Clunky, Rudimentary Prototypes for Substrate Independence?
Some of our post-protoplasmic tenements may be meat, some may be metal, some may be silicon, some may even attempt the vastly more inconceivable leap to pure software, or even into the pure light of quantum computational fields. Regardless of one’s intolerance for hype or inclination for reading too much into the posthuman tea leaves, one thing is for certain: this experimental era of mashups and multi-substrate hybrids over the next few decades will be both exciting and at times troubling to behold. We’re participating in our own evolution, for better or worse.
Pandora’s box is open. There’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. Pick a favorite cheesy B-movie metaphor if you like, the progress manifest in seemingly innocuous projects like the “advanced telepresence robot created by Silicon Valley robotics start-up Anybots” is already analogous to prototype bicycles with wings found in Orville and Wilbur Wright’s earliest garage. Are video-phone sticks on wheels absurdly crude, compared to remote embodiments we’ll consider humdrum by the 2020’s? Of course. At the same time, we err to dismiss them as inconsequential. No, the human drive toward applied, adaptive futuretechture is made of this very ho-hum stuff.
In any and all cases, the impulse toward richer, more integrated remote presence and extra-corporeal embodiment experiences continues accelerating.