“Imagine having a discussion with Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein on the nature of the universe, where their 3-D, life-sized representations looked you in the eye, examined your body language, considered voice nuances and phraseology of your questions, then answered you in a way that is so real you would swear the images were alive.”

– UIC News Release

UIC – my Alma Mater – is involved in some interesting research. The concept of having an artificial intelligence that can interact with a person is at least decades old. To some degree, it is the reprise of the sci-fi robot theme. Isaac Asimov’s enjoyable Robot Novels, for example, had scenarios involving robots that acted and functioned as if human.

I wonder what it would be like to actually live in such a world. Will there be a time when a person doesn’t know if the other side of a conversation is being held by a human or some technological analog? Would it matter?

Clearly, it would. Note how infuriating it is to someone when the person they have been dating online just happens to be of the un-assumed sex. How angry would a person be when discovering his or her latest love interest is composed of well arranged 0s and 1s?

I don’t know how accurate the specifics of the Warcraft article are, but the concept itself rings quite true. Love and deception are age-old aspects of humanity. Here, it has emerged in technology. In fact, all aspects of our humanity seem to follow the things we see and touch.

I’ve always felt that one strong marker separating good science fiction from bad is by writer’s focus on life and humanity. Technology, alien races, and the like only provide the backdrop of certain characteristics of ourselves that would not be as well lit elsewhere. Blade Runner, for instance, by way of “replicants,” questions even the understanding of the self.

The UIC article quoted above is hardly unique in toting the benefits and wonders of technology. But, we still need to remember that we always bring ourselves wherever we happen to travel.