"What you do here today with your incredible ability is going to save many lives."
"What do you want me to do?"
"What comes naturally — talking to machines?"
— Linderman and Micah (Landslide episode, Heroes)
The ability to control machines, computers and utilities is known as technopathy. A technopath has the developed sense of communications and control of machines through thought. This is also known as synthetic telepathy or technokinesis.
The ability to control technology through a mental or physical interface has long been debated. In many ways, the development of computers has given humanity high-level control over many types of machinery.
Image source: Brad Flickinger on Flickr
The psychic ability to control electronic machinery and/or mind-read electronic signals is a specialized and rare form of intuition. Actually, most people believe that the fictional superheroes in movies, comic books and graphic novels are the only true technopaths.
A "technopath" who can control inanimate machines and bend them to their will may seem like the stuff of science fiction. In order to take control of the technology, technopaths create an energy (physical or mental) link with the machine or computer.
The energy of an intuitive or a group of intuitives is said to control technology with a skill similar to thought or mind control. This power is reciprocal and also allows them to "hear" what a machine is saying or thinking. In order to control the machine, one must establish some form of psychic connection.
Technomancy in Fiction
“My armor's maneuverable, fast, and lots of fun at parties.”
— Iron Man, aka Anthony Stark
Image source: Justin Brown on Flickr
Fiction is filled with intelligent machines. There are brilliant and powerful "brains without bodies" like HAL from the film “2001 Space Odyssey”. And, of course, there are artificial intelligence robots (like R2-D2 from the movie “Star Wars”) who readily communicate with humans.
But primarily, the world of superheroes has more than its fair share of technopaths. Iron Man communicates organically with all his suits. He makes them do whatever he wants. He even created them through a technopathic link between his mind and futuristic holographic science. His powers include: Unibeam, Monobeam, Multibeam, and Pentabeam, along with a variety of missiles, tasers and lasers.
When Iron Man puts on his armor, he becomes a supercomputer that can navigate and control the natural world and other computer systems. In the world of fiction, technopaths can bring broken inanimate objects (cars, computers, toasters, etc.) back to life.
Iron Man is just the latest in a long line of technopathic fictional heroes that include both the robotic and human super hero.
The Science of Technopathy
Image source: US Army RDECOM on Flickr
Since Uri Geller started bending spoons with his mind in the late 1960’s, scientists and skeptics alike have studied the phenomenon of humans' impact on inanimate objects, including machines. More than one study has shown that people (especially with shared energy) may impact objects. This includes levitation, moving something without touching it, turning machines on and off and even electrical equipment disorders. This phenomenon, when dealing with an object that is not a machine, is called psychokinesis.
Exceptional and rare abilities have been both studied and recreated through modern science.
The first scientist (in the mid to late 1800’s) who made a study of moving objects with the mind was Swiss scientist, De Gasparin. Then English physicist Crookes, who later became the president of the Royal Society, experimented with all types of energy. His experiments with Scotsman, D. D. Home, involved moving objects with human “thought” power.
Crookes and other scientists carried out some extraordinary experiments on psychic men and women, trying to get them to generate electric currents.
The famous scientific husband and wife team, the Curies, also researched the phenomenon of technopathy. They carried out experiments which measured people’s ability to generate energy that affects objects. Eventually they changed their research to a more stable energy – radioactivity.
There have been ethical concerns regarding all technopathy (technomancy) issues. What if an evil dictator bent on world domination were to gain control of technology? Or what if technology, in artificial intelligence form, were to control our thoughts?
Genetic engineering, robotics, cloning, and other emerging technologies are science facts. The ethics and morality of man and technology are trying to catch up with these realities.
HAL: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
Dave Bowman: Alright, HAL. I'll go in through the emergency airlock.
HAL: Without your space helmet, Dave, you're going to find that rather difficult.
Dave Bowman: HAL, I won't argue with you anymore. Open the doors.
HAL: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.”
— Arthur C. Clarke
It’s All About the Future
Image source: Brad Flickinger on Flickr
The future imagined in 1930’s and 1940’s comic books has arrived. The field of brain-computer interfaces is here. There is now a variety of amazing technological devices that are operated by human thought. Sensors attached to a brain can move bionic legs and arms on humans and generate words for those that cannot speak.
Human-to-technology telepathy is an interesting concept. This bidirectional link can also encompass communications with animals, plants and other humans.
The fact of the matter is that technopathy is a modern term for an ancient concept. We have been enhancing our humanity (strength, knowledge, empathy) with simple tools since the beginning of time. As technologies have developed, along with the touchscreen, the once complex idea that man and technology are separate is fading.
Human nature, not just psychic nature, is required to build, operate and understand technology. Today, if it isn’t digital, computerized, or touch-enabled then it seems outdated and unnatural. The smartphone and interactive computers seem to be an extension of our brains. This is where Orwell’s “Big Brother” meets humanity through natural evolution.
In today’s world, it almost seems like people with access to modern technology have superpowers. Fairy tales and science fiction have merged. Magic and technology are one and the same. Technopathy really is a psychic power, as well as a super power wrapped in the past, present and the future.
- What is transhumanism, or, what does it mean to be human? http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/152240-what-is-transhumanism-or-what-does-it-mean-to-be-human
- A Short History of the Energy of Life. http://altered-states.net/barry/newsletter276/