Society has come to the belief that there is a single moment in time when a person has a genius idea or concept that can have a lasting, meaningful effect on the world, and after that point they may be talented, but their lives will never have lasting, meaningful impact.
Scientists discover a way to identify when this moment is in any given individual so they can make the most of it when it happens. However, the method is extremely expensive, so only the wealthy, arrogant elite can afford it.
As it turns out, each person who goes through the treatment discovers their moment has already passed.
And then, I can't help thinking about this one too. Perhaps they are related. Forgive my insolent ways.
A machine developed for military interrogation applications that simulates telepathy by synchronizing the activity of corresponding neurons in two brains loses its military application when it is preemptively outlawed by a set of international agreements banning the use of 'neuroelectric interrogation devices', and after the plans leak, doing a mind-meld becomes a popular means of entertainment among young people. Because the technology cannot be made particularly more useful -- recordings don't work because the feedback between the two brains during the early stages of the sync are what keep the information from being hopelessly distorted and connectome mapping hasn't yielded enough information to make extracting thoughts without the use of a human interpreter feasible -- there are few crack-downs and those that do occur are mostly symbolic. It gains the status that LSD did during the 60s and 70s. The most interesting and mind-warping part of the experience is the feeling of shared memories -- any memories that are triggered while connected are experienced by both parties, and often memories from one party trigger memories in the other, causing a chain reaction orgy of distorted memories where the origin is unclear. However, because of the way that memory retrieval involves memory re-encoding, it turns out that this process warps memories and inserts false memories as a side-effect of the normal distortion; this is not immediately clear to most users, because the distorted memories are subtle. However, years down the line, vivid shared memories of things that never happened (to *anyone*) become cultural touchstones and the substrate around which popular media is constructed -- and these memories are the result of a game of telephone played mostly in the heads of those few people who mind-melded with the largest number of other people; i.e., the super-connectors of the network of mind-meld enthusiasts passed on portions of a rapidly-mutating emergent synthetic set of remembered experiences that decades later became extremely important.