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The Tomorrow Makers:
A Brave New World of Living Brain Machines

by Grant Fjermedal

(two views)

Carnegie-Mellon computer scientist Hans Moravec wants to download his mind into a computerized robot so he can live forever. Moravec envisions the day when small parts of a his brain will be modeled one tiny section at a time with microscopic computers. Eventually, his head will be full of silicon, and his old brain will be chopped-up cubes on the surgery-room floor. Backup copies of his new brain can then be stored in lead boxes 100 meters underground, or in satellites orbiting the moon. Author Grant Fjermedal hung out with technoweenies at Stanford, MIT, and Carnegie-Mellon, as well as robotic specialists in Japan, to find out about the latest developments in mobile robots that see, hear and learn.

(M. Frauenfelder)

Fjermedal interviews, cajoles, and hangs with real live cyberpunks Marvin Minsky, Hans Moravec, Danny Hillis, and other visionaries/lunatics doing ground-breaking work in robotics, AI, and the downloading of human consciousness into computers.

(R. Kadrey)


The Tomorrow Makers
Grant Fjermedal
Microsoft Press
Attn: Consumer Sales
1224 Heil Quaker Blvd.,
LaVergne, TN 37086
(800) 677-7377
1986, 272 pgs, pb, $8.95

Here is the TEXT POPUP for The Tomorrow Makers:

If a person is a robot and you get a wiring diagram of it, then you can make copies.

- Marvin Minsky, Computer Science Professor, MIT

We are on the threshold of a change in the universe comparable to the transition from non-life to life.

- Hans Moravec

Tachi has succeeded with his vision system. It truly gives you
the feeling that you are inside the robot, looking at the world from within its body, not your own. This is possible because the operator isn't just looking at a television monitor; his head is encased in a black-velvet-lined box. Within this box are two television receivers, one for each eye. The receivers are gauged so that the image reflected against the retina of each eye is exactly the same as if you were looking at the world unaided. Further, every movement of your head is duplicated on the robot, where two precisely placed video cameras transmit a human range of what is seen.

The result of this is that when I went into the lab and strapped my head inside the black box, it was if I were seeing with my own eyes. The depth and scope of human vision was so completely reproduced, and the color was so clear, that it was at first unsettling and than a wild visual delight.

Someone in the lab went over to the robot-mounted cameras and swung them around so that they focussed on me. The walls spun during the maneuver, and then when the motion stopped and I was looking at myself, the out-of-body-experience began...

"Are you here?" Tachi laughed. "Or are you there? Where is your body?


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