Telepathy could one day become a reality: is that something to celebrate?
Today’s Times (£) reports from the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where a Professor Miguel Nicolelsis of Duke University claims to have invented a ‘brain-to-brain interface’.
As well as telepathic communication, “the development opens up possibilities such as soldiers being able to read each other’s thoughts on the battlefield and a person being able to experience directly the imagination, dreams or emotions of another.”
As long as telepathy was in the realm of science fiction – and worked like a kind of brain-telephone – it seemed a benign enough concept. But the telepathy described in The Times could enable the grossest imaginable invasion of our private selves.
In George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston Smith tries to comfort himself with the notion that “the inner heart, whose workings were mysterious even to yourself, remained impregnable.” Perhaps not for much longer.