Tuesday, 26 October 2010

famed speech-head says humans will be able to back up memories | Speech Technology Magazine Blog

Ray Kurzweil, famous for his work on speech recognition, text-to-speech synthesis, amongst other speech-related things (and other non-speech things as well), announced at the ‘Future Talk’ even in Vienna, Austria, that within twenty years scientists will be able to back up memories using nanobots. These nanobots would be in our bloodstream and also help people heal, says Kurzweil according to numerous sources that covered the event. Say what you will, but Dr.Kurzweil was scoffed at when he predicted the what’s now known as the internet.

His remarks remind me of the Bina48 project–where a real woman–Bina Rothblatt– had a robot modeled after her–I mean this quite literally; Bina is a head made to look like the human Bina. “She” is said to contain some of the human Bina’s memories. Bina48 responds to other people’s questions, though her accuracy varies, and her responses are also, unsurprisingly, odd.

So am I a hopeless Luddite if this all gives me the creeps a little? Admittedly, I am fascinated, but the whole idea of memory in and of itself seems so gray, so murky, complex and sticky. All I can think of are distopias where memories are harvested and used against people, and what if I remember something wrong? (and what does that even mean? As we all know, sometimes it’s convenient to remember something one way) Also, how soon then would it be before the nanobots could make us forget? Or make us remember something differently than how it might have happened. I don’t know, but I’ll be a little more freaked when I watch Caprica* tonight.

*which is unfortunately, getting bad. Does anyone else miss Battlestar Galactica?