Years ago and I mean, decades ago I considered myself a human research machine… I thought in Boolean at the time even when I was home or out with friends: (( hamburger and “Diet Coke”) but not “french fries”).  My brain was a-swirl with the standard rules of legal research as well as the many exceptions.  “When you are searching for a consent decree– do not search for the phrase “consent decree” — the words never appear in the document.  The best search terms are “neither admit nor deny.'” But there were so many rules and exceptions and so little time.

A New Kind of Professional Development and Knowledge Management

University of Washington Researchers Rao and Stocco

I wondered when we would  have the capacity to simply do a brain transfer. Instead of lecturing the incoming associates, there would be a kind of “virtual floppy disk” (this was the 80s folks) on which I could record what I knew about research and virtually transfer it to the associates. Think of the greater possibilities with partners mentoring associates. Professional Development could take on a whole new meaning.

In place of lectures  where associates took notes, ( between checking  Facebook, Twitter) and tried to look generally interested…we will have a new painless and thoroughly efficient process. Envision everyone in a conference room or even at their desks wearing electrode loaded skull caps. Partners will simply think the lecture and everyone will get a perfect download without taking notes and with no “loss in transcription.”

University of Washington Scientists Have Done It

Scientists have for the second time transmitted a brain impulses over the Internet from one researcher to another. Rajesh Rao imagined moving his finger and across the campus, Andrea Stocco’s finger moved in response. See a video of the experiment and the University of Washington press release here.

If we weren’t already worried that we had reached the “end of privacy” here comes the final blow. Imagine the drone that can collect your thoughts.

But Thorny Legal Issues Abound

Copyright Do I own my thoughts? Someone will surely develop a technology for stealing thoughts. 
Would  author J.K. Rowling have had to wear a lead hat to keep people from downloading the next installment of Harry Potter? Would her works in progress be stolen and sold on the “underground market” like Dylan’s ” Basement Tapes?”

Insider Trading ” I was only thinking about the deal I never said a word to anyone.” Try proving that!

Privacy We will all have to forget our Social Security Numbers?

Friendships Lost Oh boy — the mayhem unleashed in our lives by the unauthorized transfer of “fleeting thoughts” that we would never utter aloud.  “I was NOT thinking ‘You  are too fat for jeggings.’ “

Political Polling  While you sleep Gallup will be scanning the sky for political  and demographic thought trends.

Thought Spam Will thought spammers find ways to intrude into our brains? Will we need “thought blockers?”  Will we all be required to walk around in something that looks like a “colander on our heads” to block the “thought spam?”

Put on your thinking caps  If you think email has resulted in information overload  –  here comes a new monster of “over sharing.”  As we know, every new technology seems to offer efficiency with one hand and create a new inefficiency in the other. How will be block other peoples random thoughts in this brave new world?