Neandertal died out some 30,000 years ago, leaving as the only representative of the Homo genre, the Sapiens, that is to say: Us!
If it is not difficult to conceive the joint existence of several kinds of equids, donkeys, zebras, horses, or canids, however, our self-centered mind struggles to get used to the idea that the genus from which we come was diversified and that other beings, like us but of another species, shared this earth with us.
That was the past.
For the future, we have imagined a lot of possibilities to produce ourselves, without reproducing ourselves; our fertile brains have indeed generated all sorts of replicas of us, more or less similar.
From C3PO to the Terminator, the cinema has echoed very powerful robots with a rather ungraceful appearance, most often characterized by a very human manicheism. However, the situation has improved considerably with the emergence of more modern androids, such as in Westworld or Ex machina, or with the handsome Jude Law in AI.
But what is the origin of this urge to create robots when there are millions of us looking for work?
The most basic answer is that we want to do certain tasks better and faster. Basically, when humans invented the plow, it was to dig furrows better and faster, so there is nothing new here; only the plow did not have two eyes and ears. So what is it about owning a machine that looks like ourselves that fascinates us?
Dare we say that it satisfies a more primal and less avowed instinct which is that of being able to command another being without being labeled a slaver? The irony of this is that the commonly accepted fantasy about robots and artificial intelligence is that of seeing them take over from humans, which means that bad intentions are like money: To lend it, you have to have it!
However, our boiling neurons can only conceptualise robots in our physical world. Even if the brain of these machines is endowed with an artificial intelligence, evolving and learning by itself, it is necessary, pragmatically, that at some point someone screws something.
But that was then, because even before we have succeeded in creating robots that we could confuse with real humans, here come the Metahumans.
These beings are only virtual. Their appearance is up to you and as they don't have the constraints of physical life, they look like you, me, your neighbor.
And the uses are infinite and breathtaking.
No more characters in a movie that don't match the mental image you had of them when you read the novel. Moreover, why pay actors millions to act, when you can, without casting, directly manufacture the character?
Your chatbots will finally correspond to an embodied after-sales service just for you and Hallelujah, no more need to be on time for your Zoom meetings, just send your double.
The revolution is that soon we will all be able to generate offspring according to our desires thanks to Unreal Engine, and frankly I'm looking forward to trying, even if I'm also looking forward to seeing real humans on stage, since we are still far from the physical robot. The virtual trend, I'm convinced, will take over, satisfying our primary needs, leaving the physical field to objects that look like objects, which these robots are after all.