"I think that just as we can create a machine to
augment human strength, we might be able to use
technology to augment latent psi potential."
- Mac Tonnies, via email 12/28/06
"I'm assuming they presuppose there's no "real"
telepathy, so you're right -- "synthetic telepathy" is
- Mac Tonnies, via email 5/1/07
Mac Tonnies, admittedly a transhumanist, and I, admittedly on the fence at all times, frequently came to an impasse in our email discussions having to do with human consciousness. He would insist that a full-blown artificial intelligence was on the immediate scientific horizon, and I would insist that there could be no AI without a complete understanding of human intelligence - that is, the unknown properties, if you will, of consciousness, a "concept" not even accepted by the empircal hard-liners... let alone such "fringe topics" as psi.
That being said, parapsychology is alive and well, and there are many knowledgeable, accredited individuals willing to "go there". And yes, there are institutions and universities which take psi and the study of consciousness quite seriously. I'm going to list some of these institutions below... a more complete listing can be found on this Parapsychological Association page.
101 San Antonio Road
Petaluma, CA 94952
Fax (707) 781-7420
General Inquiries (707) 775-3500
Department of Psychology
University of Edinburgh
7 George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9JZ
+44 (0) 131 650 3348
C-131, Engineering Quadrangle
Princeton, NJ 08544
2741 Campus Walk Avenue, Building 500
Durham, NC 27705
Phone: (919) 688-8241
Fax: (919) 683-4338
Note on image (above): I'm afraid I have no information as to the identity of the artist whose phenomenal work this is. If someone can illuminate me I would be much gratified, as I wish to learn more about the artist and post a link to his or her work here. I found the image while Googling "consciousness". As the blogger who used this image didn't bother informing anyone where the image was sourced, neither will I. Incidentally, you will find many interesting blogs devoted to consciousness from the Google image pages... But, I note that many of these do not give credit to the artist who created the graphics they use. Obviously, as an artist, I am appalled by this practice. Art is treated as such a cheap commodity on the internet, that artists should definitely reconsider putting their work in the public domain without highly visible notices of origin, as I do, despite the unfortunate effect it may have upon the image when viewed.
Update! Mark Plattner has come to the rescue with his Tin Eye and located the artist online. Her name is Mirjam Laater and her site can be found here. The digital image I've posted is entitled "Self-Consciousness", a print of which can be purchased here. Thanks, Mark!