RE: Enhanced Senses (Tangent)

O'Regan, Emlyn (
Fri, 21 May 1999 19:35:06 +1000

>This is how I have always imagined it. I would very much like to hear more
>your thinking on this. I have always seen my future nano-self as a vehicle
>fully immersed in an omni-directional, fully synaesthetic continuum. A
>continuum that morphs and changes based on input from any imaginable source
>well as how my internal constructs wish that data to be presented. Imagine
>possibility of having 'sexual' and fully orgasmic experiences while one's
>mini-probes explores the unique topography of a new planet? I can't think of
>better way to discover the unique nuances of a new geology as one would a new
>Paul Hughes

I love the idea of being able to tailor your senses as you see fit in real time. Experiencing the world primarily through tactile senses, or sight, adding "erotic sense" to the way you experience the mundane - Fantastic!

This raises the problem of communication difficulties. This is not a new idea, but one worthy in the context I think. We communicate through a shared view of the universe, common experience - most communication problems seem to stem from different, clashing, incompatible views.

If we are all tailoring our senses independently, choosing our view of reality to match our moods, personalities, utilitarian necessity, or whatever reasons, we will find it very difficult to exchange information and ideas. Say that you are seeing infrared, for example, and someone else is mapping visual range onto their olfactory senses. "That guy looks a bit hot, with some interesting cool patches around the extremities, greens and blues, don't you think so?" "No, I think he's saltier than green, maybe a touch of lime." Or "XDFFrwe eedtfrr fdfsg dcdsfe dees sa #$%" Or ". *FLASH* Remember!"

Imagine if you have restructured the very way your brain works, and others have done the same, although in different ways. You start becoming a whole culture in yourself, with cultural incompatibilities between each individual. This is already true, but not entirely debilitating socially. You would even be having communication problems with your past self, your own memories. If they have come through a set of sensory filters which have changed radically over time, and have been processed by differing processing structures, running at differing speeds, and with varying internal organisation, what could you make of your past?

This topic has been covered with respect to Transhuman<->human communication (something about humans and ants), but what about Transhuman<->Transhuman.

Eliezer said
According to these assumptions, far from being mutually telepathic, the future may be filled with individuals far more alone than we ever were.

This was on the topic of JBs, but I think it will apply far sooner. From reading Steve Mann's piece on this list recently, I think he feels the effects of communication difficulties because of his different view of reality (although that said, his piece communicated his world eloquently, and effected me strongly).

I was going to assume that most of you would regard human language as far too crude for post-singularity entities. I'm learning not to assume anything on this list. But language is something which binds our varied personalities, helps our island sanctuaries of self to connect up, by providing a common ground for communication. Still, it relies heavily on shared experience for understanding, and the communication seems to be to a large part illusory, with each party thinking they have communicated, when in fact neither understands the other (although we don't get any of that on THIS list, do we).

Of course we are all already quite different, and we already have communication difficulties (!). I wonder how this will progress.

What kinds of answers are there to these problems?

When we say Human, we can get a fuzzy but useful concept of what that means. But when we say Transhuman, all bets are off. As a grouping noun, it is about as useful as words like "natural" and "organic" when used to describe the elements it groups.

There's a real weird world coming, and I can barely wait!