29 December 2007

Metal Fever

I'm linking "Metal Fingers in My Body" mostly for the following quote:
Personally I do not have much faith in the uncanny valley. The original publication on this topic (dating from 1970) was not based on any empirical research ... it was more an intuitive feeling expressed by Masahiro Mori that has since been hyped into an assumption of fact.
Every mention of interaction, sexual or other, with robots/androids seemingly requires a link to the wikipedia entry on "The Uncanny Valley." Doing so indicates that you're cool enough to be linked on boing boing and Metafilter.

I ranted about this a few times in the past, but who the hell listens to me? But said article provides the only positive note I can find in China's firewalling of wikipedia. In fact, I will delude myself into believing they block the resource only to prevent me from getting my blood pressure up the next time I find myself looking at that damned graph.

As to the article itself, I don't know a delicate way to phrase this. Mr. Levy says, "I believe that sexbots will change our perceptions of human relationships." Perhaps I'm missing something here, but what he's describing looks for the world like using more sophisticated technology for the purpose of jerking off, and if any group will focus a disproportionate amount of their time to said pursuit, it's those who work in the technology industry. I would even say that the necessity that's nominally the mother of inventions is the need to enhance the inventor's onanistic practices. I'm not criticizing or judging anyone. Lord knows I've spent countless lonely evenings thinking of great technological advances, to the point where I began to read microprocessor specifications and A.I. research summaries with an unhealthy gleam in my eye. But let's remember what we're saying here. It's still just a spectacular advancement in porn. If it leads to real, useful, world-changing advancements, wonderful, but for now, it's just a more complicated way for nerds to beat off.

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