This morning started out early… 3:00 AM. Waking up with a nervous excitement I gathered my things and my dad and I began the journey that I anticipate will change my life. Now, safely here in Chicago (Thanks Brittany) I am ready to grow with Experience Institute.
(Image thanks to on travellerspoint.com)
I create the official state judiciary newsletter for the State of Utah. This newsletter is sent out to over 100 judges. I used Microsoft Publisher to compile various articles that are sent to me from judges on the judicial board of education.
Click for a PDF of presentation handout
In Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card’s popular novel turned blockbuster hit, the people of Earth are waging war against the extraplanetary Buggers. This insect-like race has one major technical advantage over the humans: Telepathy. As if they were a giant computer, the Buggers fight and move as one through instantaneous communication. Countless other tales in fantasy and science fiction herald telepathic powers, the ability to communicate directly from one mind to another, as one of the greatest and most sought over gifts. Though it seems far-fetched, direct mind-to-mind communication might not be so implausible after all.
Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina have shown that telepathic communication could be possible with the advances in technology. In the experiment, two rats’ brains were connected by microelectrodes (For more detail on the experiment and the technology used, watch the video below).
Rat 1 would receive a stimulus and Rat 2 would receive and act on that message. If the rats worked together they would receive a reward. Rat 2 was able to correctly act on the message provided by Rat 1 around 60% of the time. What is even more incredible is that once the experiment was completed at Duke, they teamed up with another University in Brazil, and completed the experiment across continents. The results were astounding. Rat 2 in Brazil acted on the stimulus it received from Rat 1 halfway across the globe!
In the basic communication model, the sender encodes an idea into a message that is transmitted through a channel (language, e-mail, body language) to a receiver who decodes the message to understand the idea of the sender (see image below). I had a professor who explained that it is better to think of an idea as meaning. Have you ever had a thought or feeling and did not have the words to describe it? That is because meaning does not always translate directly into language. Often meaning is lost because the sender decodes a message into different meaning than the sender intended.
What does this have to do with telepathic rats? This technology replaces the normal channels of communication with electronic signals that go directly from one brain to another. This makes it so meaning is being communicated directly from one brain to another, and the brain signals are what encode and decode the idea. Most people imagine telepathy as a voice in their head talking directly to them. I imagine something different, instantaneously understanding an idea or meaning from another person. There is less room for a message or idea to get jumbled or misinterpreted when meaning is passed directly to another person, thus enhancing efficacy as communicators.
Another way that telepathic communication may change the way we communicate is across language barriers. Currently when someone speaks to me in a different language (other than Spanish), the message is not received because I do not speak his or her language. This has become apparent to me in my work as an interpreter coordinator. It is extremely difficult to communicate with someone who you have no idea what they are saying. Direct brain-to-brain communication could solve this problem because meaning, or ideas, does not begin as language. Language is merely the channel we use to communicate. If we could communicate directly, meaning-to-meaning, brain-to-brain, we would be able to understand the thoughts of others without it being lost in translation. This would enhance cultural understanding locally and hopefully better international relations.
Though it will be years before this technology is experimented on with human subjects, it provokes an interesting discussion about how technology effects the way we communicate. In this post, I did not delve into the ethical discussion that surrounds this topic, as it will require another post in its entirety. Maybe someday in the near future we, like the Bugger’s in Orson Scott Card’s novel, will be able to communicate meaning directly from one person to another; and the stuff of science fiction will become reality.
Mistakes happen. Sure you can proofread and edit (and we should), but we are only mortal. So what do you do when you make a mistake? And not just any mistake, an epic publicly humiliating mistake over the Internet. Not only accessible to anyone, but sent purposely to all followers. Welcome to Twitter.
Nearly every day it seems there is another story about a company’s social media blunder. From Kenneth Cole capitalizing on the riots in Syria to the hijacking of the #McDstories, disasters on Twitter are all around. What is a true show of character and integrity individually and in business is how we react to these mistakes.
One of the social media managers from the Red Cross accidentally tweeted from the organization’s account instead of their personal account.
Disastrous. What was remarkable was the response to the tweet. The mistake was caught early and Gloria Huang tweeted an explanation and an apology.
The Red Cross even joked about the tweet in later tweets.
By owning up to their mistake and handling it in a professional way, the Red Cross’ character is shown.
What I found even more impressive was that the Red Cross commented on a blog correcting the information that had been published.
Just as a small point of clarification, the indivudal who accidentially posted the rogue tweet-Gloria Huang-is a full time employee on our social media team. We don’t make a practice of giving interns access to our corporate social accounts.
The Red Cross was aware of the situation, and handled the problem with poise and honor, an excellent reflection on their own organization which handles national disasters on a daily basis.
So be careful when you are publishing anything online, especially when you are doing it under an organizations name. Make sure that you are on the right account whenever you tweet! It’s easier to fix a mistake before it is tweeted to all of your followers, than to clean up the disaster after!