The Artificial Tongue and Dr. StrangelovePosted: April 22, 2011
It has been reported that a man made device has been developed that can “taste” the level of sweetness in food. One of the things the developers of this wonder are touting it as is an early step toward the development of a fully artificial tongue.
The artificial tongue idea has me thinking in so many directions. I am, of course, very concerned.
As I run down the list of things that seem to go bad on our bodies, it does not seem that the tongue is high on that list. Now that I am older, I know lots of people who can’t walk, can’t lift, can’t bend like they used to. I don’t know anyone who is holding out for a tongue transplant.
The Tongue Can Be Unstoppable
No one I know says to me, “you know, I just don’t taste things like I used to.” I’ve never seen someone try to lick an ice cream cone, but miss and fall to the ground clutching their mouth. I’d pay to see some talking head on a political show have their tongue seize up on them in mid screed, but as yet, no luck.
So the tongue appears to be a fairly reliable part of our bodies. I’ll even go so far as to say that on a few occasions, mine has been far too reliable. Perhaps if I’d had a tongue ligament go bad at a few key moments, I’d have not said some things to people I shouldn’t have said them to. The tongue is unstoppable, so I’m not really sure what we’ll do with fully artificial ones once they are perfected.
The Artificial Tongue Appears Inevitable
I know the artificial tongue is coming. I am very much concerned by this. We all know that new technology comes with a period of trial and error.
On the left is an example of an early robot. While the robot had clearly useful features, like a transparent head, there was a lot of issues with it making lewd remarks toward women. Also, as you can see, the robot was what you might call a bit “handsy.”
Actually, I’m not sure of the benefits of a transparent head either.
At right, you can see that, as time went by, the robot was improved. The transparent head was phased out. Robots began treating women respectfully, as they deserve to be.
The History On This Is Not Good
But robots are just an example of pure technology. When artificial tongues are installed, they won’t be in robots, they will be in people. Mixing man and machine is a dangerous thing.
Consider the 1964 film Dr. Strangelove as an example. In one of the final scenes, Dr. Strangelove, played by Peter Sellers, begins having trouble with his artificial right arm. The arm seems to take on a life of its own, first moving his wheelchair around where he doesn’t want to go. Eventually his arm attacks him.
What implication does this have for the artificial tongue? I don’t know. I do know that the list of people who I have no issues being around if they were to lose control of their artificial tongue is infinitesimally small.
I ask you, my friends, to rise up now against the artificial tongue. No good can come from this development.
- Artificial chameleon tongue has bug-catching licked (newscientist.com)