I’m slightly obsessed with science and technology TV shows (How The Earth Works, Through The Wormhole, etc.). In fiction, I love Michael Crichton-style techno/sci-fi thrillers, such as stories about a new technology run amok (JURASSIC PARK and PREY, for example). So I was intrigued by a story I recently heard about a worldwide research effort called The Global Consciousness Project. The research project (which is being conducted at Princeton University) is collecting data to investigate the theory that a global, coherent consciousness exists, composed of the energy created by human minds.
Up until recently, any notion of a global consciousness existed only in the realm of science fiction novels and B movies. But according to the project’s researchers, recent studies have suggested that the presence of humans (specifically, human minds) can in fact have a discernible effect on random number, machine generated data. I’m probably not explaining the concept well, so below is a YouTube video with more information. But basically, the idea is that human thoughts and reactions to significant events, scaled up to a global level, creates measurable impacts on patterns of otherwise random data. The researchers are tracking the changes in “thought energy” by tracking realtime color changes in a so-called “Global Consciousness Project Dot.” The dot changes color every time there is a structured change in an otherwise random data pattern. In other words, the Global Dot is supposed to function as a sort of planetary Mood Ring. (Remember those?)
When I checked the Global Dot this morning, it was Orange, which suggests people are responding to some significant event taking place in the world. (Did I miss something big?)
So, getting back to science fiction and technology run amok: in the hands of a novelist, how might the theory behind the Global Consciousness Project be helpful or harmful to humanity? To be the stuff of a good sci-fi story, the technology or science must appear promising at first (as the Global Consciousness researchers declare this project to be), but then–talking strictly fiction here, I’m not impugning the actual GCP itself in any way–that technology has to morph or change in some unanticipated way, becoming a monster that threatens humanity instead of helping it.