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Philosophy technology

Robotic Inflection: Ameca

Context: Ameca, “the future face of robotics,” is as freaky as you’d expect

The image in the mirror of rationality is the machine. The suspension of disbelief in the essential non-personality of Ameca is a function of a psychological (as much as cultural or technological) compulsion to reveal, to unveil ourselves in the world and, where we do not do so, to invent the necessary conditions for it.

Where Protagoras asserts the human as the measure of things his intention may have been moral but Leonardo’s Uomo Universale reminds us that all measurement, all definition and all knowledge is a projection, a determination, an assertion of arc and tangent upon an uncertain cosmos. The psychological (and emotional) thread is as of reaching out into the darkness and hoping to find a hand of self-validation and assurance reaching back from the metaphysical void.

This is in essence what these robotic devices represent – not the creation of a new form of life or intelligence but the cognitive hyper-inflation of that form of life which does already exist. We should perhaps not be so surprised to discover that in reaching out into the void that we find a corollary (unprovable, unresolvable) vacuum within ourselves. The image in the mirror is the machine but the boundaries of logic and simulacrum are actually our own.

DaVinci’s Universal Man measures reality.

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