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"The form of communication that the brain and this machine use are both electronic signals. If you can't communicate with it, you're not a true man."
Kogarashi, Kamen no Maid Guy

A "technopath" is someone who can control machines and bend them to the user's will, either through a physical or mental interface link. In some cases, this power also allows them to "hear" what a machine is "thinking" and establish a direct line of communication with the machine.

It's not rare to see technopaths bringing formerly inanimate objects to life (i.e., toasters moving around and firing Projectile Toast at disgruntled users), which is much easier to do if Everything Is Online.

Closely related to Magic From Technology. Not to be confused with a character who's pathologically bad with technology, or made a psycho/sociopath by technology.

In modern-day settings that have many people with superpowers walking around, this is frequently the power given to children, as a magical metaphor for the way that people who grew up around technology are generally more comfortable with it.

Compare with Walking Techfix, which is usually not deliberate. Contrast with Machine Empathy, where a character is closely attuned to a machine's behavior simply due to prolonged experience, and Techno Wizard for people capable of only metaphorical wizardry. Not to be confused with Walking Techbane, which is when a person is destructive to technology just by being near it.

Examples of Technopath include:


Anime & Manga

  • To Aru Majutsu no Index:
    • Misaka Mikoto, and probably her clones "The Sisters" can control computers and electronics mentally as an extension of their powers over electromagnetic fields. She came by this ability the hard way, though: She has to consciously control every part of the interaction.
    • Accelerator does this even better, and had the best calculating power to do so(hence his most powerful psychic powers). his brain got damaged while rewriting the program in Last Order's brain with full force and was shot in the head before he can fully restart his vector manipulating power to reflect the bullet. He managed to finish the coding, and Last Order used the Sister's brain network to help his calculating powers later, making him evolving to a Level 6
  • Lumiere and Tweedledee from Kiddy Grade.
  • Satsuki in X 1999. When her super-powerful personal computer starts to get jealous, it's an issue.
  • Makoto from El-Hazard: The Magnificent World; this makes convincing a Demon God Android to change sides (with romance!) a tad easier.
  • Ruri from Martian Successor Nadesico, by design and implants.
  • Lain manifests this power in her show's climax.
  • Saati in AI Love You
  • Kogarashi from Kamen no Maid Guy serves as a comedic example of this. He manages to print a crystal clear picture from a printer by plugging the USB cord into his ear. Which is just silly: the human ear is an input-only channel!
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, Chisame's artifact allows a mental internet link.
  • Cyber-Newtypes Four Murasume and Rosamia Badam from Zeta Gundam are able to summon their mobile armors with their minds. However, their powers cause great mental instability.
    • Official info says that Gundam Wing's ZERO System sets up a mental link between pilot and machine, allowing for speed-of-thought reaction times. Combined with the amount of battle data fed directly into the pilot's brain, this makes the system extremely dangerous to use since it can send anything other than a perfectly focused mind spiraling into total madness.
    • The Unicorn Gundam's NT-D System utilizes a neuro-link connection between the pilot and the machine.
  • In GaoGaiGar, Guy Shishioh is a technopath. Or just plain awesome. He can summon a giant mecha-lion or transformable jet-plane by just yelling. He even does it once while being in space without wearing a space-suit. After he becomes an Evoluder, he is able to interface with machinery and computers. In FINAL, he uses his powers to overcome a lock on Orbit Base's computer system, and also to pilot Phantom Gao. In his battle with Palparepa, he uses it to turn Palparepa's nanomachines against him (although this doesn't have quite the intended effect).
  • The Dark Sisters in the second Galaxy Fraulein Yuna OVA had sophisticated control over machines, though since the three of them are gynoids, they might not count.
  • Belldandy does this sort of thing all the time. Granted she is a literal goddess with power over all sorts of stuff, but she still ends up talking to machine spirits about as often as your average Techpriest.
  • Matsu from Sekirei has the ability to look into any computer system with her mind and even hacks into and spies through MBI's sattelites at various points. This has caused her to be labeled "The Sneaking Sekirei" a title she doesn't appreciate.
  • Ran from Clover has this power.
  • Nero from Tantei Opera Milky Holmes has the power to control electronics. This extends from the reasonable (hacking past security systems) to the weird (turning an alarm clock into a suit of armor).
  • In The Brave Fighter of Sun Fighbird, Katori/Fighbird has the ability to use near any machinery and technological appliances via analyzing them on sight. i.e., he can easily hack past passwords via merely taking a look at the device that has it and then touching it.
  • As an extension of her Psychic Powers, Manami Kasuga from Kimagure Orange Road showed herself to be able to manipulate videotapes and erase them with her mind.


Comicbooks

  • Network, a mutant from the X-Men books, could speak to technology and control it. The simpler the technology, the easier a time she had controlling it.
  • Brainiac from Superman, and his counterpart from the Legion of Super-Heroes, Brainiac 5. Also Gear (himself a Ridiculously Human Robot) from the post-reboot Legion, via Unusual User Interface.
  • Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg Superman, a recurring villain in the Superman and Green Lantern titles.
  • Oracle (a.k.a. Barbara Gordon, formerly known as Batgirl), is normally only a hypercompetent Playful Hacker, but she develops technopathic abilities after a remnant of Brainiac decides to use her as a brood mare so he can reconstitute. She manages to defeat him, but some programming is left behind, and decides to enhance her of its own accord, giving her subdermal circuitry and the like. This programming allows her to control computers remotely through a mask interface. Eventually, it gets too big for its britches, and is removed surgically.
  • Mitchell Hundred from Ex Machina. At first he could only listen to technology he touched, then he could command them, then he could interact with technology he could see. He can control technology ranging from complex electronics to those as simple as a handgun. A bow and arrow is too simple though.
  • The Marvel Universe has a man called the Reanimator, who can control anything electronic (such as Sentinels. Uh-oh.)
    • The X-Men movieverse has a boy who changed the TV by blinking, and later controlled a computer display the same way. Don't know if he's up to turning a toaster into a lethal weapon, though.
    • X-Men's Sage is called a cyberpath, and her brain operates like a computer, but she doesn't seem to be able to communicate with machines on her own. She's got a spiffy command center and lives in an Everything Is Online universe. She's recently gotten Cool Shades which contain a wireless link to computers.
    • Now thanks to Nanomachines, Iron Man can directly interface with most digital technology using only his mind. Still, it gets some getting used to, as people start thinking he's schizophrenic because he's suffering from a form of 'information overflow' and can't turn it off. Though his hallucinations do come in handy with regards to the plot.
    • Cable from X-Men
    • Tom Skylark in Grant Morrison's "Here Comes Tomorrow" is a mutant technopath who is able to make friends with a mutant-hunting robot.
    • Forge is sometimes a technopath, Depending on the Writer.
    • Madison Jeffries, formerly of Alpha Flight and now a new recruit of the X-Club can reshape metal, plastic and glass at will, often by talking to it.
    • New Mutant Cypher has the mutant power to communicate in any kind of language. And yes, that includes programming language. This is how he manages to shut off the Master Molds, render the massive wave of Nimrods completely unoperational and throw the ultimate wrench into Bastion's plans towards the end of Second Coming.
  • Shortly after getting lightning power, Will from WITCH gains the ability to talk to machines.
    • And finds out that the Computer and the Printer are married. Also, her mobile is a prick.
  • The Drummer has nebulous powers related to "information flow", which apparently include sensing magic (the "cheat codes of the universe"), but he's usually employed as a super-hacker and living Electronic Counter-Measures device (disrupting security systems, monitoring or jamming enemy communications and such.) Oh, and he's nuts.
  • Willow the cybernetic telepath from the comic Dreadstar. (Unusually, she is also a conventional telepath.)
  • The Iron Queen from Sonic the Hedgehog is the only known surviving user of the ancient art of Magitek, which allows her to control robotics and cybernetics (including Artificial Limbs) through mystical powers. There seems to be a limit to her powers, though; she supposedly cannot control the implants of the Dark Legion, for example (according to her, they're too complex for her to manipulate, despite being created by the same Mad Scientist that created the cybernetics of her other victims).
  • Very minor example: from Transmetropolitan, the "weird-looking fucker" communicates with his children via electrical signals. This might have been Spider just generalizing it, but...
  • Kal Kent, the Superman of the 853rd Century, has this and a long list of other powers that even Superman doesn't have.
  • Qubit from Irredeemable.
  • Doctor Octopus has been getting attributed with this lately.


Fan Fic


Film

  • Neo from The Matrix, of course.
  • Gwen Grayson from the 2005 Sky High film. Trope Namer.
  • The T-X from Terminator 3.
  • In Scanners, telepath Cameron Vale figures out that a computer's "nervous system" is just as scannable as any other.
    • In Scanners 2 Peter Drak is playing an arcade game. Then he does it in front of everybody without using his hands. Then he takes control of the entire arcade hall, setting a panic, and blowing it up.
    • The villains' plot in Scanners 3 revolves around Helena's ability to mind control people straight through cameras and television sets.
  • Chris Bradley from the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
  • RoboCop has an Universal Interface Spike in his arm that can talk to any computer in the 'verse. It also has stabbity applications.
  • During the final battle of Time Bandits, Evil uses his magic to take control of a tank and a starfighter belonging to the hero's Redshirt Army.


Literature

  • This is Kit's specialty in the Young Wizards books.
    • And later Dairine's.
  • The limited use of this ability is one of many talents that makes the psychopathic villain Dread from Tad Williams' Otherland so scary. In his case, it manifests as telekinesis that operates on the level of individual electrons, allowing him to alter the state of an electronic device independent of its programming. He uses it on an instinctual level, and refers to it as his "twist".
  • The Protagonist of the H.I.V.E. series, Otto, has an innate understanding of computer systems and can interface with more advanced artificial intelligences using his mind.
  • The Mechanic from the Wild Cards series, the hitch being he has to physically interface by cutting himself and putting the wound to the machine. Fortunately he also heals real fast.
  • Angie Mitchell from William Gibson's Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive had her nervous system modified with bioware designed by AIs which enabled her to connect to the series' equivalent of the internet by thought alone and granted her considerable hacking skills.
  • Heather Farley, a rebellious young student in A. C. Crispin's StarBridge series, is both a traditional telepath and a cyberpath; she swears off using the latter ability after she nearly gets trapped in a computer system.
  • Mostly the cybreakers and the mnemonics in The History of the Galaxy later (timeline-wise) novels, but also anyone with a simple brain implant that translates brainwaves into digital commands which allows them to mentally control household appliances and the like. One of the novels mentions a cybreaker who was threatened with a gun (a futuristic Magnetic Weapon), while he remotely disabled the firing circuit (wouldn't have happened with a conventional gun, but those are nigh-impossible to find). Also, when a bunch of thugs attempt to physically assault him in a restaurant, he takes control of one of the server robots and has it stab one of the thugs before asking the others if they would like a table. They can also use the same brain implants that everyone has to conduct Cyber Telepathy.
  • Gaby is one in the Doc Sidhe novels.
  • The Sholan Alliance series features Kusac. He has endured being Touched by Vorlons and some psychic Training From Hell in order to acheive this.
  • Not shown, but referenced in Animorphs. Ax complains about primitive human computers not even having a psychic link.


Live-Action TV

  • Young Micah Sanders from Heroes.
    • To an extent, also the character Hana Gitelman, who appears primarily in the web-only side comics for Heroes. She's the "cyberpath" version, and can connect to anything that can receive a remote signal, not just a normal internet connection, meaning that as long as she has any signal strength at all, she can contact anyone without a phone, and receive and send e-mail without a computer. At one point she even IMs a computer that isn't online, but does have its wireless card in and active. Essentially, she trades Micah's versatility (he can influence any electronics that he can touch) for range. In the comics, Gitelman is killed, but lives on as a ghost in the Internet.
    • Matt Parkman Jr. aka "Baby Stop And Go" seems to have this power to a certain extent as well in that he can either turn something on or off. He's just a baby though so it's rather haphazard and mood dependent.
  • The eponymous character from the TV series Jake 2.0.
  • Electroclash in No Heroics controls machines by giving them commands in an electronic voice.
  • Cy, Isaak and Xanda, all being humanoid robots, can interface with just about anything. This includes, but is not limited to: Stealing money from AT Ms, turning on every kitchen appliance that's not the oven, recovering deleted files and defeating security systems easily. Of course, this is partly due to the fact that not only is everything online, it is also on a network run by Top Dog Interactive.
  • Fringe had a character from the episode "Power Hungry" with this. He had experiments performed on him by a Mad Scientist to give him this. Unfortunately, he hadn't the slightest control over it, and mutilated his boss, killed the woman he secretly adored, and shorted out his mother's pacemaker. He was later kidnapped by the same people responsible for his power and had it altered so he actually had control over technology, which he then used to escape.
  • Emma's friend in the Mutant X episode "Interface" is a technopath. She further gets enhanced by GSA to become a Wetware CPU but is restored at the end of the episode. According to Emma, she is the only New Mutant who managed to counteract the effects of the subdermal governor.
  • Stargate Atlantis had one example: when Rodney accelerated his own evolution in Tao of Rodney, he gained psychic powers, among other things. They were revealed to the team in a skirmish with the Genii where Rodney won the battle for them by thinking "wouldn't it be awesome if suddenly the Genii troopers' weapons jammed?" Guess what happened.
    • Ancient tech is purposely made for this trope due to the fact that many operates via a wireless neural interface. Anyone with the necessary gene can activate it by just thinking at it.
  • Tracker has a variant of this-Cole is able to control and manipulate machines using his own energy, since he is an Energy Being.


Tabletop Games

  • Warhammer 40000 has several examples. The Eldar, because of their psychically sensitive materials, are, the Orks are but are unaware of it (more specifically they will their machines into working because they think they should be), and senior members of the Adeptus Mechanicus (who can generously be described as cyborgs) can connect directly to machinery through their machine parts and use them. A subsect called the Adeptus Mechanicus Machine Empaths can literally feel what a machine is thinking without a direct link.
  • Shadowrun has had both varieties, the Otaku, who could access the Matrix with nothing but a datajack (Read: Plugging a cable into your brain.) They all disappeared when the wired internet got blown up, and were replaced by Technomancers, who can access the new wireless internet by thought alone.
  • The "machine empathy" mutant ability in Paranoia allows the mutant to make machines really, really like them. This is not as great as it sounds, because it also affects everyone's friend, The Computer. Who really, really doesn't enjoy being the thrall of a commie mutant traitor. So it employs special "machine empath detection" diagnostics to root out the traitor, and if caught, a machine empath can expect not only immediate termination, but also outright erasure of their clone template. Machine empaths lead a very brief existence.
    • It's also the only power that's "immediate termination" and coming from this game that's saying something.
  • In Deadlands: Hell On Earth, Junkers achieve this effect through shamanistic interactions with a special kind of tech spirit called a browser spirit. Since the game is set After the End, there are a lot of disembodied tech spirits floating around, and Junkers create new bodies for them to live in out of spare parts. It's kind of like tech-necromancy. While most tech spirits just inhabit their new bodies, browser spirits can communicate telepathically with any Junker that touches their body, and the most powerful kind of browser spirit keeps up a permanent telepathic link with the Junker who made its body.
  • This was split into the psychic powers "Cyberkinesis" and "Cyberpathy" in the Sorcerer supplement to the Old World of Darkness game Mage: The Ascension.
  • In the New World of Darkness,
    • Fan-supplement Genius: The Transgression, every PC is (or can be) one.
    • Geist: The Sin Eaters gives us the Industrial Key, which, when filtered through the right Manifestation, allows a Sin-Eater to gain control over a building and every device therein (Boneyard), install technology right into their body (Caul), understand just how a device works (Oracle), or manipulate a device from afar (Marionette). They do have a limitation, however; seeing as they derive their powers from the Underworld, they're better off dealing with "anachrotech," and take penalties when dealing with newer technologies. So, it's easier to hack a Model T than it is an iPhone.
    • Pretty much every nWoD splat, save Hunter, deals with this in some way. It's an animistic world, after all.
  • Palladium's RPGs, especially Heroes Unlimited and Rifts has the ability/power Telemechanics, which makes the user into a Technopath.
  • GURPS has a whole setting about this trope, by the name of Technomancer. Psionic Powers brings us Cyberpsi, which has similar effects, but doesn't use spells, leaning toward more of a Green Lantern Ring approach.
  • Mutants and Masterminds offers a power called "Datalink" that allows communication with machines.
  • In the third edition of Dungeons and Dragons' Eberron setting, there were some Artificers whose powers came from Psionics rather than magic, essentially making them this.
  • In the D20 Modern setting Urban Arcana, a 2nd level Techno Mage gains a +2 Competence Bonus to any skill checks involving technology, and can use any technology even if untrained in the relevant skill. While it is called Machine Empathy, this class and ability has more of a technopath feel.


Video games

  • In Eve Online, it was originally intended for pod pilots to be able to control their ship directly with their thoughts, but most people ended up feeling sick and dizzy from using it, so they settled for a less direct (but presumably still mental) interface. There are, however, cybernetic mindlink implants that allow their user to directly interface with various parts of the ship, giving passive buffs to them and their party.
  • Rotom is a Pokémon that can change form by taking control of household appliances, gaining a unique move with each form.
  • One of the few scary villains in the usually quite funny Time Splitters series is a child who is a Technopath and a Cyborg, who commands a Dystopian future where the machines are at war with humankind.
  • Shelke from Dirge of Cerberus can perform Synaptic Net Dives, which basically give her this.
  • Mass Effect 2 certain classes like the engineer, infiltrator and squadmates have access to tech talents like overload, AI hacking and summoning combat drones.
  • Octalus Percy Defoe and Laurie Hemmings in The PK Girl. While Psychic Powers are uncommon in the setting, technopathy is extremely rare and the former... desires the latter for this reason.


Webcomics

  • The titular Gene Catlow.
    • In the fanfic The Basalt City Chronicles, an ancient computer uses this to encourage him to dismantel it--it's suffered a fire, is no longer in great shape, and would really like to die, please.
  • In Spacetrawler, the Eebs are an entire species of technopaths.
  • Alphonse from Far Out There.
  • "Lanterns" from The Greening Wars have this distinct property in addition to Shock and Awe, they also act as The Greening's communication network
    • The problem is that most of them have the intellect of a retarded Incredible Hulk, bonus points for making them use Hulk Speak
      • the only Lantern that doesn't do this is Arc, a Designated Hero of the series in addition to a few others, he shows just what they can do, seeing as he isn't lacking his intelligence just all his memories from before the procedure that turned him into a Lantern, in his introduction when he changes the channel on tv while another character is watching it by basically just looking at it


Web Originals

  • From the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, the Operator is a superhero from Florida who can control machinery and computer systems remotely. Online is a cyberpath who works as a "Hero For Hire", primarily as an electronic security expert (there is also a villainous Online, with the same power set, and the two are harsh rivals simply over who gets to keep the name). Likewise, Cyba is a Canadian superheroine who can "talk" to machines. Perepis, on the other hand, is a "cyberkinetic", and can mentally animate and control machinery (including remotely redesigning them). Perepis's Arch Enemy is Technyik, who not only shares her power, but wears a suit of Powered Armor on top of it all.
  • SCP-808 (AKA Alice). An otherwise normal girl, her ability to communicate with machines is complicated by the fact that the machines consider her to be God.
    • SCP-808 has since been deleted, though[1], so... yeah.
      • Fortunately an archived version exists here.
  • Several characters in the Whateley Universe can do this to one extent or another. At the Super-Hero School Whateley Academy, Ringo has this power, as does the hated Assistant to the Headmistress Ms. Hartford (so the school's computer network has security that DARPA envies) and even Samantha Everheart who is one of the schools security officers (but she has merged with a nanite supercomputer called Hive so she has an unfair advantage). Also the super villain Dr. Abel Palm has not only done this, but has magically encrypted his soul into AI viruses and is trying to destroy all humankind. Merry is a cyberpath who can dive into computer networks and do whatever she wants. Whatever. She. Wants.
  • The Metro City Chronicles has a minor villain called Black Hat whose powers focus on cyber-telepathy and control.
  • Inspector Lawrence Reinhardt, from the Crinoverse is a metahuman with the natural ability to communicate with and control machines, sending instant messages with his brain and shutting down robots without lifting a finger.


Western Animation

  • Megavolt from Darkwing Duck has this ability, as well. He's much more dangerous than other examples, since he's also a Psycho Electro.
  • Nicolai Technus from Danny Phantom, whose name is a play on famous engineer Nikola Tesla.
  • Upgrade from Ben 10.
    • Cooper as well.
  • In Transformers Animated, Megatron discovers that he can control Earth machines because so much technology has been reverse engineered from him over the last 50 years. Which is rather useful, as he was reduced to a head when he found this out.
    • In the third season, Sari gains the ability to learn how to operate or repair any machine just by touching it: she describes it as the machines themselves simply telling her what they need.
    • In the Transformers Shattered Glass continuity, Heatwave has the ability to control non-sentient machines by communicating with them telepathically. Though he's a bit quirky in that, while he's doing so, he talks to the machines as if they were actually alive and sentient.
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Already a skilled hacker in his own right, Walter "Doc" Hartford's Series 5 implant cranks his technological affinity Up to Eleven, to the point where he is effortlessly bossing around ancient alien computers.
  • Rex from Generator Rex can do just about anything with machines by "speaking" to them through his nanites.
  • Static and Gear (no connection to the one from the Legion) from Static Shock.
  • In Batman Beyond, Willy Watt gained this ability after an accident involving a giant robot which he was controlling via a neural interface.
  • Hard Drive from Swat Kats combines this with Psycho Electro; appropriate, given his role as a tech thief.


Real Life

  • Devices called "brain computer interfaces (BCI)" are currently in development. They can be either implanted or worn on a skullcap and allow one to connect to a computer directly without an external interface. Researcher Kevin Warwick used one to control various computerized household devices with his brain.

Notes

  1. because the author threw a hissy-fit and demanded all his works are deleted from the site
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