How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick's Robotic Resurrection

20 Dec

How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick's Robotic Resurrection

How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick's Robotic Resurrection

David F. Dufty

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0805095519

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The stranger-than-fiction story of the ingenious creation and loss of an artificially intelligent android of science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick

In late January 2006, a young robotocist on the way to Google headquarters lost an overnight bag on a flight somewhere between Dallas and Las Vegas. In it was a fully functional head of the android replica of Philip K. Dick, cult science-fiction writer and counterculture guru. It has never been recovered.

In a story that echoes some of the most paranoid fantasies of a Dick novel, readers get a fascinating inside look at the scientists and technology that made this amazing android possible. The author, who was a fellow researcher at the University of Memphis Institute of Intelligent Systems while the android was being built, introduces readers to the cutting-edge technology in robotics, artificial intelligence, and sculpture that came together in this remarkable machine and captured the imagination of scientists, artists, and science-fiction fans alike. And there are great stories about Dick himself―his inspired yet deeply pessimistic worldview, his bizarre lifestyle, and his enduring creative legacy. In the tradition of popular science classics like Packing for Mars and The Disappearing Spoon, How to Build an Android is entertaining and informative―popular science at its best.



















dressing it up in such artificial flesh.” Hanson was a huge admirer of Turing but thought he was wrong on this point. Surely part of being human is the feel of your skin, the twinkle of your eye? Could it ever merely boil down to being able to add large numbers together or come up with a winning chess move? Such clever responses might be all that was needed for a wonk who spent his life in secret military labs and dusty university offices, but Hanson didn’t think that was a realistic test of

detailed preparations, O’Nele realized that the cost would be much higher than he had initially thought. For one thing, the room would have to be installed in Chicago, and even though it would be there for less than a week, it would have to comply with Chicago City Council building and fire regulations. Chicago fire regulations were strict and specific. Because electrical equipment was going to be used, the room would need to have professionally wired power sockets in the walls. A hole in the

(in a Disney style). He asked student volunteers to rate the attractiveness of the faces. If there was such a thing as the Uncanny Valley, the attractiveness curve should be U-shaped. Attractiveness should drop as the face in the pictures became less like the original portrait and then rise as the face became more cartoonlike. There was no U. As experiments go, it was rudimentary, but it was something. It was the first attempt, as far as he could tell, at trying to figure out whether Mori was

him. Unfortunately for Spartacus, his builders had not anticipated some of the problems he would encounter navigating around the conference. Registering proved a challenge, as he arrived when people were setting up tables in the reception area and he had to weave around them. His wheels, perfect for hard surfaces, were unsuited to the Westin’s plush carpet, and he rolled slowly and uncertainly toward the registration desk. His team of engineers and builders followed his moves like parents at a

into a taxi at the Westin Convention Center in Pittsburgh. There were three legs to his trip but, even so, he was confident he could make it. But by the time he touched down at the San Diego airport, he was two hours behind schedule. Although his panel session had not yet started, he worried that he was not going to arrive on time. He called Tommy Pallotta, the producer of the film, to inform him of the delay and tell him not to worry. He was in a cab with the android and on his way to the

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