Have Your Robot or Droid Call Mine

Want to make a social or business appearance while cruising on your yacht?

It's simple -- you can now just send your look-alike android.

At least that's what one Japanese professor has done to 'avoid the long commute.' He uses 'tele-teaching,' according to a new report from one of my favorite mags, Wired. ("Meet the Remote-Control Self," by Tim Hornyak, July 20, 2006). The android apparently looks and sounds like the professor -- plus he can answer standard questions (or will be able to in the next version), so ... voila!

"Ishiguro's silicone-and-steel doppelgänger was made from casts taken from his own body. Powered by pressurized air and small actuators, it runs on semiautonomous motion programs.

It blinks and fidgets in its seat, moving its foot up and down restlessly, its shoulders rising gently as though it were breathing. These micromovements are so convincing that it's hard to believe this is a machine."

But exactly. The Singularity is a lot nearer than people think. Kurzweil believes that whether robots possess consciousness (and therefore political and legal rights) will be the question of the century, within about 25 years. My own view is that the question will be answered in the affirmative, within a much shorter time.

Of course that will rile many folks -- doesn't it say that humans are made in the divine image (not silicon chips)? So we can expect a fair amount of controversy. I've come around from seeing technology as largely antithetical to spirituality to seeing how, inevitably, technology is aiding spirituality (though sometimes still crowding it out, depending on how you use it), and, in some strange and still unfathomable ways, providing metaphors for and extending spiritual capacity.

The more we know is seems the less we know, and the question, what does it mean to be human, only deepens.

So, shall we get together for lunch to discuss it? Forget email - have your droid call mine and they can select the optimal time and location, then put in our orders. In fact, they can discuss over lunch and download the results directly to our brains. We can then send telepathic messages--well, they'll seem telepathic through the implants that directly connect our minds together.