Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Avatars of the Future

What if digital avatars ten years from now where so realistic, your brain was actually tricked into thinking you were one and the same? Science fiction? Nope.

Take a listen to this fascinating discussion that begins with phantom limb pain and induced out of body experiences, then ties in how your brain maps its perceptions to your physical body, and then on to how we might truly be fooled into inhabiting our digital avatars in the future. The fact that people TODAY can be fooled into believing a fake rubber hand is their own feeling limb with just a few simple tricks starts us down this road. Add VR goggles and haptic feedback , and holy cow, you could BE a tyrannosaurus rex in the smash XBOX game of the 2020's! (I'm not entirely sure this is a positive development.)

1/16/2008 -- Sandra Blakeslee from the New York Times discussed
body maps in the brain on the show Berkley Groks Science.

INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION: Sensory events are conveyed to our brains and
interpreted in specialized maps of the outside world. On this program,
Sandra Blakeslee discussed the function of these body maps in the
brain, and how they could be used ultimately for making us believe we
are various digital avatars. Here's the MP3:

http://www.archive.org/download/groks306/groks011608_vbr.mp3


P.S. Go Obama!

3 comments:

tiger lily said...

holy Matrix!

John DiFrancesco said...

And sadly, you know what will really drive the development of this new technology?

Porn.

Followed quickly by VR prostitution.

"We're just a bunch of horny, insensitive guys."

Bruce said...

John, to your point, I agree that as exciting as this technology could be, it will allow us to evade reality to a far greater degree than the experience provided current MMoRPGs or TV-watching, whether it be porn or slaying dragons.

Of course, that will have a selective effect, over generations, too, as people become too engrossed in fake lives to reproduce... Hmm. Interesting times, eh?