Monday, September 6, 2010

Bina48 in the Spot Bemes

"Friendship is when you team together to accomplish something important like building a better future"

In these words, Bina48, a body-less humanoid robot modeled on the real Bina Aspen, defines friendship when interviewed by a New York Times' journalist:

This definition of friendship, while engaging, seemed to me profoundly messianic when compared to the Merriam-Webster's: "the state of being friends".  I was wondering if the people behind Bina48 couldn't be led by a broader sense of purpose edging idealism.

After some research, I realized that the brain behind Bina48 was Martine Rothblatt. I didn't know anything about Martine (actually Martine Aliana since 1994) until a few days ago when I started laying out my thoughts for this blog post.

In a nutshell, this guy is very impressive yet scary.  To get a feel for the depth of his genius, a few seconds skimming through this video about Legal Rights of Concious Computers should do it:

There are many reasons why I believe Martine Aliana can be criticised and come accross as an utopist excelling at the art of wishful futuristic thinking.  Nonetheless, beyond the religious and philosophical debates that his "transbeman" vision may bring about, I'd like to stick to the power of his original intuition and how this may relate to the high growth Social Networking wave.

A bunch of concepts are introduced in Martine Aliana's presentation above.  I found most fairly interesting and one stood out in my view.  The concept of "Beme".

As opposed to "Genes" which are units that code our physical differences and thereby set the basis for the notion of apartheid (to summarize Martine Aliana's words), "Bemes" are fundamental, transmissible, mutatable units of beingness.  They embody our unique elements of beingness: our mannerisms, our personalities, our feelings, our beliefs, our recollections, our attitudes, our values.  Rothenblatt claims that they are much stronger than genes and to support his point of view she says that identical twins turn out to be much different persons.

The much broader scemantic reach of the "Beme" leads to a much broader charaterization of the traditional Human, the Beman.  At that point in the presentation, I realized that I was losing an increasing volume of hair off the top of my head because of overheating, TweetMaps like the following one were intensely populating my sight:

Yet, this new insight was starting to raise my continuous learning curiosity.

A Beman turned out to be a bio-electric human, structured around his BNA (Beme Neural Architecture).  As a much broader driving force stands behind the Bemans, a non discriminative one, the Beme, Rothblatt insists on the strong underlying inclusiveness of Bemanism.

As I was reaching my last hair count, Rothblatt transgressed into transhumanism and transbemanism.  So much for my last piece of hair, I had to reach out to Bina48's Tina Turner-inspired wig to make up for the loss.

Two brand new domains, seemingly frightening ones to me, were opening up before my bewildered eyes like dawn would break on the hazy wee hours of the morning.

Once again, I jumped on the digital cloud to hastily patch my non existent knowledge of these weird concepts.  A few clicks later, I had read the basics of transhumanism and realized that it was a widely followed movement, they even have their magazine and their H+ symbol that stands for "enhanced human" intended through technology and science.

Of course, this couldn't be simple enough for Martine Aliana.  Transbemans (B+ as they seem to be designated), like transhumans (H+), "push the enveloppe of life" but they are more focused on the sociological than on the technological evolution of life.  

Wow, at that point, my wig had already started to melt down and although Martine Aliana was further pushing the enveloppe of legal rights for US, humans and conscious computers united as a whole and not as segregated DNA-ists, I had to pull the plug.

Now, as the temperature started to cool off, I began to ponder the ever expanding social networking footprint on the digital cloud.  I thought again about one of my older posts "Digital Love is Forever" where I had touched on potential mindfiles of ourselves that would continue to interact with our descents through online social networking. 

What if our rising online social networking activity was the premises of our bemes, our unconscious sense of purpose to become universal transbemans?

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