• Mr Tachyon is looking to reverse his own accursed invisibility. Through science. (SBS VICELAND)Source: SBS VICELAND
Is it possible for humans to connect across a vast unknown network? And is an invisible scientist in a motor cycle helmet the person we need to investigate it?
SBS Guide

6 Aug 2018 - 4:42 PM  UPDATED 6 Aug 2018 - 4:42 PM

You've never seen a science presenter on TV like Mr Tachyon before. A cross between the Invisible Man, Top gear's The Stig, and Dr Deane Hutton (without the moustache) Mr Tachyon each week explores the fascinating world of fringe science.

In this week's episode, Mr Tachyon investigates the idea of a connected consciousness for human beings. Skating close to Ray Kurzweil's belief that we'll one day experience a singularity, Mr Tachyon introduces the idea that there are people who believe that everything in the universe is connected - not in a hypothetical way, but along a vast network that literally links everything together. Tachyon sets out to investigate the idea.

Meet Mr Tachyon

His father was a scientist leading a top secret government project. One night in his lab, an experiment went horribly wrong rendering him invisible. Nine months later, Mr Tachyon was born.

His life's mission is to explore subjects on the fringe of science, conducting experiments to test those claims regardless of taboo or the evident ability to prove results one way or another. Mr Tachyon walks on the edge of science.

Collective intelligence

The idea of a collective consciousness is explained to us with the examples of flocks of birds, ant colonies, and bee hives. While these seem like creatures with a biological imperative to operate in harmony, Mr Tachyon reminds us that humans instinctively form together in similar sorts of flocks, drawing the comparison of mob mentalities that often form when people no longer have a clear leader.

Also, in our modern world with the Internet, could a wired world can allow humanity to achieve a global brain?

Mr Tachyon gets A-maze-ing

Things get really weird as Mr Tachyon builds two mazes to explore the idea of a collected consciousness. The first is a giant hedge maze for a group of humans to navigate, while the other is a smaller maze built for slime mould to explore. 

The show goes on to talk to a variety of experts. 

Portland-based Digital Anthropologist Amber Case explains to Mr Tachyon that here are some problems that can't be considered by a single person, but rather requires a collective of people. Case believes that a computer system can leverage off this information - the more of us that is uploaded, the more that a computer can learn from that to become artificially intelligent. 

Other scientists are more pragmatic. Christof Koch, President and CSO of the Allen Institute for Brain Science  doesn't believe there can be a global consciousness, but does suggest that that individuals can be synchronised. This is an idea echoed by Dr Andrew King from Swansea University who speaks less of a shared consciousness and more about complex behaviours that allow animals to flock together for survival. The animals operate en masse with behaviour that allows them to stay near to their neighbours without colliding - an important task for networking. These behaviours can then be adapted to humans for situations like crowd control and emergency evacuations.

Let's get weird

Allow us to cut to the chase: Mr Tachyon is weird. The science he discusses is weird. The character of Mr Tachyon is really weird (is that EVEN his real name?). But, you will come to the end of every half-hour seeing the world in an entirely new way. It's time to get weird with Mr Tachyon.

Every Tuesday night at 8:05pm on SBS VICELAND you can get weird with Mr Tachyon. His previous explorations into fringe science can be streamed anytime at SBS On Demand:

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