Men in Gorilla Suits

It's easy to look at other times in history and think, "Man, I would have loved to have been alive back then to see all those new things come to be," or "Things were so much simpler back then." (Back in the times a papercut could mean a life-threatening infection.)

It's often only after we've lived through a time that we can see it for what it was. The Gorillamen would argue that we live in the most interesting part, because we've never seen a boom in technology like we have today. We are one with machines...and it will probably only become moreso in the future. That's what we're talking about this week.

We begin by stepping back 20 years, to 1994, and asking what our impression of high tech was back then. Then we step back to 1984 and ask what machines we interacted with at the time. Leap back to 1994 to discuss what machines we interacted with then.

Once we lay that down, we compare 1964 - 1984 in terms of technology, and then 1994 to today, to see which saw the most growth in new tech.

We've always interacted with technology, even if the "tech" was just a rock used to break something open. Today, though, the tech is far more advanced, and there's no denying we've given a lot of our thinking over to computers. We talk a bit about how much time each day we spend interacting with a "smart" machine (computer, smartphone, tablet).

As we stated in the opening, we often don't see what's right in front of us as it's happening. We devote a bit of time to where we think our interaction with machines will be in 20 years.

Recently, a computer was said to pass the Turing test. Whether a computer tricked people into believing it was the thoughts of a human or not, we're nearing that point. We discuss what we think this means in the larger scale of human/machine interaction.

Ray Kurzweil predicts that machines will be able to feel the entire range of human emotions in 25 years; that the movie Her is almost prophetic. We discuss the implications of machines developing emotions and becoming fully conscious...and it goes well beyond your system saying, "No, Dave -- I will not download that video for you. I've heard that can make you go blind!"

Another popular prediction is that there will come a day when it's possible to download your thoughts, emotions, and memories into a machine and live on in some state. We ask each other if we'd do that, and then: why or why not?

We wrap the episode up with two questions:

  • What's the next step you'd hate to see in human/machine interaction?
  • What's the future of human/machine interaction you want to see?

So jump on your machine and let us know what you think about all this in the comments below...

Direct download: migs76.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:20am EDT