So how can we transcend as seamlessly as possible the restrictions of distances and geography? Affordable telepresence can be achieved using virtual environments, or by an increasing array of cheap or free videoconferencing tools, but there are emerging new possibilities which are very exciting. I’m looking into the possibilities of (relatively cheap) drones, and I discovered today the Drone Journalism Lab:
Links, thoughts and research into using drones, UAVs or remotely piloted vehicles for journalism at the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
But the second thing I discovered was almost unsettling. It’s like a drone on wheels. It’s telepresence, a bit like Mr Rabbit in Rainbows End (Vernor Vinge), demonstrating telepresence of a (possible) A.I. in a dramatic way:
The rabbit hopped onto the unoccupied wicker chair and thence to the middle of the table, between the teacups and the condiments. It tipped its top hat first at Alfred Vaz and then at GÃ¼nberk Braun and Keiko Mitsuri. “Have I got a deal for you!” it said. Altogether, it was an unremarkable example of its type.
Alfred reached out and swiped his hand through the image, just to emphasize his own substance. “We’re the ones with the deal.”
From the other side of table, GÃ¼nberk Braun gave the creature a long stare. Braun was as ephemeral as the rabbit, but he projected a dour earnestness that was quite consistent with his real personality. Alfred thought he detected a certain surprised disappointment in the younger man’s expression. In fact, after a moment, GÃ¼nberk sent him a silent message.
Anyway, we’re not quite there yet. But this is very cool, as it allows you to be at two places simultaneously in a relatively natural and mobile way. Eventually two places very far apart. Double by Double Robotics:
Peter Murray on Singularity Hub has more about this.