Apparently the ability to unleash and banish the Daniel Tammet in us all is only just around the corner...
Over the past year, researchers have demonstrated several times that they can turn mice autistic by messing with brain chemistry -- and then "cure" them using the same techniques. The discoveries could lead to a scenario similar to the one in Vernor Vinge's novel A Deepness in the Sky, where people are given a brain treatment called "focusing" that essentially turns them autistic and makes them obsessive, detail-oriented workers.
It might also lead to recreational autism, where people who want to take a break from having messy emotions about other people decide to unplug and enter a state where human relationships are no more important than inanimate objects.
Daniel's blog: optimnem.co.uk/blog