1. says

    Short answer: No. Would a robot have the full sensory apparatus my brain currently expects and gets from all parts of my original body? Would a brain that grew and developed within a biological body even be able to work AT ALL within any other kind of body, organic or not? Those questions aren’t even close to being answered.

    Our emotions don’t just come from inside our brains; they’re also effected by — and effect — other parts of our bodies, from our sensory inputs (especially smell) to our digestive systems to our hearts and lungs. What sort of emotions (if any) would we have if we didn’t have organic bodies influencing them? Would we even be the same people as we’d been in our original organic bodies?

    (And all of that is assuming it’s even possible for an organic brain to manage an inorganic body in the first place; which has yet to be proven.)

  2. Walter Solomon says

    This takes me back. Dr. Quinn had has brain transplanted into a robot body that looks exactly like his real body except with a bigger, better penis.

  3. hemidactylus says

    @5- PZ

    I probably hyperbolized the point in that I see techsters in the midst of a multiple wave pandemic involving real world viruses watching the pseudo-profound A Glitch in the Matrix and wondering if we are indeed as Musk pontificates living a simulation. That was my take. YMMV.

    But there could be a transhumanist take where while Omicron portends worse saltational supervariants spreading death and destruction we instead ignore that and project the coming Singularity predicted by Moore’s law and look forward to when we can upload our conscious becomings to a server farm overseen by the benign Emperor Zuckerberg and safe from biological harms. What could go wrong?

    Ultimately instead of silly viral particles besetting us now we should just ignore the news and look forward to when Kurzweil’s nanobots will save our future. I’m probably projecting way too much meaning into that cartoon. And I’m not fantasizing about my brain being placed in a robotic supermodel’s body right now, but instead wondering when I should best time my foraging run to the supermarket, because real life is closer to The Walking Dead dystopia than Kurzweil’s utopian Singularity or brains in robotic hot babe vats. Or tigerbots.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    Regarding androids- I strongly recommend the SF booklet All Systems Red and its sequels!
    But in the story, the organic parts were custom-made to interact with the cybernetic parts.

  5. brucegee1962 says

    Does anybody else here remember watching the original Sealab 2020 on Saturday morning with a big bowl of cereal, and doing the math to figure out how old you would be in 2020, and wondering what it would be like?

  6. hemidactylus says

    And there’s probably some subtle subtext to be unpacked about it being the pragmatic black guy who is tasked with actually trying to fix the cracks in society before it all falls apart while the others remain inside to engage in unrealistic twaddle which was being impeded by the noise of the alarm signals. Not sure where to go with that or if I was again reading way too much into a cartoon storyline.

  7. PaulBC says

    I’ll watch that later, maybe, but to get to the point: no.

    It would probably be a pretty crummy existence for me, essentially being confined to a prosthetic device. Sentient robots may or may not exist in the future with or without my participation. My desire to extend the thread of my consciousness indefinitely comes from a survival instinct that’s useful in a natural context, but taken to absurdity by transhumanists and the like.

    I think it’s pretty cool that there are conscious entities. It does not follow from that that I have to be one of them forever.

    It’s not like I’m working on any idea so great that it will escape a de novo mind in the future without the baggage of my existence. The reason to keep living is to be there for those who depend on your or who will miss you. Planting your brain in a robot or “uploading” even if such were possible, is simply a recipe for overstaying your welcome.

  8. wzrd1 says

    It’s all nonsense.
    I tried that transplant, the robot body rejected my brain and for good reason.

  9. PaulBC says

    brucegee1962@10 Not specifically. I did observe that I’d be 34 in 2000 and wondered if the space colonies orbiting Jupiter would be enough to make up for being such an old man nearing death.

    After 2000 actually happened, reality went off its rails. I think the ensuing years are an extended “occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”. All of Generation Z including my own kids going through life not realizing they’re part of a mass hallucination.

  10. Paul K says

    I loved that show when I was a kid! In fact, for Christmas one year, my parents got me a cheap cassette recorder (the office type, not a hi-fi one; those didn’t exist yet). I was blown away because it was actually something I wanted, without knowing it, and for once they hit that spot. I recorded an episode of this show, and probably would have forgotten it ever existed, if not for that tape, which lay around for years.

    This video was, as PZ wrote, is a great allegory for our current state of affairs. Robot fantasy are the violin, Sealab is Rome.

    I did not remember the diverse cast of characters on the original series. Star Trek probably got me ready for that***, or, being about eight years old and oblivious.

    ***The other side of that tape had a recording of ‘The Changling’, from the original series. I still have the dialog more or less memorized.

  11. Bruce says

    Still, you have to admit that it would be pretty cool to be a professor at UMM with your brain in a superhuman robot octopus as strong as five gorillas, because you could deliver classroom lectures safely, while writing on the whiteboard with three different arms at once, while simultaneously erasing what you wrote with three other arms. Just saying.

  12. Akira MacKenzie says

    Of course, I want to be transplanted into an Adrienne Barbeau-bot.


  13. James Fehlinger says

    Robot fantasy are the violin, Sealab is Rome.

    Elon Musk is the fiddler.

    The other side of that tape had a recording of ‘The Chang[e]ling’,
    from the original series. I still have the dialog more or less memorized.

    “In my opinion that’s a machine.”

    “I am Nomad. What is ‘opinion’?”

  14. John Morales says

    Good grief.

    The conceit is droll enough (foolishly focusing on trivialities rather than on the imminent catastrophe), but it has that USAnian way of trying to beat you over the head with an overly extended gag. I started zipping forward after about a minute, and sure enough, it was as expected. It was 10 minutes too long.


    prairieslug, fignuts, eh? I looked it up. Like ‘smeghead’, only USAnian.

  15. hemidactylus says

    @21- John
    Geez are you one of the tweet programmed needing instant gratification? 10 minutes too long? You must be loads of fun at movies and a boon for people sitting nearby at the theater not realizing poorly aimed popcorn and condiments may be inbound.

    I merely watched at 1.5X with captions, thought it pretty funny, and was surprised by the unexpected twist at the end. Sure it wasn’t Mel Gibson or Paul Hogan caliber, but we Merkins try our best. Oh yeah, Mel was born over here but was mostly socialized there, so we can’t be blamed.

  16. Howard Brazee says

    I suppose replacing much of my body with mechanical parts would do the same thing.

    But the brain isn’t an isolated organ. Hormones and such are part of our personalities. They have to be considered as part of the brain.

  17. John Morales says

    Geez are you one of the tweet programmed needing instant gratification?

    No, I am one of those who got the point well within a minute, after which it just became more and more tedious as it went on and on and on and on to its utterly expected end.

    (I like content, not padding)

  18. says

    I don’t suppose someone could post which episode this was, seeing as Warner has now pulled the video from youtube . . . ?

  19. hemidactylus says

    @25- John
    I guess even at 1.5X while the video lasted on Youtube I was slower than you on the uptake. I respect that you didn’t see it the same as I and you didn’t take the Gibson/Croc Dundee baiting…sorry. Have a great whatever this long weekend is without the religious undertones! 😎

  20. John Morales says

    Thanks, hemidactylus.

    I appreciate some might enjoy the lengthy elaboration of the joke, FWTW.

    I hope you enjoy the holidays too.

  21. says

    The video is unavailable to me, so I’ll have to just answer the question from the blog title… Yes, if it’s a humanoid android with all of our senses, or if it’s a huge death machine with tank treads, mini-guns, cannons, and a soft serve dispenser.

  22. John Morales says

    Tabby, the conceit is that there is a pressing known situation that will lead to doom if not addressed, but rather than attending to it the protagonists instead argue the merits of brain in a robot body and belatedly get around to some token effort, and keep thus going until doom befalls.

    A topicl allegory.

  23. KG says

    ! This video is unavailable

    I may use Tor to watch it later.

    After 2000 actually happened, reality went off its rails. – PaulBC@14

    Oh, well before that. AIDS is obviously SF, and as for the end of the Cold War, pfff, totally implausible. I remember writing a draft for a multi-ending story “How The Cold War Ended”, which included events as mundane as a nuclear holocaust, AI takeover and alien invasion, but nothing as weird as the USSR just giving up!