Wednesday, June 03, 2009
The idea that the social media application Twitter might be a kind of training wheels for a new type of non-causal, ESP-like communication is a possibility that I’ve written about here on Reality Sandwich as well as on my own blog. In the time since I’ve started posting about it I’ve had many people contact me with their own stories of “Twitter telepathy” in which people they follow tweet about the exact same thing they were thinking about at the moment they were thinking it. Although it seems like magic, I think this phenomenon has a scientific basis that’s a result of more and more people integrating the same on-line data using parallel association processes.
I was therefore very excited to find out that Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK is conducting an experiment in collaboration with New Scientist magazine to prove whether Twitter can be an effective tool for remote viewing, which he describes as “the alleged ability to psychically identify a distant location.” The professor (who describes himself on his Twitter page as a psychologist, author and magician) admits to being skeptical about psychic ability, but cites the fact that the U.S. government has spent millions researching its possibility as a compelling reason to attempt to make it work using Twitter. Here’s his explanation of the experiment, which is being conducted this week:
"Well, at 3pm (UK time) each day, I will travel to a randomly selected location. Once there, I will send a Tweet, asking everyone to Tweet about their thoughts concerning the nature of the location. Thirty minutes later, I will send another Tweet linking to a website that will allow everyone to view photographs of five locations (the actual location and four decoys), think about the thoughts and images that came to them in the thirty minutes before, and vote on which of the five they believe to be the actual target location."
"If the majority of people select the correct target then the trial will count as a hit, otherwise it will count as a miss. There have been, and will be, trials at 3pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week. Three or more hits in four trials will be seen as supporting the existence of extrasensory perception."
I plan on participating in this experiment and encourage others to join in. As Richard points out, he needs thousands to participate in order for the data to be meaningful. All you have to do is follow richardwiseman on Twitter where he will post instructions and updates throughout the week. I’m hopeful that the results will encourage those who are interested in psychic communication to (re)consider the possibilities of using Twitter as an innovative tool for transforming the way we communicate—instead of merely thinking of it as one of the many “noisy” digital technologies competing for our time and attention.
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