The Artificial Tongue and Dr. Strangelove

The famous tongue image

He didn't need an artificial tongue, why do you? (Image via Wikipedia)

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

Early robots from back in the 60s had self control problems and touched women inappropiately

Robots were very advanced, but really didnt treat women all that well.

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.”

Much better. Maybe having an opaque head is better.

Much better. Maybe having an opaque head is better. (image via

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.


30 Comments on “The Artificial Tongue and Dr. Strangelove”

  1. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    It would bring about an entirely new meaning to the term, “a tongue lashing.” And it scares me to imagine that scene. It’s bad enough when I begin to babble on with the tongue I do have — trying to control an artificial tongue would be an all consuming effort. If the artificial tongue shorts out, what then, too? Does it retract back toward the uvula or does it loll about in clear view of the world? But, I guess, since smokeless tobacco causes oral cancers, often requiring removal of the tongue, perhaps this new artificial organ might be important. I’d rather see the banning of smokeless, though.

  2. We found him Captain!! says:

    Perhaps you are still too young to see the commercial advantage to the development of the artificial tongue. Consider this, There are 255 ice cream brands manufactured in the USA alone. The average ice cream company has 12 people in each plant doing research and ice cream tasting.

    A row of 12 manufactured tongues hooked up to a research computer in each plant could be used to do all the testing and new flavor ice cream tasting. They would give pure unbiased opinions, such as ” Wow! this really good! Or be programmed to say ” Go out into the plant and find the #%!+ that made this and FIRE HIS ASS!”. Within 6 months the price of an ice cream cone would be back down to 10 cents. All this because of the savings created by the development of the ice cream tongue.

  3. planetross says:

    At one time I would have liked a Gene Simmons artificial tongue type thing: it would have been cool! … until maybe I was 16 or so, then it would be like a Fantasy Island “Tattoo” tattoo on my arm probably.

    note: there are artificial sweetners, but are there any artificial saltners, bitterners, sourers, or umaniners?

  4. Laura says:

    Wait — if robots won’t get artificial tongues, what kind of tongues will they get? Black-market human tongues? Is that why so many people will need replacement tongues? Also, did you know that “tongue” is one of those words that always looks misspelled to me, especially when I type it five times in one paragraph?

    Great picture selection — and I think the new theme makes the pictures stand out even more, somehow.

    • omawarisan says:

      Good point. If Artificial people wont have artificial tongues, then only artificial people will have real tongues, or something.

      Thank you, I think this theme shows the pictures and captions better.

  5. jacquelincangro says:

    This is something your new administration should tackle head on. Right after no more homework but before a longer recess.

    The new site design is snazzy.

  6. Spectra says:

    Will there be speed settings on these newfangled tongues? Such as “lolling”, “Slurred” “Flicker” and “Lightning”? And don’t forget the “Hold”.

    Now this brings up an even more savory idea…a remote control for the tongue. Imagine being able to “mute” a whining teenager, screaming kids (although I do believe you can still scream sans the tongue -QUICK- everybody practice RIGHT NOW- see if it’s possible) Not to mention the benefits of turning the power off on a complaining or nagging spouse once in a while.

    Then there are the supervisors and bosses who could stand a ‘shut off’ button. Or, alternately, chatterly employees who gossip & ail all day instead of getting more work done. The crazy guy at the bus stop who manages strings of obsenities without clearly identifying his target audience. The Mother-In-Law; an upgrade, extended warranty required.

    These are just a few humble ideas, Oma. Thanks for the forewarning.

    • omawarisan says:

      I like the shut off button idea. I had a boss that just kept leaking stupid from his mouth. I’d probably still be in that gig if I could have shut him down.

  7. Would chefs have artificial tongues strapped to their aprons? Would they come in different styles, like the “Linda Lovelace?”

  8. spencercourt says:

    Just when I thought all was lost, there is ONE comment of a sexual nature. The fact is, almost all new technology has been put to use for sexual purposes. An artificial tongue can have such a use, particularly if it never tires….;)

  9. thejaggedman says:

    There is a one problem already that I can see: New hardware same old software. Maybe the can have a default program in the tongue it’s self that will be keeps us from saying something rude.Or maybe they can make shoe leather taste good since I have my foot in my mouth more than not.Oh, better yet make Sweetlard taste like real chocolate! Enjoyed it and the new theme!

  10. jaerae1971 says:

    My first thought on this was ‘no more tongues stuck to metal in the winter’, I don’t know how I feel about that.

  11. Does this mean robots are going to be taking our food-tasting jobs as well?

  12. madtante says:

    As I loaded this post, Strangelove by Depeche Mode popped up. Cool.

    My tongue gets away from me all too often. It’s never in a good way.

  13. I don’t think I want an artificial tongue…the one I have has been very reliable so far.


  14. Tongue cleaning would be a hell of a lot easier

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