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Shades of Boomers

Vickie gets regular updates from National Geographic, and one of the most recent headlines was this article about an ultra-lifelike robot being exhibited at the 2005 World Expo in Japan. Apparently, this device is quite convincing at first glance, right down to tics, shifting in its seat and the simulation of breathing.

Vickie was immediately reminded of the Boomers of the Bubblegum Crisis animated series, and forwarded the link to me.

Whether it can actually communicate on its own instead of giving speeches like the animatronic puppets used in Disneyland and other such places, is another question.

Whenever I see an article like this, I'm reminded of something I read in, of all places, a booklet written as back-story for a 1990 computer game called ROTOX (back in the good old days of development houses such as Ocean and U.S. Gold). It's on the first page, and it goes:

"... as the sophistication of cybernetic systems advanced... researchers were prompted to ask, 'When does a machine become conscious?' Now, too late, we know the simple answer: 'When you can't tell the difference...'"

One wonders, in a kind of Ghost in the Shell fashion, whether a machine would need to look human in order for it to be treated as a human? And might machine consciousness sneak up on us without us even recognising it?

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