Only in Hollywood B movies and Uri Geller tricks, are people able to change the world with their minds. But no longer. A decade ago scientists enabled a monkey to control a robot on the other side of the world with its mind. Now the technique has been extended to enable paraplegics to move robotic arms with their thoughts, and Elon Musk claims to be launching mind control technology this year.
Is this the beginning of a new age in which humans control things around them with their mind alone? Will it enable us to understand the ancient philosophical puzzle of the will and how we are able to intervene in the world? Or does it also open up a dark future in which evil thoughts can cause immediate damage?
Author of The Science Delusion Rupert Sheldrake, chairman of Humanity+ Natasha Vita-More and philosopher of mind and AI specialist Susan Schneider debate the potential of mind-computer interface technology.