and an empath) in Babylon 5, save that somehow the Blips were always a lot more “Bunnies and Light” than I would expect for a group who is on the run and desperate.