Saturday, October 08, 2011

what the near future holds

First, there was the news about the conveyance of sense impressions-- qualia-- through artificial means, as monkeys proved able to distinguish the textures of different surfaces through the intermediary of virtual-reality technology. Now, there's news that we're getting even closer to building an exoskeleton that will allow a quadriplegic to walk.

The artificial conveyance of sense impressions-- something we already experience when we watch TV-- is an exciting field. Who says we need to stop with sight or touch? For those who've lost their sense of smell, we can install artificial olfactory nerves; we can improve on cochlear implants (which have been in use for years); we might even be able to help the tongueless to taste again.

But why stop with the mere restoration of lost senses? Why not install devices that enhance our sense impressions? Imagine being able to hear a wider spectrum of sounds, taste a wider spectrum of tastes, smell more smells, or see more than just the currently visible spectrum. Or, further: imagine a synesthetic world like that of Stephen R. Donaldson's fantasy series, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever: a world in which sights have texture, smells have timbre, touch has color, and so on?

I foresee a lovely convergence with nanotech, here... especially when it comes to condoms. Rubbers that enhance the sexual experience-- a sort of miracle fruit for the genitals-- can't be far off. I look forward to that day.


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3 comments:

Charles said...

"Why not install devices that enhance our sense impressions? Imagine being able to hear a wider spectrum of sounds, taste a wider spectrum of tastes, smell more smells, or see more than just the currently visible spectrum. Or, further: imagine a synesthetic world like that of Stephen R. Donaldson's fantasy series, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever: a world in which sights have texture, smells have timbre, touch has color, and so on?"

We already have that. It's called LSD. (Granted, it would be nice to have that without the negative side effects.)

Movie Guy Steve said...

Kevin--

This is not intended as a response to your latest post. Instead, it's a question I have for you. I think I've noticed something, and I'd like your input on this, since you tend to be more religiously aware than my own muddled confusion. In fact, this might make an interesting blog post for you.

I've noticed with the Christian Right lately--politically mainly, but not exclusively--that there is far more talk about God and almost no talk about Christ. It's a subtle thing, but I'm almost positive it's there.

I realize that technically, God and Christ are two parts of the same unity, but they are also different, and extremely distinct biblically speaking. And, I think this is being done, consciously or unconsciously, as a way to justify particular positions.

It would be difficult, for instance, to picture the biblical Christ hating homosexuality or demanding a bigger military. But it would very much be in keeping with the character of the Old Testament Jehovah. This ignoring of Christ and focusing on what "God" wants...is this being used as a subtle justification for these policies?

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated, either on the blog or at steve.honeywell@comcast.net.

Brat said...

Steve, I think you are correct. It's something I've noticed myself. And it pisses me off no end that people don't see through this bullshit.