The Speculist: Facing the Serious Questions

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Facing the Serious Questions

I, for one, welcome our new monkey overlords with their thought-controlled robotic henchmen.

Of course, the real point of this research is that if monkey's can do it, so can humans. So the serious question about the future that we all have to face is whether we will go with straight-up thought-controlled robotic henchmen, or whether we will develop a human-monkeybrain interface whereby what we think will be carried out by the monkeys, and what the monkeys think (as instructed by us) will by carried out by the robots. I personally prefer this model, in that I get not only henchman, but a tiered reporting structure as well.

But that's just me

Also, if it matters, this research might have some kind of obscure side benefits for victims of paralysis:

In a major step toward helping victims of paralysis walk again, researchers at Duke University Medical Center today announced that they had proved monkeys can use their brainpower to control the walking patterns of robots.

The Duke researchers, working with the Computational Brain Project of the Japan Science and Technology Agency, implanted Idoya, a rhesus monkey, with electrodes that gathered signals from her brain's motor and sensory cortex cells as she ambled along on a specially built child-size treadmill. The electrodes recorded the cells' responses as the monkey walked on the treadmill at different speeds; simultaneously, sensors on Idoya's legs tracked their patterns of movement. The information was transmitted in real time from their lab in Durham, N.C., to control the commands of a five-foot-tall humanoid robot (see video here) in Kyoto, Japan.

That part all seems a little far-out to me. But who knows? Maybe the human interest angle will help them keep the work funded.

Via GeekPress.

Comments

Yeah, and with a little genetic engineering your henchmen could be winged monkeys!

As a monkey, I resent the condescending tone of your post. As soon as I can mind-move a robot I will have it bother you all day. Further, since monkeys have hearts of gold, the robots would serve not as henchmen but as doers great deeds for the world and renew the souls of humankind.

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