Project Natal Milo – UPDATES!

In the classic film “Desk Set,” Spencer Tracey’s engineer asks Katharine Hepburn’s librarian if she’d ever seen a demonstration of IBM’s new “electric brain”:

Did you ever see one of these electronic brains work?

Just this morning, as a matter of fact, I saw a demonstration at IBM.

Oh? Did you see it translate Russian into Chinese?

Yeah. I saw it do everything. Frightening. Gave me the feeling that maybe, just maybe, people were a little bit outmoded.

Mmm. Wouldn’t surprise me a bit if they stopped making them.

I’m feeling a little bit like Bunny Watson after viewing this demonstration. Technology is certainly affecting our brains, and it is weakening our ability to focus, and scattering our thoughts like buckshot, but here we see a stunning potential for the permanent blurring of reality for those (and they will be many) who want it blurred.

Sippican Cottage says, for God’s sake, please go outside!

Via a tweet by Allahpundit, a robot officiates at a Japanese wedding…while Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, and Ave Maria play in the background.

I need to “process” this, a little.

Speaking of “reality,” get a load of the “reality” Woody Allen lives in. I guess when you are as insulated as he is, and as “permanently wealthy” as he is and as used to getting your own spoiled way about everything, the idea of dictatorship is attractive. Get all those commoners, who don’t live your charmed life, in line!

I am so weary of these stuck-up, entitled, trend-sucking, bratfaced baby-boomers.


Reality: It’s whatever they say it is

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Russ

    Impressive… makes my job seem like the technological equivalent of making mud pies.

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  • Frank La Rocca

    Impressive what can be done with electricity – though I doubt the “water” felt wet to Clare – even if it did appear to move.

  • Brian

    If these are any comfort to you…


    and the comments here…


    I’m skeptical of Natal myself.

    [I wondered if it was a gag when I first saw it. O/T, once again (and not just for you) when people leave comments with urls, they more often than not disappear in to the spam filter until I am in the mood to go look through it, which is not that often. It is extremely easy to create a link. If I can do it, anyone can. Please see this tutorial -admin]

  • Melinda

    Science fiction has written about this type of technology quite alot and for a long time. Without thinking too hard I can list Jane, the artificial sentience from “Speaker for the Dead” (1986) by Orson Scott Card. Also “Neuromancer” (1984) by William Gibson introduced Wintermute / Neuromancer as the AI global computer network. “Blade Runner” (1982) based on a”Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (1968) by Philip Dick. Even “The Matrix” has this type of technology.

  • Rand Careaga

    Umm…Woody Allen was born in 1935, which doesn’t make him a “Baby Boomer” by any definition of the term I’ve ever come across. This joker, though, was born in 1946, which makes him incontestably a BB:

    “You don’t get everything you want. A dictatorship would be a lot easier.” –Responding to the difficulties of governing Texas, “The Taming of Texas,” Governing Magazine (July 1998)

    “If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier…just so long as I’m the dictator.” –Online NewsHour interview, Washington, DC, (December 18, 2000

    “Dealing with Congress is a matter of give and take. The president doesn’t get everything he wants, the Congress doesn’t get everything they want. But we’re finding good common ground. A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there’s no question about it.” –Statement, Washington, DC, (July 26, 2001); as quoted in the Seattle Seattle Post-Intelligencer (July 27, 2001).

    I await your reproach on behalf of the common folk to this spoiled child of privilege (the distant stridulations of randy crickets fill the spring evening).

    (From Wikiquote)

    [Allen certainly acts like a boomer. And so does W. Except he was clearly not serious. Allen clearly was. And please don't talk to me about Bush being the "spoiled child of privilege", unless you're ready to use that brush on a lot of your own tribe members. -admin]

  • Rand Careaga

    Allen certainly acts like a boomer. And so does W. Except he was clearly not serious. Allen clearly was.

    Ah. Accordingly Woody Allen serves, notwithstanding having been born 114 months before the first “Baby Boomer,” as an indictment of that demographic cohort because you have read his mind, and he was “clearly serious.” Dubya, conceived while casualties of the late conflict were still expiring of their injuries, is not to be taken as an indictment because you’ve also read his mind, and he was not serious (I’m inclined to agree with you, actually: I’ve never detected him in a serious thought his entire career). Gotcha. Boy-howdy, but those crickets are loud!

  • Greta

    You are seeing a lot of use of Wii games in healthcare and community center uses that bring people together. They are also useful in some forms of physical therapy because they hold interest and keep people moving and coming back.
    I think you might see a tool like the one shown with a person used where kids have emotial issues from some event and are hard to reach or to get to open up. They might work with someone none threatening and controlled by a well trained professional.
    Who knows, we might some day actually have a computer representative in congress that we know will act a specific way. When an issue comes up, they could appear to us for an open discussion, actually read and analyze bills, and in the end, be voted out rather easily. After all, we have one like this in office now programed by Axelrod, Ayers, and Rev Wright. Might be better to have us in more control. We could program things in like cannot violate the constitution since they take the oath on this and tend to ignore the oath on a bible. Everyone could have access to their code and in that know the values programmed into the representative. I can see the tea party now putting up their candidate…

  • Ampontan

    Not a whole lot of processing required for the robot wedding, really.

    The groom works for the company that made the robot. It’s PR.

    [That explains the awkward kiss! -admin]

  • Ampontan

    Forgot to mention in previous note that marriages in Japan do not require a wedding. A couple can simply go to city hall and register, and that is that.

    Anything they do in the way of a wedding ceremony is for show, even if it is a Shinto rite.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Greta, sadly, whatever can be programmed can be un-programmed—or hacked into.

  • YogusBearus

    My, what a mind numbing topic. It does occur to me that Rand’s comments might make a bit more sense if one was thoroughly stoned.

  • Ryan Haber

    It’s just more man playing God. Blurring boundaries between male and female, between human and animal, between even natural and artificial. Only God creates natural things – artificial things are the work of man’s artifice. To deny the distinction is literally to put man in God’s place – it is Satan’s ploy from Gen 3, and it is satanic in essence.

    I like your response best, Anchoress – “Go outside.” For some maladies, argumentation is no cure. If someone is drowning with their head inverted into a fishtank, there’s no use trying to explain to them how to swim, or that there’s only a few gallons of water there. The solution is to pull their heads out.

    In real life, unfortunately, sometimes even Katrina-sized or 9/11-sized catastrophes are not enough to make people wake up and sea reality. The current economic crisis is great evidence. Solution to economic fragility caused basically by debt, fiat money, and inflated values? Borrow more, print more, inflate more.

    Of course.

    Same with this lunacy. People will not be convinced that a robot is not the same as a man, or a puppy is not the same as a child, or a man and a woman are not the same thing, until their lives have exhausted themselves of meaning. When they find themselves emotionally and morally depleted, and their lives a dreary mess, we Christians had better be ready to offer the word a reason for our hope, and we’d better have a track record that makes our reasoning plausible.

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  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Yes, if one was stoned, Rand’s comments might make some kind of sense. Unfortunately, for those of us who aren’t, they don’t.

    (The Anchoress’s criticisms of the Boomer generation are pretty mild, compared to some that I’ve heard—and let’s face it, that generation deserves a lot of criticism. And, whether Woody Allen counts as an official baby boomer or not, his remarks about dictators are appalling, especially in view of the history of the 20th Century.)

  • Kensington

    Isn’t it funny that Allen seems to presume that a hypothetical Obama dictatorship couldn’t possibly cause him any discomfort?

    And, consequently, it’s okay to advocate for dictatorships as long as they don’t inconvenience the person advocating them?

    Allen ought to think a bit before he admits such things out loud, but perhaps he doesn’t even realize what he’s doing.

  • Maureen

    Re: Japanese weddings

    It’s part of Japanese pop culture that a lot of Japanese girls want a Western-style wedding, right down to the dress, the bouquet, and the assembly hall shaped like a church. People are even hired to “officiate” dressed up as clergy. (Much like Las Vegas wedding chapels, though without the power to actually marry people legally.)

    The other factor is that a Western-style wedding may be expensive, but it’s probably cheaper than a real Shinto or Buddhist religious wedding. A dress may be expensive, but it’s often a lot cheaper than a wedding kimono.

    Of course, the 2% or so of Japanese who are Christians or Catholics do have real church weddings; just as the general Japanese celebration of Christmas as a secular romantic holiday where you eat Christmas cake and dress up as Santa doesn’t prevent Japanese Christians from celebrating the actual birth of Christ.