Digital telepathy

Luís Ángel Fernández Hermana - @luisangelfh
9 August, 2016
Editorial: 19
Fecha de publicación original: 14 mayo, 1996

Date of publication: 14/5/1996. Editorial 019.

A bird is known for its note and a man for his talk

Internet has fired the imaginations of internauts as though this were the night before Christmas and Father Christmas was on his way. In discussions about Internet and what it offers and how to use it, almost invariably there’s a magic moment when people start to make suggestions about what Internet should be able to do, what we should raise our glasses to in the hope that it finally becomes established as the longed for, but always unattainable, paradise. People cross the threshold from talking about a technological tool and move into the realm of emotions with astonishing ease. Now that the Internet already offers so much it is almost as though it won’t continue to develop along reasonable lines but according to the dictates of the imagination. This is of course a fascinating exercise (and, on occasions, very productive) because when demands on the Internet are made on a massive scale one gets to the point where the long list of requests from those in the realm of the fantasy syndicate almost make us able to visualize down-to-earth truths dropping into a magic wishing well where all delights are possible.

Curiously enough those in the fantasy syndicate reach frenzied heights when they are joined by recent converts to the internaut planet or by those who aspire to becoming converts as soon as possible. These people expect the net to be able to do everything as though it were a territory beyond the laws of time and space. This is not the case in the immediate, and apparently controllable, surroundings of their most intimate relationships. But, in Internet, ah! in Internet everything should be possible including everlasting, perfect, gratifying happiness!

Well, let me join the chorus of the fantasy syndicate and add to their list of wishes another definitive one for me: digital telepathy. The point of departure is the question most frequently asked by people first making contact with Internet: “Will the Internet find something I’m looking for, a subject, a person?” I always answer shamefacedly: “It’s a pity, of course, but digital telepathy hasn’t been invented yet. Unfortunately one has to specify in great detail what it is that one wants, within precise and essential parameters which should accompany the search criteria we establish.”

But, why not? Is it because our friend Negroponte has not given the relevant orders to his whizz kids in the Media Lab at MIT to start exploring digital telepathy? How is it possible that the research has not yet begun which would allow me to think about something that I would like to consult and that, without even being connected to it, the net of its own accord and at its own risk will follow my thoughts and begin the task of looking for, finding and preparing this information so that when I switch on the gadget which sends me into cyberspace it would surprise me with a “Luis Angel, this is what you wanted. I’ll be waiting for your next thought.”

What is more the telepathic net should be able to act on its own accord and at its own risk. In other words when I think of something particular it should look for it immediately and if it doesn’t find it, it should invent it. For example, if I want to send email to a friend who doesn’t even know Internet, the net should find that person, send the relevant psychic impulses and make them a member, although they may not want to be one, so that they can connect with me. What the hell! The same should apply if, for example, I want the recipe for the least typical dish in Outer Mongolia (does it still exist?).

If this line of investigation fulfils even the minimum specifications, its logical evolution will clearly follow. A material net will be unnecessary. Information will reach me by the same means as I use to ask for it: by telepathy. When I think about something the net will pick up my thoughts, look for the information and send it to my brain. How? Heaven only knows! I’m only making suggestions, those at MIT will solve the problem, that’s what they’re paid for and why they explore the future many years before it arrives. What is clear is that if they don’t manage to achieve something as trivial as digital telepathy, what we have now remains a stupidity. How silly that we have to connect via a gadget to a physical network to receive information, knowledge and wisdom from the other side of the world, only if it has been previously fed in. And on top of that sometimes we have to wait more than two minutes for it to arrive and unfold on the screen! If things carry on like this we will have to call Internet by its real name: a fraud.

Translation: Bridget King