Science and Society, Technology

Mindbullets goodness: The Avatar Wars

Does anyone else out there read Mind Bullets?

If not, I’d thoroughly recommend it.  Or else wait for me to occasionally post on it (when it’s appropriate to this forum).  The most recent post certainly is.

Mind Bullets, for the uninitiated, is part of the FutureWorlds network.  Basically, a bunch of really interesting people like to cast their minds into the future and write about possible scenarios.  It’s a mental exercise, but one involving futurism.  Great fun, in other words.

Given my interest in the Singularity, I thought I’d share the following post:

mindbullets singularity

It’s certainly an interesting concept.  Of course, we’re some way off being able to clone people (and even if we could, waiting the years necessary for clones to reach adulthood sounds like an extreme exercise in patience).

As for the robots – slightly more likely.  Then again, if I could choose a robot body, I’m really not sure I’d want a copy of the one I’m currently inhabiting. aimee 2.0 could definitely be designed better. It does beg the question, though – who would the facsimile be for?  If it’s for family (a kind of macabre, living urn) then it makes sense that it should be as close to the original as possible.  Otherwise, I really don’t see the point.  Also, I’m assuming that the robots would get to know and mimic one when, well, aged.  Being aged for eternity (or close) seems somewhat depressing.

There’re a lot of other issues raised by this article, too.  Rather than going into them in any length here, I’m going to yell “discuss!” and stand back.  Further information (from MB) is provided below, for your edification.

Analysis -> Synthesis: How this scenario came to be:

From New Scientist:

Though there is little prospect of creating a genuinely conscious robo-clone in the foreseeable future, several companies are taking the first steps in that direction. Their initial goal is to enable you to create a lifelike digital representation, or avatar, that can continue long after your biological body has decomposed. This digitised “twin” might be able to provide valuable lessons for your great-grandchildren – as well as giving them a good idea of what their ancestor was like.

Ultimately, however, they aim to create a personalised, conscious avatar embodied in a robot – effectively enabling you, or some semblance of you, to achieve immortality. “If you can upload yourself into this digital form, it could live forever,” says Nick Mayer of Lifenaut, a US company that is exploring ways to build lifelike avatars. “It really is a way of avoiding death.”

An example, of how realistic avatars can be made to be, is demonstrated in this video from the Emily Project by Image Metrics.

FUTURESTATES explores this theme more fully in the episode PIA: When a woman in mourning encounters a mysterious wandering service android, she is forced to redefine its conceptions of humanity, relationships, and family. Watch the full episode at http://futurestates.tv/episodes/pia.

Further links:

  1. Geminoid F: Hiroshi Ishiguro Unveils New Smiling Female Android – IEEE Spectrum, 3 April 2010
  2. Immortal avatars: Back up your brain, never die – New Scientist, 7 June 2010
  3. The avatar revolution: Here come the new humans – New Scientist, 7 June 2010
  4. Lifenaut website
  5. MindBullet: ROBOTIC GIRL ‘MURDERED’ BY JEALOUS HUMAN LOVER (Dateline 14 February 2018, Published 24 July 2008)
  6. MindBullet: SYNTHETIC LIFE MAKES THE JUMP FROM VIRTUAL WORLDS (Dateline 8 August 2028, Published 9 August 2007)
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  • http://skepticsinthepub.net.nz/ Gold

    The Robots and tentacles post opens up all sorts of possibilities for alternative robot bodies. I suspect Gold 2.0 would be, in it’s default configuration (I see no real reason to settle on one), would be aquatic.

  • aimee whitcroft

    ‘m just waiting for gills :)

  • http://skepticsinthepub.net.nz/ Gold

    And a prehensile tail…