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Computer-Aided ESP Transmits Binary Numbers, Slowly 148

High-C writes "Dr. Christopher James of the University of Southampton has demonstrated what is being termed 'Brain to Brain' communication. In binary, no less. In essence, one person imagined a binary number, which was picked up by an EEG and transmitted via the net to another PC. The received signal was displayed on LEDs flashing at two different frequencies. The receiver's EEG correctly deciphered the string, resulting in a 1:1 transmission of binary data via thought. The throughput isn't great so far, at .14 bits per second, but it's an incredibly geeky proof-of-concept all the same."
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Computer-Aided ESP Transmits Binary Numbers, Slowly

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  • by causality ( 777677 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @05:27PM (#29706231)

    How about mental slashdot comment submission. You hear voices of other commenters in your mind, and you think what you want to say, it automatically appears in the site, and echoes in other commenters' minds.

    Just be careful not to think "first post"

    Slashdotters tend to frown on that sort of thing.

    That'd require a high degree of mental discipline, to the point of being able to control both the content of your thoughts and their timing. That kind of discipline is sorely lacking in the general population, unfortunately. The way I often put it is that most people do not govern their thoughts and view them as a tool like any other; instead, most people are governed by their thoughts and can hardly imagine experiencing life apart from them. I am mostly talking here about when you "think to yourself" in your native language, and the problem with that is that when you experience all of life this way, you lose much of your ability to directly apprehend new realizations and must instead to go through the proxy of symbolic language for everything you experience.

    Most people have a constant and endless supply of somewhat random thoughts that continuously pop into and out of their heads and could hardly sustain complete mental silence (i.e. a form of meditation) for even a few seconds, let alone selectively shut out unwanted thoughts with ease to effortlessly emphasize any particular one. This wouldn't be such a problem for relatively simple controls like "move this mouse cursor to the place I am thinking of" but would be a big problem for anyone intending to mentally dictate sentences and paragraphs and complex lines of reasoning without having to constantly make corrections.

    What interests me is whether machines that accept this kind of input would lead to this kind of mental discipline becoming more common, as most seem to find no adventure in exploring their capabilities and fine-tuning their minds and therefore would balk at the effort without some externally imposed reason. It's a shame it has to be that way, that many need to have a fire of some kind lit under their asses before they will challenge their own limits. However, I still imagine that a society of more effective and capable thinkers would be radically different from the one that we know today and could only be an improvement. It would definitely be better than the widespread ignorance (of learning how to learn) that, whether you believe they encourage it or not, is definitely politically convenient for the powers-that-be.

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson