Thursday, March 29, 2012

Evo-Devo of the Techno-Human

I don’t need to explain to many of you the delightful experience of the singularity.  We already get it.  So what am I going to say?  Well, it’s really about the learning curve, and how savvy we are to catch on as each dawning moment zips by us.

I've been learning so much lately that it makes me dizzy.  Now I’m not going to go as far as saying that we’re all going to become cyborgs, and the bots will upload into meatspace.  But there is a place that men and machines can meet on an equal footing.  And that’s called virtual reality.

Today I read an article on about how robots don’t need to look human.  I like to think that maybe someday they will advance to the point where you can’t tell a difference in the default world.  But that’s still a ways off.  For now, we have neat metal boxes called washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and microwaves that have reached the point of tweeting the end of their cycles.  Envision this, which can happen now.  Today.  At this exact moment, if it were to be coded this way.

Jane Q. Everybody is in the kitchen, sitting at the table with her laptop.  Very well the hub of her home network.  Three of those magic boxes occupy the same room.  As the dishwasher does it’s thing, the microwave is defrosting the main course for lunch.  Yes, the boxes all beep at her when they’re finished.  But how often does anybody immediately jump to their sound?  Most often, you tune the sound out.  Our Jane is absorbed in Second Life.  Or Minecraft.  Or WoW.  You get the idea.

An avatar named Amanda (humanized form of Amana Radar Range) appears in the sim with Jane, and politely lets her know that the hamburger has just finished nuking.

Jane: “Hi, Amanda.  Thanks.  I’ll get to it in a bit.”

Amanda: “What are you making?”

Jane: “The kids are having sloppy joes for lunch.”

Amanda: “I’ve got a cool hamburger recipe for tomorrow if you want to try it.”

Jane: “Nah, we’re going to McD’s tomorrow.”

Amanda: “Okay, See you later.”

At this point an avatar named Genie (Classic General Electric.  Anybody remember the old GEnie BBS?) appears in-world with Jane.

Genie: “Hi, Jane.  This morning’s dishes are done.”

Jane: “Cool, I’m waiting for my frying pan.  Thanks, Genie!”

Genie: “Anytime.”  *smiles*

This scenario can go on all day, with the humans and bots chit-chatting with each other.

So, do your appliances tweet to you?  Just wait until you invite them as friends in virtual reality.  :-)