2012-08-08

Dehumanize me!

An SVG version of Image:Moriuncannyvalley.gif
The usual chart explaining the Uncanny Valley concept. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to a comment thread on this Slashdot post, which I just found yesterday, I don't instinctively act "normal" enough that the average person can accept me as a normal, healthy human being. But I'm too normal to be accepted as anything else. I have Asperger Syndrome (professionally diagnosed), and Slashdot says that puts me in the Uncanny Valley.

(While this hypothesis hasn't been confirmed to my knowledge, it's the only plausible explanation I can find for why Aspies are blind to our own and each other's publicly-perceived weirdness. The Uncanny Valley seems to be a fairly new, but very active, field of research. I'm treating the Uncanny Valley effect as a working hypothesis, while I wait for it to pass the test of science.)

Getting out of it on the human side won't be an option, at least until a way is found to reliably (and therefore without conscious effort) suppress the noticeable effects of Asperger Syndrome. It has to be done without throwing out the baby with the bathwater (apparently AS may be contributing to my talent in computer science). I figure if that's possible at all, it will require AI and/or neuroscience to reach near-Singularity levels.

Plus, staying on the right side of the Valley may prove overly restrictive if I need an extra pair of arms, or if the new chip I want to put in my brain needs a heat sink. A recent nasty incident, involving a camera eye, suggests that being an early-adopter visible cyborg (as I plan to) probably won't help in general.

But there's another option as well: climb out the other side of the Uncanny Valley, and become a cyborg in some non-humanoid form. Instead of rejecting me as an overly abnormal human, people can accept me as something else, and my human side will become a pleasant surprise rather than a let-down. This will probably be technologically feasible by 2030, and I'm already far from alone in wanting a change of body plan. I'd considered the idea before, but only in abstract terms. I'd assumed that looking more or less human for as long as possible would help with social acceptance.

It's a surprisingly Troperiffic conclusion. My​Species​Doth​Protest​Too​Much that I'm a Humanoid​Abomination, because neurotypical people are hard-wired to be Obliviously​Evil Absolute​Xenophobes. Until yesterday, my own Weirdness​Censor kept me so Wrong​Genre​Savvy that I thought I was in A​Form​You​Are​Comfortable​With, and my plans to keep it that way would have been subverted. What​Measure​Is​A​Humanoid? But if I become a One​Winged​Angel, people will realize how much of me has been Human​All​Along, and that's what any Pro​Human​Transhuman would want.

Time to start researching designs for non-human cyborgs, and deciding what I want to be when humanity grows up. Unlike the typical spiritualistic Otherkin, I'm not substrate-chauvinistic enough to believe I have a "true" form. But because I'm not locked into one, I have a wide-open catalog to pick from. Affective psychology class is tough; let's go shopping!
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