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What the world will look like in 2025


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#1
star0

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I haven't done any (major) future forecasting in a while, so thought I would do it again. Some of the themes in the text below overlap with ones I've written about before; and here I will try to integrate the technologies into a complete vision. Bear in mind that I haven't thought this through very carefully; if I were forecasting for a firm (if I weren't a researcher), I would spend a lot more effort thinking about plausibility -- what I'm about to write is only "for fun":

A typical day for a yuppie

You awake to music; your spouse lying next to you can't hear it from the other side of the bed, so stays asleep. Your home computer network knows that you have some important meetings in the morning; and so decided to wake you a little early (you agreed to this yesterday). Quietly, so as not to wake your spouse, you walk to the bathroom to brush your teeth and to shower.

Once inside, you close the door, and then a disembodied voice says, "Would you like to hear the news?" (the computer knew to wait until you were in the bathroom, so as not to wake your spouse) After agreeing, the voice comes back with a summary -- generated completely automatically from various sources -- of the major stories of the day. One item is about massive riots in Los Angeles over technological unemployment (total unemployment is now at about 20% -- "real unemployment" is even higher); 10 people were killed in confrontations with police.

The voice returns, "Would you like me to make some breakfast?" You agree; and, just then, a kitchen robot starts to put on the coffee; opens the refrigerator to retrieve some ingredients; and by the time you finish brushing and showering, a full breakfast has been prepared, and carefully laid out on the kitchen table -- veggie-eggs, toast, soysage, coffee, orange juice and water.

You sit down to eat breakfast, and as you do so, you put on a pair of what look to be "Rock Star" glasses (like the Emporio Armani glasses that Bono of U2 wears); they are, in fact, augmented reality glasses with advanced light field technology, to produce images in your field of view that look virtually indistinguishable from real, solid objects. You see, in front of you, your female avatar virtual personal agent, named Viv -- the formerly disembodied voice now has a body.

Viv says to you, "It looks like you are out of veggie-eggs. Would you like me to order some for you?" You agree, and then she contacts Amazon to send you the item. Before you say goodbye to your spouse, who is now up and about, and before you walk out the door -- 20 minutes all told since the order was placed to Amazon -- Viv tells you that a drone has just delivered the package to your front door. On your way out, you pick it up and then hand it to the kitchen robot, which then puts it away in the refrigerator.

You hop in your driverless car (you are one of the lucky few to own one in your neighborhood), which already knows to take you to your job; it drives you there flawlessly. You get out, and your car parks itself.

All during your day -- the meetings and other work -- you wear a tiny peel-off circular stamp (costs a dime for each) on the lapel of your coat. Small it may be, but it contains an ultra high-resolution webcam and sound recording system, that streams your day to DropCam for later analysis, in case you take off your glasses (which can stream and store the contents of your day).

As you read over some reports, the numbers you see don't look right, so you ask Viv, "Do these numbers look right to you?" She understands you are talking about the document in front of you, and that you want to know how plausible the numerical estimates are. Using machine reading algorithms she converts the document into a formal representation; and then looks for inconsistencies between the data and her vast knowledge graph and data supplied by various services she is connected to. A fraction of a second later she returns, "The average housing prices are at the lower range of the estimates I have been able to find." You say, "Show me those estimates." Ten glowing document icons pop into your field of view, each with a short description of the contents (e.g. "NYT estimates"). You quickly point at the first one, and it opens to the size of a computer screen, floating in mid-air, and shows you the first source. After reading Viv's research, you come to the conclusion that the original numbers were probably fine.

The rest of the day amounts to basically oking the work of various computer algorithms. You start to wonder how long the world can go on the way it has -- "How long until they notice that I'm not really needed anymore, that the computers are more accurate at my job than I'll ever be?"

Changes to the landscape

Malls were dying even before 2020; and, now, many of the major discount malls are gone, erased from existence -- it's simply cheaper to order online and have it delivered by drone. And if you want to see what the product is actually like, AR glasses and texture synthesis can give you all information you need. One unexpected outcome of this is that people don't make sizing errors with clothing anymore; so, a lot fewer returns are needed.

Well, people don't just go to malls for the deals. Some just like being around other people, and like the simple act of pulling and moving clothes and other items -- foraging behavior. For these people -- and there are many -- there are upscale malls, and small boutique shops; but these don't consume nearly as much land space as the big stores of decades passed.

....

Building robots are creeping in to construction crew work. Most of the job still can't be fully automated; but robots can now carry beams, bolts, nails, tools, and other things to the places on a building site where they are needed, and they can follow orders from crew along the lines of, "Bolt this I-beam to that joint over there." It's beginning to look like any day now (or maybe a few years) robots will be able to build entire buildings, 100% autonomously.

....

Poor people are starting to move away from major cities, as more and more services are no longer needed, and as housing prices are cheaper away from major metropolitan areas. These days, basic medical conditions can be quickly and easily diagnosed by medical assistant AI's; and new laws enable them to write prescriptions for basic medicines, like antibiotics and painkillers. And, as far as access to culture, the Metaverse is easy to access from AR/VR glasses; and the price of access (and the glasses) is affordable to all but the most destitute. What jobs are left can either be performed remotely, or through telepresence.

....

Litterbots patrol some of the major streets, looking for and picking up trash. The streets have never looked so clean!

Cameras are everywhere; though, by law, they can't be concealed.

Since about 2020, computers have been able to accurately summarize the contents of video -- "understand" what they are seeing, in a sense -- and that has meant that it has become harder and harder for criminals to hide. Muggers know better than to rob people in major cities, as their actions would be identified in a fraction of a second.

But what's to steal, anyways? The glasses will only work for their user; fewer and fewer people carry cash or credit or debit cards anymore (payments can be done instantly online -- and if you lose your glasses, the stores can easily recognize you with facial and biometric identification, if you have your account set up properly); driver's licenses and other IDs are not needed.

....

Roads and bridges look well-maintained, following a massive infrastructure spending bill (which really was a "jobs bill").

Large swaths of farmland are completely uninhabited. Where before, 10 years ago, migrant workers would pick fruits and vegetables starting at the break of dawn; now some of these farms employ robots to do almost everything -- from planting to delivery; some farms even use robots to load fruits and vegetables onto driverless trucks, that then ship them to distribution centers.

A curious side-effect of the farm automation is that fewer and fewer GMO crops are needed, as an army of robots can quickly and cheaply remove weeds and kill insects (a quadcopter flies overhead and zaps insects with a laser).

To be continued...
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#2
Zeitgeist123

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love the idea except those robots killing insects.

 

you know a little exposure of plants to harmful pests is actually more beneficial to them as it makes them a hardy and nutritious crop/vegetables vs plants that were not exposed to the elements they are designed to withstand in the furst place. also, not all insects are harmful to plants. bees and spiders are beneficial to the ecosystem.


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#3
Frizz

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#4
star0

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Some research related to the above:

Regarding shopping malls, see this:

http://www.businessi...n-crisis-2015-1
 

The firm (Green Street Advisors) predicted last year that about 15% of US malls would fail or be converted into nonretail space within the next 10 years... Retail consultant Howard Davidowitz expects as many as half of America's 1,200 shopping malls to fail within 15 to 20 years. He predicts that only upscale shopping centers with anchors like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus will survive.


Regarding Amazon's plan to deliver by drone, see their Prime Air campaign:

http://www.amazon.co...node=8037720011
 

We're excited about Prime Air — a future delivery system from Amazon designed to safely get packages into customers' hands in 30 minutes or less using small unmanned aerial vehicles.


There is some debate about how it will work. Colin Lewis, for example, has written about how drone delivery could be operated remotely by an Amazon "pilot". But Amazon's true goal appears to be to make it 100% autonomous. Possible? There are doubters; but Technology Review consulted some experts, and they said that it was, in fact, possible (near term):

http://www.technolog...amazons-drones/
 

“Technically it is totally feasible,” says R. John Hansman, a professor of aeronautics at MIT. “The key issues will be if the [Federal Aviation Administration] allows this kind of operation—they should—and if the business case makes sense.”

For home delivery to work safely and ubiquitously, it would mean avoiding every power line on a suburban street, deciphering satellite maps to decide what precise spot on a property to land, and making sure a drone didn’t hit an errant child or dog. Hansman called those challenges “not insurmountable.”


Amazon is, apparently, about to test their drone delivery in Canada and the U.K.

Regarding driverless cars: there is no shortage of nay-sayers. Here is a very skeptical take from an expert (he thinks they are at least 50 years away, at a minimum):



On the other hand, Google's Chris Urmson, Sebastian Thrun, Andrew Ng, Yann Lecun, and others are more optimistic. urmson thinks that all the major problems (including "long tail" events) will be ironed out in the next 5 years. See, for example:

http://www.nature.co...equired-1.16832
 

A tougher problem, says Thrun, is teaching the car how to respond to what he calls “the long tail of unlikely events”. Early on, he says, the Google team developed algorithms for handling frequent, obvious challenges such as intersections or rain-slicked roadways. But as the cars drove for thousands of kilometres, they recorded oddball events such as a plastic bag blowing across the motorway or a couch sitting in the middle of the road. “There were many more of those than we believed in the beginning,” says Thrun. The only way to handle such rare events has been to record them as they arise, devise responses with the help of high-powered machine-learning algorithms — and then test those solutions with simulations and yet more driving.

“If we do it long enough,” says Thrun, “the hope is that the software will be as safe as a human driver” — and eventually much safer. How long that will take remains an open question. Google has publicly estimated about five years — but the company is currently not granting interviews about its project.


Also see what progress Deep Learning has enabled in locating lanes (even without pre-mapping and without proper lane markers, on rain-covered and snowy roads, with streaks, shadows, and at night; the system uses global context to find lanes), identifying and reading road signs and stoplights, picking out pedestrians (even when they are occulded and hiding behind cars and other objects):




Concerning the A.I. system Viv: 10 years is a looong time! And the progress already made is astounding, if you haven't bothered to research machine reading, question-answering, and spoken dialogue systems before. The Viv in this story refers specifically to this system:

http://www.wired.com/2014/08/viv/

http://techcrunch.co...n-teach-itself/

http://www.chicagotr...ory.html#page=1

But there are dozens more systems, using a variety of independent methods. Some use Deep Learning; some use Program Synthesis; some use logic-based reasoning.


Concerning the light-field glasses: there are several research groups pursuing this, one being Magic Leap. Then there is also this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deI1IzbveEQ

The technology already exists, and is easy to mass-produce. Give it (and other light-field display technology) a few more years of engineering work, and the final product will be light and elegant.


Concerning farm-bots and automation of agriculture: there are already several projects ongoing; though they have been for years. Possibly what would make it work a lot better is better computer vision; which, conveniently, is improving very rapidly (in case you hadn't noticed).

Here are some examples of farmbots today:

http://ticker.baruch...ase-food-yield/

CMU has a program that goes back several years; here is some of the more recent stuff:

http://www.cmu.edu/n...itfarming.shtml

CMU, in fact, had a project that, as I recall, showed how farms of the future could be 100% automated. These wouldn't be "mom and pop" organic farms; they would be farms owned and processed by large corporations who find it cheaper to use robots than people.

Building construction-assistant bots: these actually exist today; but they aren't humanoid robots that walk around. They are robots for doing things like laying down bricks and cinder blocks. Once robots are able to nimbly walk through complex debris (as the recent DARPA Challenge seeks to do) to hand you a hammer or other tool, then we will likely see much wider adoption. A vision for what might be possible before 2020 is demoed in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubgLpM6KjcE

Robots following orders and commands: there's tons of research on this. One example is the work on using "grounding graphs" -- see this paper:

http://cs.brown.edu/...rs/kollar13.pdf

And then look at the examples in the paper of just what the robot can do.

You might remember the work a year or two back about robots asking for help and also assembling IKEA furniture -- that research was carried out by some of the sample people:

http://people.csail..../www/?q=node/16
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#5
PrimordialBeing

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I think that all of the story is absolutely possible by 2025, and possibly even a little bit before that again.
With regards to that automated farm you mentioned, I recall reading that it kills the insects with a laser (the quadcopter that is). You later said that there have been huge strides in machine learning and computer vision, which there indeed have been.

This is why I think there will be a difference with what you described above. Rather than the quadcopter shooting down all insects left, right and centre, that it will instead be able to recognise that some insects are beneficial and others are harmful. It might even leave a few harmful ones there to make sure the plants' immune systems wouldn't be weakened too much.
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#6
MissKaioshin

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Yeah I don't see most of this happening in just 10 years. I think in 10 years, VR will still be a tiny niche thing, cars will have only limited self-driving ability (such as on highways or parking), and Siri-like digital assistants will be a little better than today. That's probably it. 


You know what Ol' MissKaioshin says at a time like this? At times like this, MissKaioshin just says..."Whatevs"


#7
meraxes

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Yeah I don't see most of this happening in just 10 years. I think in 10 years, VR will still be a tiny niche thing, cars will have only limited self-driving ability (such as on highways or parking), and Siri-like digital assistants will be a little better than today. That's probably it. 

 

Can you back this up? The biggest companies are working on all of these fronts, claiming that there will be just little progress is lunacy. You are grossly underestimating the power of money, big data and thousands of human minds.



#8
Ru1138

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Way too much forward for 2025. The general public grossly underestimate the rate of change, but you have, unfortunately, overestimated it.

 

I don't think the general public will have stuff like that by 2025. But like Bill Gates' home other tech giants might have access to them.


What difference does it make?


#9
hiraeth

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Way too much forward for 2025. The general public grossly underestimate the rate of change, but you have, unfortunately, overestimated it.

 

I don't think the general public will have stuff like that by 2025. But like Bill Gates' home other tech giants might have access to them.

 

Well, he did say this was a yuppie and not an average person. 


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#10
sasuke2490

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I see pace in ai and machine learning. Solar power will continue to drop in price and grow exponentially although oil companies will continue to bash and stop it, this will not be possible due to grid parity being achieved in many areas around the world and incentives in underdeveloped nations. Eventually though they will buy up those companies and shift over to renewable management as well as being able to utilize and manage that energy via a smart-grid in order to stay involved. Violence will go down as people start focusing on growing economically mostly with india, china, and Africa growing it's energy production lines. 

Continued growth in computing power grows exponentially we now have exascale supercomputers and terabyte hardrives are common in ssd with hdd becoming obsolete. Memristors make their debut and help push ai research along and mobile phones become more flexible.

http://www.captec-gr...g-technologies/

 

self driving cars used in businesses on a small scale for increased automation, possible specialized lanes if businesses can push it forward. 


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#11
RickyMcMoney

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Ballsy, but your scenario is not outrageous.

 

But I will never have a bunch of devices talking to me in the morning. Nooooo thanks.



#12
blake

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Quote: "Once inside, you close the door, and then a disembodied voice says, "Would you like to hear the news?" (the computer knew to wait until you were in the bathroom, so as not to wake your spouse) After agreeing, the voice comes back with a summary -- generated completely automatically from various sources -- of the major stories of the day. "

 

In the future, people will be more intelligent, their I.Q.'s will go from 98 to 600. Anyone that smart would know the value of time and yes they will hear an automated version of news that is important to them, like the earnings of their stocks, economic news, new technologies news concerning products, news about the latest female sex android, the weather report, and any disaster affecting them. The machine will give them headlines in a listed, order of the person's personal preference of importance, then if the person wants details, he or she will ask for details. The details will be basic and if the person request more details or asks a specific question the machine will give the answer and the reason for all these detailed procedures will be due to the fact that time is expensive. 

 

YES, IT'S TRUE THAT AI's WILL DO EVERYTHING EVEN HELP PEOPLE TO GENETICALLY ENGINEER THEIR CHILDREN TO AN OUTSTANDING IQ LEVEL OF 4.2 MILLION, AFTER THAT THERE IS NO POINT IN LISTENING TO NEWS OR EATING A BAGEL IN THE MORNING, PEOPLE WILL FLOAT THROUGH TIME THINKING ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT IS UNDISCOVERED IN PHYSICS, IN THE UNIVERSE, AND THEY WILL SEARCH FOR KNOWLEDGE OF THOSE WHO CREATED US AND THIS UNIVERSE. 

 

http://www.thespoof....state-law-books



#13
blake

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Ballsy, but your scenario is not outrageous.

 

But I will never have a bunch of devices talking to me in the morning. Nooooo thanks.

 

That's the magic of the future, you will have a choice in what you desire, so the AI machine can think for you by having your favorite breakfast ready and handling your financial affairs  based on what news it hears so you don't have to be bothered with anything. The only thing you will demand to know is what type of female sex android was scheduled for you after breakfast. lol



#14
a1b3c6

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I went through and discussed a few counterpoints to some of your...scenarios? Anyway, I know you said it was just for fun, but thinking about how different things could/couldn't work is fun to me.

A typical day for a yuppie


Once inside, you close the door, and then a disembodied voice says, "Would you like to hear the news?" (the computer knew to wait until you were in the bathroom, so as not to wake your spouse) After agreeing, the voice comes back with a summary -- generated completely automatically from various sources -- of the major stories of the day. One item is about massive riots in Los Angeles over technological unemployment.

So, the talking computer thing is something I don't see happening for most people. People are much more comfortable with simple text/vibration/ringing systems. They feel much less awkward and intrusive than some disembodied "virtual assistant."

And by the time unemployment hits 20%, there won't just be riots in LA. There will be global-economy crushing panics.


All during your day -- the meetings and other work -- you wear a tiny peel-off circular stamp (costs a dime for each) on the lapel of your coat. Small it may be, but it contains an ultra high-resolution webcam and sound recording system, that streams your day to DropCam for later analysis, in case you take off your glasses (which can stream and store the contents of your day).

No offense, but nope. Computers could likely be made that small and thin by 2025, but not with the power needed for hi-res video and sound capture. The glasses are mostly possible now though, minus the webcam thing.

As you read over some reports, the numbers you see don't look right, so you ask Viv, "Do these numbers look right to you?" She understands you are talking about the document in front of you, and that you want to know how plausible the numerical estimates are.

This doesn't sound plausible, given the progress in AI from the past 10 years to present.


Changes to the landscape

Malls were dying even before 2020; and, now, many of the major discount malls are gone, erased from existence

Malls might disappear, but brick-and-mortar won't be going nearly that fast.

Well, people don't just go to malls for the deals. Some just like being around other people, and like the simple act of pulling and moving clothes and other items -- foraging behavior. For these people -- and there are many -- there are upscale malls, and small boutique shops; but these don't consume nearly as much land space as the big stores of decades passed.

There will still be "big stores", I promise you. Economies and cultures change at 1/2 the speed of technology.

....

Building robots are creeping in to construction crew work. ..they can follow orders from crew along the lines of, "Bolt this I-beam to that joint over there."

Again, AI is likely not going to be that far along in 10 years.

....
These days, basic medical conditions can be quickly and easily diagnosed by medical assistant AI's; and new laws enable them to write prescriptions for basic medicines, like antibiotics and painkillers.

LOL GOD NO. Machines wouldn't be trusted to write prescriptions even if they became self-aware tomorrow.

What jobs are left can either be performed remotely, or through telepresence.

You're forgetting skilled services such as nursing/doctors, police, lawyers, etc, who people will want to physically be there for hopefully obvious reasons.

.....

Since about 2020, computers have been able to accurately summarize the contents of video -- "understand" what they are seeing, in a sense -- and that has meant that it has become harder and harder for criminals to hide. Muggers know better than to rob people in major cities, as their actions would be identified in a fraction of a second.

I'm kinda split here. They won't "understand" it like we do, but fed a pattern of pixels to search for, they could likely find similar patterns in separate videos.

But what's to steal, anyways? The glasses will only work for their user; fewer and fewer people carry cash or credit or debit cards anymore (payments can be done instantly online -- and if you lose your glasses, the stores can easily recognize you with facial and biometric identification, if you have your account set up properly); driver's licenses and other IDs are not needed.

It'll take a few decades for this to kind-of happen. Again, societies/cultures transition slowly over to new technologies.

....

Roads and bridges look well-maintained, following a massive infrastructure spending bill (which really was a "jobs bill").

I hope to see something like this, but politicians can be retarded sometimes...or all-times.

A curious side-effect of the farm automation is that fewer and fewer GMO crops are needed, as an army of robots can quickly and cheaply remove weeds and kill insects (a quadcopter flies overhead and zaps insects with a laser).

GMOs will probably be cheaper to deploy than a small army of drones. I'm not into agriculture so I can't say anything for certain here, though.



#15
GenX

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I'm going to say that by 2025, the biggest change will be the number of delivery drones everywhere.  Assuming they don't get outlawed, everyone from Amazon to Dominos will be using them to deliver items to people's homes.  You also might see everyone wearing glasses, which have AR but they look like normal glasses (maybe with transition lenses so they can wear them inside).  Self Driving cars will be getting more and more common, but would still be less than half the market (consider that the Prius has been around for 15 years now and yet fully electric cars are probably only around 5% of the market right now).  3-D printing will be common in businesses, and consumers will go places like Staples in order to pick up customized 3-D printed items, but I don't think home 3-D printers will be that common.  VR will probably be as common as an Xbox or Play Station.  Smartphones will of course still be around, but integrated with your AR device, so that the phone itself is more of a remote control.  Cable companies will be just about obsolete (except for the ones who were smart enough to jump on the VR bandwagon rather then doing everything they can to cling to their old business models), and there will be no separate TV.  The only differences will be whether you view the content on a static screen or in VR.  Robotics will be getting more and more common, but not walking robots, more like robotic arms.  McDonalds may be fully automated where you place your order from your phone and then it is made entirely by robotic arms and such, only hiring two or three humans to load the machines with food every morning.  


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#16
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...only hiring two or three humans to load the machines with food every morning.  

 

I don't know.... it may be completely automated. The only humans at McDonald's will be the mid- and high-level management.


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#17
Yuli Ban

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Way too much forward for 2025. The general public grossly underestimate the rate of change, but you have, unfortunately, overestimated it.

This is Star0 we're talking about. If anyone has their finger on the pulse of tech trends, it's this guy.

 

 

 

 

...only hiring two or three humans to load the machines with food every morning.  

 

I don't know.... it may be completely automated. The only humans at McDonald's will be the mid- and high-level management.

 

Providing there will even still be a McDonalds in 2025.


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#18
Yuli Ban

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Star0 gave great reasons why this vision is likely, and we trashed them because we're basing our expectations upon differences from 2005 to today.

 

Might I add that that's a BS excuse? If you want to get really long-range, then life hasn't really changed from 1915 to now; we just have better technology. Yet we still eat and sleep and shit and piss the same way then as now. 

Now consider deep learning plus extreme computing power— that's gonna change things. The biggest reason for why robots today seem little more impressive than robots from the '70s is because of limited computing power. Robots couldn't learn the environment; they could only follow preprogrammed paths. Up to now, roombas have been stupid. My roomba was a lazy-arse muttertrucker. That's changing.

Up to now, humanoid robots were little more than toys and spectacle. That's changing.

 

Deep learning is still a new field, but it's beginning to come into its own. Trust me when I say, "This vision of 2025 might be too conservative."


Nobody's gonna take my drone, I'm gonna fly miles far too high!
Nobody gonna beat my drone, it's gonna shoot into the sky!




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