By Edward Willett
This piece was originally posted
here on Edward’s blog Hassenpfeffer.
I’m a hard-line skeptic when it comes to the topic of ESP (extra-sensory perception). I don’t believe in
telepathy, precognition, telekinesis, or people bending flatware
just by looking at it.
That said, I’m pretty confident that in the near future
mind-reading will be possible. Not for us, though: for our
In fact, machines can already read our minds, to a limited
Just recently, Ambient Corporation demonstrated a
neckband that translates thought into speech…sort of.
It takes some training to use, and requires “a level above
thinking,” according to Michael Callahand, inventor of the Audeo with fellow
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researcher Thomas
Coleman and co-founder with Coleman of the Ambient Corporation.
Rather than broadcasting a person’s thoughts, it picks up on
nerve signals deliberately, but soundlessly, sent to the vocal
cords, and relays those signals wirelessly to a computer, which
then converts them into words spoken by a computerized voice.
The current system only recognizes about 150 words and phrases,
but an improved version is supposed to be out by the end of the
year that doesn’t have a vocabulary limit, because instead of
recognizing specific words and phrases, it will identify the
distinct bits of sound, called phonemes, that we use to construct
By Dick Pelletier
Scientists predict that over the next three decades,
technologies will bring about enormous changes in our physical and
mental abilities. By as early as 2035, experts say, we could be
living in a powerful disease-free, youthful body with tiny nanobots
roaming throughout every cell maintaining optimum performance
levels for all our daily activities.
Nano-enforced bones and polymer muscles will empower us with
physical abilities almost beyond belief. We could outrun a horse,
jump from the ground to a one-story roof, and focus our eyes to
view microscopic creatures as small as dust mites. Cutting edge
brain enhancements will provide even more super-abilities. We will
control lights, security systems, and electronics with just our
thoughts, and even perceive objects behind solid walls.
Intellectual property expert Fred Hapgood predicts that we will
also enjoy “cell phone implants (which allow virtual telepathy) and
memory backups (downloading memory to a computer disk) will also
become available in this bold future”. Hapgood adds that it may be
possible to upload and download entire minds in and out of bodies,
achieving a sort of immortality.
Many of these abilities, experts say, are a long way off, but
none are thought to be impossible. Most people embrace enhancements
that would make them healthier, happier, and more able, but a few
conservatives oppose this radical progress as not being
Ignoring this future though, may not be an option. If
co-workers, friends, or competitors can search the Internet during
conversations; remember exactly who said what, when and where; or
control machines with just their thoughts, the only choice may be
to join them or retire. The corporate world will definitely favor a
neurotech-enhanced workforce in the future. (cont.)