Getting The Message
reply to post by Phage
"Ominous" is in the mind of the beholder, but the potential for mischief in the case of direct brain-to-brain communication is nothing new in fiction
or here on ATS.
Regarding the use of the word "communication", it's a very broad term which has a variety of specific meanings depending on context or specialty, but
fundamentally involves a transfer of information at some level:
"Information" is likewise a very broad term which can be affected by context:
In the barest sense, if some form of information has been transferred from one entity to another in some manner, whether in the form of a single
energy state transition at a subatomic level or in the form of Tolstoy's War and Peace
via the printed word, communication has occurred.
Sorry if all those cites come across as pedantic, but if we're working under different definitions, we'll tend to get our signals crossed.
As for how all that applies to the experiments in question, I would first like to emphasize that years of ATS membership have made me quite a skeptic
myself, so I'm definitely not suggesting anything wrong with allowing for the possibility that the researchers used improper methodologies,
misinterpreted their findings, misrepresented
their findings or that the whole thing may just be one big lie.
One never truly knows.
With that disclaimer in mind, if what the researchers are claiming is, in fact, what they observed, then the evidence of some form of communication is
actually rather strong. Even if it's just getting one rat to press a lever at the right time, let alone the right lever, that requires
For that matter, a light flashing on or off is, itself, a form of communication. If it conveys information of some kind, however, crude, that's what
Your own assertions about the use of classical condition techniques assume communication as well, since a stimulus is itself a form of communication,
hence my vociferous objections to asserting communication is not occurring.
In any case, I do think referring to the activities of the BTBI as "telepathy" is not supported by the evidence. However, the evidence for effective
electronic interfaces with brains is voluminous and supported by decades of experiments, not just this one.
Of greatest interest to me in this case is the authors' inference that the rats' behavior may involve neuroplastic adaptation through the BTBI,
because that mechanism would compensate to some extent for the individual variations you've mentioned between different brains. The need for such a
mechanism has posed one of the greater challenges in developing direct-brain interfaces so far.
On that, I would like to point out that neuroscience has already identified a great deal of similarities among brains, including where various
activities occur (such as sensory perception, motor control, etc.) and the significance of different kinds of signals detected by electrodes. While
"decoding" them is still a very nascent combination of art and science, there has been progress with that as well.
So in a sense, a couple of rats learning to work together via an electronic direct-brain link is actually unremarkable from a neuroscience point of
view, but does have broad implications and -- as you have suggested -- on a larger scale, potentially profound ramifications.
(Oh dear. It appears I've reverted to my rather infamous penchant for gratuitous verbosity. Abandon all hope.
edit on 3/3/2013 by Majic because: (no reason given)