In less than 10 years humans will be able to communicate by thought.
Not immediately, but eventually this will lead to the obsoletion of mobile phones for calls and texts; no more email; faster penetration of ideas, learning, information and communication. How ?
My first attempt at writing this blog totalled 3,400 words (11 pages of A4), if you’re looking for more of a tech deep dive, then please read my extended version below containing source links with experimental and evidential data. But for those of you who don’t have time, I am going to explain how communication by thought is going to be a reality in our lifetime.
People I find in general tend not to open their minds to the reality that we are living on a tiny blue sphere, spinning at 1,000 miles per hour on our axis, flying through the milky way at 36,000 miles per hour, constantly missing asteroidal impacts thanks to Jupiter acting as a gravitational slingshot, and that we are in one of an infinite number of galaxies, and maybe even an infinite number of universes within our multiverse. And what's beyond the multiverse(/s) ! Our galaxy is now expanding quicker than the speed of light, yet people still think some things are impossible, like thought communication ?
Firstly we need to discern the difference between what I term H2H (Human to Human) consciousness, and thought communication.
Is the ability for humans to connect consciousness, at will, without the aid of technology. H2H will allow us to share, learn and evolve quicker than we have done at any point during our history.
H2H will occur naturally in humans, through neuro and psychological evolution.
Did you know that certain parts of the human brain, specifically parts of the neocortex (frontal lobe) only evolved 200,000 years ago ? This part of the brain gave humans metaphysical thinking i.e. the type of questions that make us ponder “who are we?”, “why are we here?”. We are fairly certain most other animals (quite possibly apart from orchas and primates) don’t ask themselves these questions. And 300,000 years ago, neither did we.
So if our brains are evolving, they will continue to evolve to communicate naturally, much in the same way when you’re thinking of someone, and they call you that precise moment; is it already starting to happen ? (Important note, I do not believe in people who claim to be psychic !)
The best experiment to prove this phenomena is known as EPR and the Quantum Brain Article. The experiment was carried out by Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen (EPR) in 1978, just a year before I was born. The scientists discovered a “quantum nonlocal interaction effect between correlated brains”; the scientists discovered a correlation in brain patterns between two people, even when the two subjects were distanced 14.5 metres apart.
Two individuals meditated together, were then separated and seated in a Faraday cage preventing any electromagnetic force (e.g. mobile phone signals) entering into or out of the cage. The two individuals were then monitored using EEG to record their bran activity. No verbal communication between the pair took place. When a bright light was illuminated in the eye of subject A and his EEG patterns measured, subject B showed an increase in brain activity in exactly the same area of the brain as subject A when the EEG patterns were recorded. Einstein documented that this appeared in 1 out of every 4 experiments between two people and he termed this interhemispheric correlation as “transferred potential”. Nice :-)
A huge point of debate is where consciousness is located; if it’s in the brain, or if it’s non local. My belief is that consciousness is non local, but the evolution of this part of the neocortex will evolve, in part as an antennae for consciousness communication to the rest of the brain, or other cellular structures in our body.
However, this is many many many years away ! I wanted to discern the different types of brain communication, so now onto thought communication, which will take place in the next decade, if it hasn’t already been developed.
Is reading the output of a brain, interpreting the data and then transmitting the data for another brain to read.
Would you believe me if I told you this technology already exists ?
The brain can already be mapped and read using brain mapping techniques. Interpreting and transmitting the data is simply a case of using existing communication methods such as the Internet or neural networks. Reading / inputting the data back into another brain already exists, albeit slightly modest and early versions of the technology.
An experiment took place at the University of California (UC) in 2011. A group of volunteers were hooked up to a fMRI (functional MRI) machine. A fMRI reads brain activity whereas a MRI reads anatomy. Volunteers were shown movie clips from YouTube, the fMRI then passed the output to an advanced computer program which reconstructed what the volunteers saw. Are you amazed by the computer generated output below ?
Potentially these images, taken directly from a human brain, could then be transmitted to another human brain over the Internet, and visually displayed using either augmented reality (AR) glasses or one day even the soft cell contact lens;
The soft cell lens, doubles as a contact lens and a visual ‘wearable’ device. Using this technology we will be able to see the thoughts of our friends and colleagues in augmented reality, layered on top of what is actually in front of us. We will be able to see our friends thoughts, plus our reality.
Version 2.0 of the soft cell contact lens will use the kinetic energy from your eyes to recharge itself each time we blink, removing the need for us to remove the contact lens, or use wires to recharge (tethered).
Until Soft cell contact lenses are suitably advanced we can simply use existing wearable technology devices such as Google Glass or the Microsoft Hololens.
Hopefully this now gives you an insight into how close we are to making thought communication a reality ?
My final point in this summary section, one that is too important not to mention is the Human Connectome Project. The HCP is an initiative backed by the Obama Administration to “build a ‘network map’ that will shed light on the anatomical and functional connectivity within the healthy human brain, as well as to produce a body of data that will facilitate research into brain disorders such as dyslexia, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and schizophrenia.”.
Receiving over £100m per year in funding, the job of the HCP is to map and decode all 100 billion neurons in the human brain. Very similar to the Human Genome Project funded by the Clinton Administration, the HCP hopes for the same levels of success. This image is known as a Brainbow and is an attempt at discovering how different parts of the brain communicate;
Believe me now ?
The full version
Communication by thought / H2H consciousness
People think I am crazy when I tell them that humans soon will be able to communicate by thought. I tend to get laughed at, I hear light splatters of sniggering in audiences when I start to talk about human to human consciousness. I gave a presentation on behalf of IBM in 2013 and when I mentioned it, the entire front line of the audience started to smile. But why ? When it seems so obvious to me that there already is a LOT more going on than we think we know about. Just look at the animal kingdom and how orcas, bees and bats communicate. Obviously there are some extremely interesting scientific opportunities to arise from this, and there are also some extremely interesting business opportunities to come from this...
I know I don’t need to tell you about the first people who said the iPhone will never take off, Mr Steve Ballmer ? Or one of my favourites “everything that can be created, has been created”. Or how about “Well-informed people know that it is impossible to transmit the human voice over wires” Here are some other Incorrect Predictions if you fancy a giggle; https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Incorrect_predictions
People in general tend not to open their minds to the reality that we are living on a tiny blue sphere, spinning at 1,000 miles per hour on our axis, flying through the milky way at 36,000 miles per hour, constantly missing asteroidal impacts thanks to Jupiter acting as a gravitational slingshot, and that we are one of an infinite number of galaxies, and maybe even an infinite number of universes within our multiverse. And what's beyond the multiverse ! Our galaxy is now expanding quicker than the speed of light, yet people still think some things are impossible, like thought communication ? If you think about what we already know, it should open your mind to the realisation that anything is possible. Yet people still want to remain in the stubbornness of their closed mind, how cool would it be if everyone opened their minds, how much further and quicker would we evolve as sentient beings ? What if this thought communication evolves naturally in our own brains over the next 100,000 years ?
What I am now going to attempt to do, rather than preaching about the future of brain science, is explain technically and scientifically how this is about to happen, in the very near future. Summarising existing experiments from the likes of Einstein such as the EPR Paradox, The Human Connectome Project, Brainbow experiments and what I call “The Steve Martin Brain Mapping Experiment”.
EPR and The Quantum Brain Article
Quantum nonlocal interaction effect between correlated brains
ERP; (Albert) Einstein, (Boris) Podolsky and (Nathan) Rosen
So to start, and put my critiques to shame; “there is now evidence that EPR correlation occurs between human brains”. Of course, as of the present time December 2015, I do not believe there are many humans that are communicating by thought autonomously. There may well be a few. Let me please draw a huge distinction between psychics and brain correlation science. You’ve only got to watch one Derren Brown presentation to understand that most psychics, are not psychic.
I believe in Science, although I cannot call myself a scientist, I believe factual-based evidential and experimental science. Swiftly moving on… A well-known Quantum Physicist, John Stewart Bell prepared the theoretical groundwork for experimental tests of EPR nonlocality and experimentally verified that a nonlocal correlation between objects indeed occurs once these objects have interacted.
A number of experiments took place, the first was to record the EEG (electroencephalogram is a recording of brain activity) activity of a psychotherapist and his patients. A group of technicians analysed the EEG recordings and calculated both individual interhemispheric correlation and the degree of intersubject (between therapist and patient) EEG correlations. (The important part to mention here is that there was a correlation between the pair, they both knew of each other.) There was no verbal communication between the pair. A direct correlation was found between the degree of communications and the coherence of the EEG of the therapist/patient pairs. Also the changes of interhemispheric correlation in each individual brain were found to correspond to the degree of communication. The experiments demonstrated that direct communication could be maintained as shown by the similarity of their EEG traces. BUT the fascinating part is that this correlation could be traced, even when the subjects were separated.
Another experiment, which I’ve mentioned in maybe over 20 drunken conversations… Carried out a year before I was born, in 1978 was carried out by Grinberg Zylberbaum. For those of you that don’t know, a Faraday cage is a cage that prevents any electromagnetic signals entering into or exiting out of, the cage. The little I remember from my days at primary school, I do recall Michael Faraday and his discovery of the electromagnetic field ! If you were to sit inside a Faraday cage, you would be unable to receive phone calls, text messages, or any form of internet (GPRS / GPS / GSM / 4G etc) signal. So, two individuals were put into the same cage and they began to meditate. After a short while the pair were split up and put into separate Faraday cages approximately 10 metres apart. When a bright light was illuminated in the eye of subject A and his EEG patterns measured, subject B showed an increase in brain activity in exactly the same area of the brain as subject A, when the EEG patterns were recorded. This “transferred potential” shows in 1 out of every 4 experiments between two people.
These experiments clearly show that there is a correlation, a relationship and communication between brains, even at distance. This “transferred potential” is also known as “quantum nonlocal interaction effect between correlated brains”.
Could it be, that when we dream, our consciousness is intertwining with others ? Could it be that when I unconsciously think about someone I’ve not consciously thought about for some time, they are thinking about me, or might they even pick up the phone to me (aka telephone telepathy) ? Could these brain correlations of transferred potential spark creativity ? Is anything original ? Or does every creative thought stem from another thought ? After all, everything you see around you started off as a thought in someone’s mind, or multiple minds.
The next piece to understanding this H2H consciousness jigsaw is looking at advanced brain projects currently under development. And what more satisfying project other than The Human Connectome Project, a project backed by the Obama Administration to “build a ‘network map’ that will shed light on the anatomical and functional connectivity within the healthy human brain, as well as to produce a body of data that will facilitate research into brain disorders such as dyslexia, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and schizophrenia.”.
The White House BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) backed by the Obama Administration currently receives over £100m per year in funding, that’s more money than we spend on researching asterdoidal impacts and the prevention of such (can’t remember where I heard that so have not linked to the source).
The human brain has around 100 billion neurons. The job of the HCP is to map and decode all 100 billion neurons.
This picture above is actually the brain of a mouse, the type of imaging is known as Brainbow for obvious reasons. Brainbow is the process by which individual neurons in the brain can be distinguished from neighbouring neurons using fluorescent proteins, typically mice are given an oral solution of amino acids that emit different colours from their neurons based on different ratios of red, green and blue light.
The first ever Brainbow was created in 2007 by a team led by Jeff W. Lichtman and Joshua R. Sanes, both professors of Molecular & Cellular Biology at Harvard University. Although they only mapped 100 neurons, you can see where the experiment is heading. If we can see the connections of neurons as we ourselves think and process information, we will be able to make use of this data and see how neural connections are made. Connectomics is the study of neural connections in the brain; when we say the letter “A” in our brain do you think the second time we say the letter “A” that our brain makes the same pattern of connections ? Although there are many different connotations, emotions and feelings linked when we think of the letter “A”, there is still a recordable pattern of synapses, axons and neurons that are triggered. There must be a similarity of brain activity between letters, words, pictures, thoughts and feelings that we process if each thought out word is the same. If and when we can process the information from all 100 billion neurons, we will in fact be able to output thoughts. However, if we are taking these patterns of brain activity, we will only be able to output basic thoughts, or thoughts that we have thought about before, or mixtures of old thoughts to output our thoughts because each part of the thought would have to be compared to a database of previously saved partial thoughts.
We can then use a computer-generated ‘fuzzy logic’ program much like your SatNav uses to keep your car centred in the middle of the road of a digital map. This fuzzy logic can recognise and match the patterns your brain makes when you think of certain letters or words.
I just quickly want to draw a huge distinction between this (thought communication) and H2H consciousness / EPR. H2H consciousness may not require any clever technology, it will happen through evolution. This could take many years (unless sped up by technology) in the same way the neocortex evolved to give humans metaphysical thinking; why are we here, what is our purpose etc. However, using brainbow and brain mapping techniques we can use technology to discover and develop thought communication, and enhance our lives in the near future.
To put the HCP into perspective, the HGP or the Human Genome Project was a very similar initiative setup by the Clinton Administration. The Human Genome Project was an initiative to reverse engineer 3 billion genes, so around 33x less the amount to conquer. I remember the success of the project and remember hearing at school that your DNA could soon be sequenced ! How many people in 1903 would have pondered that the Human Genome Project would be a reality just 100 years later ?
Obama is trying to set a foundation for what he feels is one of the most important journeys of discovery in our time, much the same way that Clinton did.
Now I have your attention that this technology is being taken seriously at government levels, in the future we will be able to map the human brain, see where connections (and faults) appear and we will be able to read the mind, download the mind and even upload the mind. The only part of this that is subject to science-fiction is if we can eventually download consciousness, because consciousness (in my opinion) is not found within the cerebral cortex. Or I should say, I believe that consciousness is non local. However, for the purposes of this blog, I am explaining that thought communication will be possible, not necessarily H2H consciousness through technology (although I do believe conscious communication does exist in the cosmic and super conscious dimensions).
So ! The most important factor here is that we only, for now, communicate normal and controlled thoughts. We don’t want to communicate thoughts that are meant to be for our eyes only, this brings huge ethical, legal and social issues. What we will need is a personal firewall to prevent this from happening, but that’s for another blog entirely. I don’t believe you can stop technological advancement. It doesn’t always have a positive outcome, as we know with Oppenheimer, but I see the benefits of thought communication change the way we work, play and grow for the better.
Imagine if you didn’t have to pick up your phone to send a text message ? Imagine if I didn’t have to sit down for 4 hours in front of a computer screen to write this blog ? Imagine if, when lying in bed one night, I could mind share with 12 other people on this very subject where each individual is from a different part of the world ? Imagine the time it would save ? Imagine if we could record, rewind and save our dreams ? Ok so now onto some really scary stuff…
Steve Martin mind mapping
So now for the non-believers to take note. And please, be prepared… An experiment took place at the UC, yes the University of California in 2011. A group of volunteers were hooked up to a fMRI (functional MRI) machine. A fMRI reads brain activity whereas a MRI shows anatomy. Volunteers were shown movie clips from YouTube, the fMRI then passed the output to an advanced computer program which reconstructed what the volunteers saw. Are you amazed by the output below ?
This to me is quite amazing. Although volunteers had to lay down for hours on end, and watch hours and hours of YouTube clips, the representations of the movie clips watched is quite unquestionable. You can see the video here; http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/mindreading-technology-reconstructs-videos-from-brain-20110923-1ko5s.html
The Savant Magnet; Feeding thoughts back into the brain
During the war, when Doctor Penfield was operating on patients with severe head injuries, he noticed that when he touched a certain part of the brain, a certain body part would move. This formed the basis of neuroscience and Dr. Penfield created a sensory input brain map called the “homunculus”;
Cool right ? So he touches part of the brain, and the patients left leg moves, or his tongue or mouth moves.
Take this a step further, would you believe me if I told you I could temporarily stop you from speaking ? Without asking you, without touching you ? Well, based on the homunculus and magnetism, doctors can do just that. They can send magnetic frequencies through transcranial magnetic stimulation (TCS) focussed to a specific part of the brain.
Roger Highfield was zapped by Vincent Walsh from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL to show how TCS can turn off speech. I don’t want to link to this video because it’s not pleasant to watch, spoiler alert, if you’re not squeamish then please watch.
On the flipside Allan Snyder has been running experiments to increase people’s performance in certain areas, through TCS. Many people term this “savant for a day” and there are dozens of experiments that are hard to argue with; http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/22/magazine/22SAVANT.html?pagewanted=all
Volunteers can draw better, calculate faster and even notice more about the world around them. Whilst this is a far cry from feeding thoughts back to the brain, it does show how we are learning more about the brain and how we can interface with it.
I personally believe sending information back to the brain will come in the form of holographic brain input such as “Holonomic Brain Theory”; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holonomicbraintheory
But for now, we can simply send the information quickly using current technology in the form of wearables such as Google Glass contact lens or Microsoft HoloLens.
Piecing together the jigsaw
We are traversing two different lines here. On one hand we have a quantum consciousness communication potential. On the other we have technological brain mapping to communicate thoughts via instrumentational technology. Obviously there is an overlap but the two are quite siloed. As much as I believe there is a cosmic conscious dimension allowing unconscious thoughts to travel, where the business and immediate opportunity lies is within the communication of thought through technology. If the later is the precursor, much like the evolution of the neocortex, will our metaphysical brain evolve quicker due to this technological implementation of thought communication ?
So although I’ve covered a number of subjects, and although each subject is fairly disparate in terms of any meaningful ingestion of a H2H solution, I hope this sheds some further light on the evidential and experimental evidence that thought communication isn’t that much of a looney concept.
If very crudely our brains can already be mapped, distinguished and vaguely understood by technology then all we need to do is receive this information to an/other brain/s. To fulfil my thought communication theory fully, to transmit this information it would need to by neurologically received, that would normally require something more than the sensory input that’s available today, typically a monitor or wearables e.g. Google Glass, Microsoft HoloLens, Magic Leap, Oculus Rift etc.
The thoughts from others could not always be converted into text, sound or picture, what about emotions and feelings ? What about dreams and holidays ? I.e. long-term thoughts and imagination squeezed into greatly reduced temporal space and time, even the creative imagination of something like a dream that lasts 70 years, passing this onto a friend and allowing them to experience it within a matter of minutes, much like we do in our dreams. Could you imagine passing on the most complex set of day dreams / concepts / creative flashes you’ve ever experienced to a friend ? You could live vicariously in anyone’s life for a day, maybe this is a little too far-fetched, even for this blog. So let’s just imagine you can receive text, sound and picture (including videos) to a wearable device such as a Microsoft HoloLens. You can then transfer content back in the same format. You can still rewind and replay dreams, replace mobile phone communication with thought communication.
Maybe we don’t want to share feelings and emotions ? To feed thoughts back into the brain we would need a holographic brain scanner one end, that could then produce the exact correct electro-magnetic frequencies the other end to induce on another brain, and I think this is where this becomes dangerous because we don’t know at this stage what would be the implications on the brain through emitting electromagnetic forces onto the brain.
If we can communicate by thought, the main precedence for me would be speed. In the very near future we will be able to live vicariously in someone else’s life simply through live data-feeds. Imagine a friend wearing Google Glass permanently, you simply tune into his / her online “channel” and see and hear everything they do. So why communicate thoughts if we can already do this ? Because I think thought transmission will speed up the time it takes us to transmit thoughts and evolve both the speed of our brains and the evolution of brain correlation between multiple brains.
Back to; The Input Technology
I’ve mentioned a few interesting sensory input wearable devices. The main one I am interested in is the Microsoft HoloLens because it interacts with the real-life world around you, plus it augments reality by adding holograms.
Taking this a step further, the Soft cell contact lens will remove the need for a large device fixed to your head. The Soft cell contact lens could be programmed with the Microsoft HoloLens platform. You would wear the contact lens at all times.
So to conclude
We now know that reading and mapping the output of the brain is not far off. We also know that sensory input devices more advanced than existing desktop computers do in fact already exist such as the Microsoft HoloLens. So if we can read brain information and understand it as you’ve seen with Steve Martin’s brain mapping, we simply need to send the information to another person wearing a HoloLens, or in the future, contact lenses enhanced with a layer of augmented reality. This will pass information directly to our retina for processing. No more mobile phones, no more computers, no more slow conversations, a better world possibly ?
NEXT blog ideas; AR, positive Ions
Human to human
Human Connectome Project
Soft cell lens