May 15, 2013
Anyone Else Want Metallic Skin?
In the comments of my previous post on how people will use biotechnology to look like aliens Brett Bellmore comments he's like to look like his favorite comic book character:
Oh, I might be willing to indulge in some cosmetic changes once they became common enough to be unremarkable. (I wouldn't mind having metallic skin and hair like my favorite comic book character, Adam Warlock. Especially if it were more UV resistant!)
Come the time when human reshaping biotechnologies allow radical and highly precise alterations in appearances what will you do about it, if anything? Will you opt to become fiendishly good-looking or make yourself your favorite comic book or science fiction movie character? Any guys want to look like Chewbacca? Or Farscape's Ka D'Argo? How about any women up for getting reshaped to look like Jolene Blalock as Vulcan Tpol? Or look like Virginia Hey as Farscape's Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan? Or Gigi Edgley as Farscape's Chiana? Name your character. Who do you want to look like?
Want to go for very sexy, very alien, or extremely sexy alien?
Randall Parker, 2013 May 15 06:45 PM
We'd better get off-world colonization before this arrives. I don't want to be on the same planet as the furries when they get their hands on this.
It is only a matter of time before pink hermaphroditic centaurs go grocery shopping.
Expect some extremely exaggerated sexual dimorphism as well.
I might remove a couple of scars or get rid of the greys. But only to put things back like they were. I wouldn't change anything. I'm pretty happy with what I have. Unless it's medically valid or provides a significant advantage.
On the other hand...
I'm already a sexy beast. I'm not modding me unless it adds functional advantages.
I thought of furries as well, though there are doubtless a large number of other subcultures that would embrace technology like this. Just look at how basic/crude body modifications like piercings or tattoos are common to certain groups already.
Wonder what would happen if some choose to look like children, smaller body and all. appearance would be decoupled from age, so would sexting be legal or illegal in that case?
What are the timeframes for things like this? Also, how far, theoretically, could body modifications go?
Also, what mechanisms would we need to have in order to get blue skin, like that farscape character. As far as I know, there are no genes for blue skin, are there?
This is an old topic with the furries (and yes, I'm one of them). I've led discussion panels on this and similar topics. To some extent it's like the scifi fandom panels discussing the scientific prospects for FTL drive, or any of many other staples of scifi stories.
Indeed, there are some (Like Dennis Avner that I mentioned in the previous post on this) who would go to extreme, and IMHO rather pathological lengths for this.
A lot more would be interested if the overhead were low enough. How much time are you out of commission? How easy is it to reverse if you don't like it or it doesn't work out? What's the pain level involved? Current methods are pretty bad at all of those.
A lot of the fantasy part of wishing you looked a certain way can be done much more easily with VR or augmented reality. With a much closer to existing augmented reality system (like Google Glass after several generations), it could recognize a face and then overlay the persons prefered appearance on top of it.
The current costumes that furries have are quite cumbersome and hot. Long before actually reshaping the body, improved materials and technologies for costumes would be practical. Smart prosthetics that move in response to nerve control, not just as orthopedic devices, but appearance ones as well, for example. Skin tone changing makeup that mimics blushing, and other changes for another.
Personally, I'd be more interested in the near term in improving my existing body before I'd worry as much about an exotic appearance. Being able to be in better physical condition without having to do as much exercise as required right now would be a plus for many. Backups for single point of failure organ systems would be high on my wish list.
A number of the furries I know are handicapped and use furry as a online playland where they don't have things like Friedrik's ataxia, or hemophilia that's crippled their joints, or aren't blind or deaf (I have good friends who fit all of those categories). To be able to have either a high fidelity VR or be able to correct their problems would be a godsend for them.
Personally, turning myself into say, an anthropomorphic fox is a long way down on the list, and I'd want to be able to easily change back.
In the long term that might be better done with an artificial body that you would teleoperate via a brain interface. You use the body that's appropriate for the time. That way you don't end up showing up for a meeting at work looking like a refugee from a furry rave dance. ;)
I'm used to looking like me. Functional improvements would be great—the human shoulder and the human knee, for example, might both benefit by some design improvements, and aging is a really bad idea. But I don't want to look like someone, or something, else.
We say we don't want to look any different now, but what about when our lifespans are measured in centuries or millennia? What happens if Aubrey De Grey and his supporters turn out be be right? I can easily see us getting bored with the same old body and same old appearance after 3-400 years. Anyone who believes otherwise, come back and talk to me in a couple of centuries and tell me you still want to look the same.
"Personally, I'd be more interested in the near term in improving my existing body before I'd worry as much about an exotic appearance. Being able to be in better physical condition without having to do as much exercise as required right now would be a plus for many. Backups for single point of failure organ systems would be high on my wish list."
Oh, I agree. But a technology which could do those things would have no trouble with the cosmetics, either; If you can build cars, you can paint them.
Currently human skin pigmentation has serious *functional* limits, in coping with UV light. New pigments would actually be a promising avenue for functional improvement.
"In the long term that might be better done with an artificial body that you would teleoperate via a brain interface. You use the body that's appropriate for the time. That way you don't end up showing up for a meeting at work looking like a refugee from a furry rave dance. ;)"
I envision something more like installing the brain in a canister with short term life support, that can be swapped from body to body. Wifi so that you can handle the swap yourself if you want, but the actual connection for normal operation would be hard wired, to avoid any risk of somebody hacking into it. And besides, who wants to get clumsy just because they're on a vacation a long ways from where they keep their brain, and are having network latency issues? I suppose you could do it both ways, teleoperated when hanging out near your home, and go along for the ride when taking trips.
If you designed the lungs to operate the same way birds do, the more efficient counter-flow principle, that would spare enough space in the chest cavity to relocate the brain canister there, a safer location. I suppose you could find something to do with the vacant space in the head. Maybe room for expanded optics, so you could have a third eyelid in the forehead, with extremely high resolution and telescopic capability.
A tail! I want a prehensile tail. I've been told I will change my mind the first time I slam it in a car door.