The Chronicle of Higher Education has a short piece on my recent doppelbot experience (my own posts can be found here and here). It does a good job of covering the event and my first reactions.
The author, Lawrence Biemiller, also notes two benefits to doppelbotting that I didn’t address.
First, about the American travel experience:
[H]e didn’t have to pack so much as a toothbrush, much less subject himself to airport security or airline surcharges…
This is important for travelers in the US, as our flying tends to be awkward if not heinous.
Air travel’s glamour belongs to the far-off mid-20th-century, and its efficiencies do not often pan out. (I may write about my recent and comparatively utopian Amtrak experience)
Second, on the cost factor:
Has your budget for attending conferences been slashed again? Here’s an idea: Send a remote-controlled robot instead.
This makes all kinds of sense, especially as the technology improves, as using the Web or mobile app interface costs nothing, beyond already purchased hardware and bandwidth.
Now, the doppelbots are quite expensive, so perhaps we’ll see conference venues or organizers providing one or several as a service.
Alastair Reynolds writes about something like this in his recent sf novel Blue Remembered Earth (2012). In the future many homes and public facilities provide “claybots”, doppelbots for people to dial into. Now, it’s the future, so these devices are fully featured androids. But a) it’s the future, and b) perhaps we’re headed that way.
(link via Terri Johnson on Twitter; image on Goodreads)
What a grand adventure! So glad I was able to enjoy you “in-person” in California, but glad you were able to attend ELI this way.
Experiencing your campus in person was excellent, Crista.
Let’s see what new options the doppelbots provide.
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