Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bush robots

I've just finished reading Paul McAuley's In the Mouth of the Whale. In it, McAuley introduces the idea of the bush robot, a self-replicating structure that allows the translation of a human brain to a simulation: the bush robot enters the brain and grows like a bush, processing each neuron in turn. Apparently, they're sourced from Hans Moravec's epiphanic writings: they are the things that allow us to upload ourselves and live forever.


When he first uses it the meaning isn't made explicitly clear and I didn't know the Moravec connection. The line is something like "his brain was gone, a bush robot had been used for interrogation." This made me think that a bush robot was some kind of semi-feral machine, plucked from the outback for use as a weapon of intimidation. I imagined bush robots to be hardy, ruggedised things; a bit dieselpunk, dusty.

So the name of this blog is 'bush robot' with the 'bush' meaning outback, wild, semi-domesticated. Not a herbaceous border.

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