High Tech Date Rape: The World Warps Strange
In the old days, a smooth serenade, or a moving poetry recitation, might have worked -- even if the man were struggling above his pay grade, so to speak. But the modern woman does not give in so easily, as her more sentimental forerunners might have done. And besides, most modern men are neither musically talented nor poetically gifted.
Due to these and other disadvantages, many men have been driven to the use of date rape drugs, including copious quantities of alcohol. But there is nothing particularly memorable or satisfying about taking advantage of a woman lost in a deep stupour. In addition, the legal penalties can be severe and lasting.
A safer and more sophisticated approach to taking control of an inauspicious mismatch, involves the use of conversational trance induction -- or hypnosis. This is a very effective approach, but it requires a certain amount of training, in addition to innate talents of empathetic sensing and projection, along with exquisite control of one's voice and body language. Only a relative few men can be masters of these techniques.
This brings us to a rapidly developing field of neuroscience known as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). With TMS, one can place an electro-magnetic coil over a particular area of the forehead of an attractive but dismissive woman, instantly turning rejection into ready compliance. TMS is capable of disrupting the normal inhibitory and behavioural control and decision-making of the pre-frontal cortex (PDF) and associated regions.
Yes, I can already hear you asking: "How can I get her to hold still long enough to place the coil over the exact location required to get her to submit?"
Now, thanks to clever scientists in Spain, you don't have to. Utilising advanced theories of meta-materials, these Barcelona physicists have devised a way to turn materials formerly thought of as "invisibility cloaks" into devices capable of projecting electromagnetic fields over a distance.
You may begin to see the potential. Concealed within the obscure physics are the makings of an electromagnetic field projector, with the potential to initiate limited behavioural control over a distance.
Beyond energy transmission, the researchers suggest the ability of the shell to concentrate magnetic fields into a small space could enhance the accuracy of magnetic sensors. This could extend the reach of a medical research technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation, in which parts of the brain can be temporarily activated or deactivated by magnetic fields. _PhysicsWorldOf course, the implications of this type of remote brain control go far beyond the trivial example of "date rape." In fact, this type of control over the impulses and inhibitions of other people -- even large groups of people simultaneously -- is exactly the tool that politicians, advertising companies, community organisers, religious prophets, college professors, and other shady characters have longed for since the coming of homo sapiens.
In the age of meta-materials and other counter-intuitive technologies, the world is beginning to warp strangely odd. And yet, none of us are given a pass to sit out these developments and await a later, safer, less startling technological environment. It would likely be a long wait, regardless.
New technologies work out of sight, out of mind, beyond our conceptual grasp, for the most part. And even in the face of widespread economic disaster, such technologies -- and even stranger ones -- will continue to be developed somewhere, by some organised group or another.
It sounds as if we will need to become more dangerous than ever just to live in the coming world -- but in a good way, of course.