有意思的社会话题与技术话题.
翻译:姜迪
校对:李振华

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Virtual sex is coming
虚拟情色即将来临

The bad news is it's being developed by the English.
坏消息是它是由英语推广的.

By Richard Jaccoma   理查德 贾古曼 [http://www.seattleweekly.com/authors/richardjaccoma/2001]


IF BRITISH RESEARCHERS have their way (and they will), in the near future you'll pop a disk into your digital device, plug a wire into your neck, and play a recording that will let you feel every thrust, parry, and riposte of a night in heaven with the woman or man (or gender-ambiguous entity) of your fantasies.

如果英国研究者能够成功的话(而且他们一定会成功),在不久的将来把光盘放入电子设备,将一根电线植入颈部,并且播放一段录像带,你便可以体验到与一个幻想中的女人或男人(或是性别模糊的实体)如同置身天堂的交媾之夜。

In words of one syllable, the stuff dreams are made of will at last have come to pass. And while a Wired cover story and a feature-length interview on National Public Radio hardly constitute the media's ignoring this amazing piece of history in the making, it's actually surprising that even more fuss isn't being made about the matter.

简而言之,人们终于如愿以偿了。媒体并没忽视这段尚在发展中的伟大历史进程,因为它荣登《连线》杂志封面故事,与国家电台的长篇访谈节目,但事实上令人惊奇的是,人们对此事没有过多的异议。

Here are the facts: For nine days in August 1998, Kevin Warwick, a professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading near London, walked around with a chip implanted in his arm that allowed him to do all sorts of 2001-ish things throughout the office.

以下都是事实:1998年8月,伦敦附近瑞丁大学的一名控制论教授凯文 沃威克[Kevin Warwick],在其手臂植入一个芯片进行为期9天的实验生活,这个芯片能让他在办公室所有的地方做在21世纪[这里特指2001遨游太空的科幻]的事情。

Doors opened as he (and he alone) approached, lights turned on and off as he entered and left rooms—all because the microtransmitter embedded in his flesh allowed a computer to monitor and react to his presence constantly.

当他走向门的时候,门便自动打开,当他进入或离开房间时,灯自动打开或关闭——这都是因为他体内的微型发射器指令一台计算机时刻监控他的行为,并即时对之做出反应。

Certainly a case could be made that Warwick's implant was merely a somewhat more sophisticated version of duct-taping an automatic garage door opener to his forehead. Nevertheless, Warwick feels his experiment went several giant steps beyond that, simply by virtue of the implant itself, because wearing a chip inside his arm was preparation for the profoundly more ambitious project now under way.

当然,可以举一个例子来说明,沃里克前额植入的芯片是一种类似自动车库门的控制系统,只不过是更为复杂精密的形式。然而,沃里克认为,实验仅就芯片移植本身而言,已经是超越上述作用的巨大进步,因为在他的手臂植入芯片是为了更具野心的项目所做的前期准备。

"An important part of the reason for that first experiment was for me to actually experience having a transmitter inside my body," Warwick said in a recent interview, "to have the physical realization of what it's like. With all we're doing in the next stages, it's really the same concept. We're using roughly the same transmission pathway to send out whatever signal is there."

“第一次实验的动机很大程度上是因为我想亲身体验在自己体内装上一个发射器,”沃里克在一次近期的访问中说到,“是为了拥有亲身体验的经历。那次实验与我们接下来将要做的事在概念上是一致的。我们目前正运用大致相同的方式来运用这样的发射通道发射任何一种信号。”

This next stage is the killer. In a short time—summer of 2001 is the outside date, but Warwick feels his team will be ready earlier—he will undergo a new implantation of a two-way neural transmitter. A tiny "cuff" will sit around a main bundle of nerve fibers in his left arm and will capture and relay signals directly from his nervous system—a whole range of commands, sensations, and emotions.

接下来才是最困难的。在短时间内——尽管2001年夏天是最后的期限,但是沃里克认为研究小组将会更早地做好准备——他将进行一次新的移植,植入一个双向神经传输器。一个微小的“手链”将环绕他左臂的一束主要神经纤维,从他的神经系统直接捕捉,传递信号——包括命令,感觉和情绪的一个完整过程。

These faint electronic signals, the sort normally shuttling back and forth between our brains and our bodies every instant of our lives, will be monitored, digitized, and recorded.

那些微弱的电子信号,亦即那种每时每刻在我们大脑和身体之间来回穿梭的信号,将被监控,数字化并记录。

Then, they'll be played back over Warwick's own nervous system, essentially allowing the computer to recreate the commands, sensations, and emotions he experienced initially. In a portion of the experiment, researchers will also send Warwick signals that the brain can't usually process, such as X-ray, ultrasound, and infrared data, to see how his mind handles them.

然后,它们将被回放给沃里克自身的神经系统,自发地命令计算机重现他最初体验过的命令,感觉和情感。这个实验的一部分,研究者也将同时发送给沃里克一些大脑通常不能处理的信号,例如X射线,超声波和红外数据,以观测他的大脑如何处理这些信号。

"It'll be like a remote-controlled body, I suppose," Warwick said. "It's the next step in the experiment, trying to see what the brain makes of those signals." For the apocalyptically inclined, the notion of an implanted "mark of the beast," a chip embedded in living flesh, resonates more luridly than any mere clip-on ever could, whether that mark is used to open a garage door, access the Internet with a thought instead of a keystroke, or record and replay the climactic moments of a wedding night.

“我想那将会像一个被遥控了的身体” 沃里克说,”这就是实验的下一个阶段,我们想知道大脑如何处理那些信号。”由于过于悲观的倾向,内植的“野兽标记”的想法,即在生命体内植入芯片,所造成的反响显得比任何附着式(而非植入式)的设计更加耸人听闻,无论那个标记是被用于打开一个车库门,或是用于允许通过思维而非使用键盘访问互联网,或是记录和重放新婚之夜的高潮瞬间。

ODDLY ENOUGH, no other researchers seem to be experimenting in this precise area. The Reading research team consists of about 20 scientists, including a neural prosthesis specialist, a cybernetics expert from the United States-based Rehabilitation Robots Laboratory, and teams developing intelligent networks and biomedical signal processing software. However, Warwick says none of the technology being used is new. The monitoring devices, the programs to convert nerve signals into digital data for capture and replay, all exist in related fields, most notably in pain-monitoring systems and in controls for high-tech prosthetics.

最奇怪的是,似乎没有其他的研究者在这个精密的领域进行实验。雷丁研究小组大约有20名科学家,包括一个神经假肢专家,一个从复原机械人实验室美国基地来的控制论专家,以及一些开发智能网络和生物信息处理软件的小组。但是,沃里克说并未使用任何新技术。他们所使用的监控设备,将神经信号转换成电子数据以便捕捉和回放的各种程序都早已散见于那些相关领域,尤其是在疼痛检测系统和高科技修复术控制领域。

Warwick's experiment will last for about two weeks. If all goes well, a third stage will follow immediately, in which Warwick's wife will undergo implantation too. For this phase, there's good reason he'll need someone with whom he's intimately connected because—while the team plans to capture such basic information as simple movements of fingers and simple sensations like heat, cold, and pain—they also plan experiments of a more intimate nature.

沃里克的实验大约将持续2个星期。如果一切顺利,第三阶段将很快启动,在这个新阶段里沃里克的妻子也将进行移植手术。这一阶段,当小组计划捕捉一些诸如简单的手指运动和简单的冷热痛的感觉等基本信息时,他需要与某个关系亲密的人接触。研究小组同样会设计更多亲密动作的实验。

"How far could we go in transmitting feelings and desires?" Warwick wondered in his Wired article. "I want to find out. What if the other person became sexually aroused? Could we record signals at the height of our arousal, then play these back and relive the experience?"

“传送感觉和愿望的前景怎样?”在Wired文章里沃里克表达了这样的疑问。“我希望能找出答案。如果其他人变得性冲动那又是怎样的状况呢?我们能不能记录性冲动高潮时的信号,然后再现并重新体验那些感觉?”

When asked to elaborate on the erotic aspects of his work—and the implications for artistic creation and mass entertainment in general—Warwick responded enthusiastically.

当让他详谈工作中的有关色情方面的问题,并让他概括艺术创作和大众娱乐的含意时,沃里克非常热心地给予了回应。

"There's most definitely the possibility of a new entertainment medium here," he said. "You could even regard it as a kind of electronic game-playing, recording and playing back extreme feelings, sexual experiences. Let's be blunt about it: There are electrical signals flying around your body at such times; if you play back the same signals, our best guess is that you'll get something of the original sensations."
The term "multiorgasmic" will take on a whole new meaning, as will "instant replay." Pleasurable (and painful) sensations will likely be reproducible at will, and researchers will also explore the effects of playing back the body's reaction to drugs—hoping to recreate the effects without the chemicals themselves.

“毫无疑问,(实验)中存在一种新的娱乐媒介,”他说。“你可以把它看成一种电子玩具——播放,记录和回放那些非常的感觉,性经验。坦率地说:那时,会有电子信号在你身体里环绕;如果你重现相同的信号,我们最准确的猜测是,你将获得某种最初的感觉。”“反复高潮”这个词将拥有新的含义,“即时重放”一词也或许早已如此。快乐的(痛苦的)感觉将能够随意再生,研究员也将探索重现人们对毒品的反应所带来的影响——希望能在无化学药剂的条件下再现那些影响。

Warwick predicts the relatively simple neural recordings he and his team first make will soon develop into more sophisticated ones. "We're at the very earliest stages, as people once were with sound recording or telegraphy," he said. "What we're doing here will lead to the equivalent of stereo, then quadraphonic, then surround sound."

沃里克预言,由他和他的小组首先获得的相关简单神经记录将很快升级为复杂记录。“我们处在了最初级的阶段,因为人们曾经运用录音或电信技术实现过,”他说。“我们现在做的将产生类似于立体声的系统,然后是四声道系统,然后环绕声系统。”

HOW WILL THIS new medium develop? Barring any breakthrough, it seems likely those wishing to experience it will need a microtransmitting implant—certainly a higher level of commitment than slapping on a set of headphones or 3-D glasses. But in these days of faddish body modification, from tattoos and piercings to hair plugs and stomach staples, there'll likely be masses of people unsqueamish enough to sit still for such an operation.

这种新的媒介将怎样发展?除非有新的(技术)突破,否则很可能需要植入一个微型发射器才能体验它——当然,相比在一组耳机或者三维眼镜上随意涂一层物质而言,移植对人们的要求更高。但是,现在流行身体改造,从纹身和刺孔到植发和腹钉,很有可能很多人能大胆开放地去坐下来接受这个手术。

Then, too, the payoff will be far more intense than such old new-media turkeys as Mike Todd's 1960 Smell-O-Vision, and will make today's so-called virtual reality devices look like Smell-O-Vision themselves.

于是,同样的,较之迈克 托德[Mike Todd]1960年的嗅觉电影(Smell-O-Vision)这种的古老的新媒体,新媒介所引发的结果将更加激烈,并将使今天的所谓的仿真设备更像嗅觉电影本身。

Among the first prerecorded products available will likely be erotic encounters, but other intense sensory experiences will be in demand as well. If poor Orson Welles were still with us, he could record his orgasmic enjoyment of a 10-course meal (shall we make that 20, Orson?). And we'll be able to savor all sorts of risky behaviors, from skydiving to cigar smoking, in a risk-free way.

在首批预录制的产品中,性冲突很可能将首先上市出售。但是其他的强烈感官体验也会拥有很高的需求。如果穷困的奥尔森 威尔斯[Orson Welles]仍活着的话,可以记录下面对十道菜的宴席时他的兴奋(奥尔森,我们可以把它变成20道菜吗?)并且,我们还将以无风险的方式使人们充分体验从跳伞到抽雪茄等各种冒险行为。

Warwick's scenario could lead to a closer and closer alliance with intelligent machines, to the point where the very definition of "human" changes. When we all sport cyborglike "enhancements" that extend our capacities and perceptions and feelings, yet put us at the mercy of intelligent machines—when those machines control more and more of the fine details of our existence with each passing day—exactly what will it mean to be human? And where will humankind end and machine-kind begin?

沃里克的设想将使人们更加接近智能机器,以至于将改变“人类”的特定含义。当我们都使用(玩)电子人“增进”,拓展我们的能力,感觉以及知觉时,已经将我们自己至于受智能机器支配的境地---当这些机器逐步控制我们日常生活中的各种细节后——将对人们意味着什么?人类的终结和机械化的开始将起始于哪里?

Time, and experiments such as Kevin Warwick's, will tell.

时间和实验,例如凯文 沃里克的实验,将会告诉你答案。
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