SciFi Question of the Day: Which is more plausible, telepathy that comes about as a natural development in homo sapiens, or telepathy that is created via technology?
Barry Gavin Short term technology – long term long after our current “civilisation” falls into tales and history books evolution
Dede Pazour I hope, neither. My unvoiced thoughts are the only things that are safe from the NSA, and I’d like to keep it that way. The space between my ears is a no-fly zone!
Zoee Attorelli first one.
Clive Hanuschak I think that innate esper ability could be augmented with technology. Where do I sign up?!!
Renee McKinley Natural development. As is already the case
Gwendolyn Wilkins I think both will come to pass, but the latter will happen first
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Matthew Stephens Technology. Definitely. We already have instant wireless communication and implantable hardware. We’re already making prosthesis that respond to thought waves. All we need now is a much better interface.
Zachary Besterfield Technology that can only be used by the most hyper-emphatic and mildly schizophrenic people. Some people have successfully induced schizophrenia in order to exploit the technology. To date, there is still no know way to induce empathy, though eugenics programs have proven viable.
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Cate C Via technology
Andy Hainline I would say “technology,” simply because evolution always has a specific reason for doing things the way that it does . . . and right now, there isn’t any real survival benefit to telepathy (in fact, I can see being telepathic as hurting your chances of survival, because you’d have to learn how to tune out others’ thoughts through force of will, an unnecessary step that others don’t have to go through). But with technology? Hell, with technology, almost anything is possible. So I vote for that.
Cate C Yeah
William Kelley You also need to keep in mind the amount of energy that would be needed for evolutionary based telepathy.. Humans intake of sustenance is done at such a high amount mostly to keep our already taxed brains running correctly.. Add on a function that would constantly beam every thought of yours out of your body via some form of radio/long range brain wave and you are going to need a lot more power.
Cate C Yes, that is a good point.
Liam Anderson The timescale also plays a part. Google might develop “telepathy” as a screenless interface in a decade or so, biological telepathy would require several thousand years. Evolutionary benefits? The human race is reaching the point that the competitive spirit which took it to the top will kill it, and technology is restricted to those who can pay for it. Natural and total telepathy which could not be switched off would have a transformational effect on society. No privacy and no secrets. The ultimate empathy. A murderer would ecperience his victim’s death. Governments would not have secrets and could not silence anyone. There would be no innocence. Everyone would have access to the sexual content of everyone”s brain at all times. If this happened to the human race, our entire culture would have to be restructured from the ground up.
Liam Anderson I’m on a roll here! Think what it would do to negotiation! How could you do a deal when you know what the other person is thinking and they know what you are thinking? Intellectual property would be irrelevant. The knowledge to create anythibg would be freely available. The internet and social networks would be obsolete, as would communications technology.
Jay J I think technology. But “telepathy” is a very broad word.
Alex Cake Technology could achieve this exceedingly easily, on varying scales.
Stefon Mears Either can be plausible. Go with whichever works better for the story.
Phil Friel Anyone who is interested in the subject of telepathy really, really should read Alfred Bester’s THE DEMOLISHED MAN. It’s the best portrayal I’ve ever read of telepathy in a human-based society (Earth).
Andy Hainline Another excellent portrayal of telepaths and humans coexisting (or not doing such a good job of it) is J. Michael Sraczynski’s wonderful sci-fi show, Babylon 5, which features a race o human telepaths living side-by-side with humanity on Earth. And the best part? One of the top operatives of the “Psi Corps” is named . . .Alfred Bester. 😛
Stefon Mears Both The Demolished Man and Babylon 5 have excellent depictions of telepathy. I would also suggest Octavia Butler’s Patternmaster books.
(I’m also please with the way I’ve done it in my upcoming novel, but this isn’t the place to talk about that.)
Phil Friel As Andy says, there was also Babylon 5, one of my all-time favourite telefantasy series. The evil Psi Corps in this were the dark mirror image of the benevolent Telepath’s Guild in THE DEMOLISHED MAN. Joe Straczynski was always a huge fan of Bester’s work, and this was a major tribute to one of the SF favourites of his youth.
Another old telepath favourite of mine was A. E. van Vogt’s SLAN, which was published around the same time as THE DEMOLISHED MAN (circa 1950?). SLAN was probably the prototype for almost every modern “homo superior persecuted by homo sapiens” work in SF, sci-fi TV and cinema and comics. I loved that novel, and must’ve read it a dozen times back in my late teens. Time for a re-read, methinks.
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Nico Paloceropalo 2nd one is already in development
David Foster I am going to go with technology as well. Radio waves are easy. It is just the brain interface that is tricky.
AmyBeth Inverness If we had both, I wonder if they’d be compatible?
Lee Lyte First one already exists. Not really accepted so I see technology gets the nod.
Nico Paloceropalo who read minds?
Eoghann Irving If you’re talking telepathy purely in the sense of communicating then we’re practically there already with technology.
James A Woods I read somewhere that the electrical output required is greater than the human heart can handle. Gotta go with tech.
Cate Russell-Cole Natural