Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Humanzees vs. Robosapiens

My family was sitting around after Sunday dinner at my parents' house watching TV. We got sucked into 2 shows on the Discovery HD channel.

The programs they showed back to back were equally fascinating & disturbing in what they revealed about the nature of the collection of water, cells, & microorganisms known as the human being.

The first program was about the unique chimp that was named Oliver the 'Humanzee'. Unlike every other chimp, Oliver walked upright naturally & related to humans more closely than other primates. Strangely, the novel creature was first brought to Blackwood, NJ which is where my Dad grew up, less than a 1/2 hour from where I live now. This evolutionary anomaly illustrates the hiccups of nature that could produce major physiological differences in one lifetime.

Right after that intriguing look into the effects of biological processes on how life functions, Discover aired "Rise of the Cyborgs". This show focused on the tech that is driving cybernetic body augmentation. This is an even more drastic source of immediate change, as far as the human experience is concerned.

With such enhancements as robotic arms, bionic vision, and neural-computer interfacing advancing quickly, the future is looking much more complex than the mysteries of a bipedal chimp.

Beyond the physical connections involved, scientists are also taking the initial steps to interpreting the internal experiences that result from a person's brain activity.

Just the logistics of creating programs that can directly interface with the human mind will probably make many theories of organizing information obsolete.

Reinventing Humanity
The Future of Human-Machine Intelligence

Of course, the future may be even more dreadful than we could possibly comprehend...

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