Major Ed Dames, long retired, is basically the spokesman for remote viewing, which is an approach to psychic clairvoyance perfected by the military in the 70’s. The idea behind remote viewing is pretty neat: it assumes that everyone has some level of psychic ability to “see with the mind”, but that there’s a lot of noise interfering with the signal. The military’s approch to the signal-to-noise problem was to have teams of psychics focus on the same event, and then throw out all the data that didn’t match.

These days you’ll find Dames playing the role of expert witness for a host of Discovery and Science-channel shows, but before that he spent decades on Coast to Coast AM as a regular guest, and sometimes discussed remote viewing predictions by his civilian students. Those predictions came true more often than the skeptics would like to admit, and over time Ed’s efforts to portray remote viewing as a valid field of scientific inquiry have made remote viewing a respectable topic.

There are other remote viewing experts out there, but none of them have Dames no-nonsense style, and few of them are as upfront it their failures as Ed Dames typically is. It’s not a perfect science, and according to many remote viewing still isn’t a science at all, but it’s being used more frequently for the types of work that police used to hire the local psychic for. The Steve Fossett plane crash is one example where traditional investigation didn’t return results, and remote viewing was used when everything else failed.

Remote viewing has other applications, and as a technology buff one of the most intriguing of them was the notion of clairvoyantly seeing other times as well as locations. Just like pretty much everybody else, I’ve had detailed, accurate dreams that later “came true”, and I wondered if this random occurrence might not be something that remote viewing could harness to solve scientific and technological mysteries.

What I mean is this: you ever get that Deja Vu feeling that you’ve been someplace before? Maybe it’s doesn’t mean anything, but maybe it’s a tinge of your ESP at work. Now what if you could put that Deja Vu feeling to work in figuring out how to solve a complex technical challenge? According to remote viewing advocates, it’s possible, but it’s not as easy as picking up next year’s textbook before it’s printed. Still, with remote viewing it may be possible, and Ed Dames provides some perspective on how remote viewing might do it.

If it is possible, then remote viewing future technologies leads to a lot of ethical issues. If remote viewing helps to reverse engineer a future technology, then who is the real inventor? Would it be the person in the future, or does that entire chain of events somehow get erased? The obvious issue of corporate espionage and remote viewing was broached long ago, but on a deeper level there’s also the question of whether changing the timeline of events based on future knowledge violates causality.