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What was your "Holy Shit! We're living in the future" moment?

future shock we live in the future The Future™

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#41
funkervogt

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My "We're living in the future" moment happened about six years ago, when I realized I could type questions into Google Search and have it instantly respond with the correct answers, or at least provide a top search result that would do so. I now routinely ask it questions, usually without even bothering to type in more than a sentence fragment containing key words. 


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#42
Yuli Ban

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It really struck me when I heard my home's security system's voice. It's literally nothing that wouldn't have existed ten years ago, but hearing this robotic female say "Doors and windows: on" made me think of Star Trek for some bizarre reason.


And now it's Alexa.

 

For so long, the thought of talking to a central house AI was pure sci-fi, and yet now it's taken for granted.

It's taken for granted so hard that we're actually creating Alexa/smarthome ghost stories.

 

I knew this was going to happen, but no one listened to me.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#43
Outlook

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This image right now, used in the wikipedia page for "Civil Engineering". Humanity is absolutely mental.

 

Viaduct_in_Puxi%2C_Shanghai.jpg


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Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/bE_UDATn42E

#44
Casey

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I I did not see anything in the last several decades as the future , just more of the past.

 

It's hard to imagine anyone who can remember the 1970s or 1980s not being impressed with some aspects of the present day. I remember the 90s because I was born in 1987, and even back then 2019 would have seemed absolutely mind-blowing. I remember that around second or third grade - 1996 or so - someone brought a voice recorder to school, and everyone fought each other to play with it about as ardently as miners during the Gold Rush competed for gold. That seems very quaint looking back; forget recording brief, somewhat muffled and static-y audio clips, a lot of kids own cell phones that can record full-blown videos in resolutions that didn't exist in 1996 and a million other things besides. At pretty much any point during the 1990s, learning about the realities of 2019 would have honestly felt just as futuristic and mind-boggling to us as sci-fi movies.

 

The early 2000s I remember clearly enough that I could list memories from every individual month from January 2000 onwards, and learning about 2019 would have made pretty much any student at my middle school go "I'm getting dizzy, I need to sit down" after just a few minutes. By the very end of my school career (graduated high school in 2006), the technological and societal landscape resembled the present day enough that the shock of receiving a glimpse into 2019 would only be 'moderate' rather than 'extreme,' but prior to 2005 or 2006 a glimpse into the 2010s would make most people's head spin.

 

What Ru says is true; there's honestly not many moments of pure, disorienting astonishment for me since I keep up with futurism news every day. One of the few moments that comes to mind is Yuli saying that VR headsets are sold at Dollar General now. I knew that VR is being sold at most large-scale retailers, but I didn't know they'd trickled down all the way to Dollar General. Very different story from the early parts of the decade. In an episode of the anime series 'Haganai' from October 2011, one of the characters has a VR headset, and it's treated as a very alien and highly advanced technology (almost to the point of being a punchline; "haha, an ordinary high school girl somehow has access to a VR headset, isn't that silly?").


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#45
Raklian

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This image right now, used in the wikipedia page for "Civil Engineering". Humanity is absolutely mental.

 

Viaduct_in_Puxi%2C_Shanghai.jpg

 

We're just gettin' started.


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What are you without the sum of your parts?

#46
starspawn0

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I never really feel like I am "living in the future", but I can think of a few results over the years that have really impressed me, and kept me impressed for months afterwards:

* IBM's Watson winning Jeopardy! -- That one impressed me due to how well it handled seemingly complicated questions that required "reasoning". Of course, it was a trick, and the "reasoning" was a bunch of hard-coded algorithms, but still...

* GAN photo-realistic images. I didn't expect it to work so well, so soon.

* Language modeling / GPT-2. I had seen lots of progressively better and better language modeling results over the years, and it appeared as if it would take a long time to get them to write coherent, long text. I was wrong. I think what we will see in 2019, when it gets scaled-up 100x to 1000x, will be even more impressive, and will get people thinking about the future of fiction-writing -- among many other things -- including chatbots that will blow you away in terms of how well they can mimic humans over short conversations (5 to 10 minutes).

(I didn't find the Atari work at Deepmind as surprising; nor were the Go, Dota 2, and Starcraft II results. Wavenet also wasn't a huge shock, since voice synthesis was already pretty good.)

Hardware-wise, things seem to have progressed with fewer surprises, but the following were slightly unexpected:

* Light, portable, high-quality consumer VR.

* CTRL-Labs's wrist-worn "neural interface" + the software to run it.

The biggest shocks are still yet to come. Perhaps Facebook or Openwater will dazzle us this year with their BCI tech. This year may be the one we remember as the start of the "Brain Age", when large numbers of people first had their brains scanned at high resolution.
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#47
Casey

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I never really feel like I am "living in the future", but I can think of a few results over the years that have really impressed me, and kept me impressed for months afterwards:

* IBM's Watson winning Jeopardy! -- That one impressed me due to how well it handled seemingly complicated questions that required "reasoning". Of course, it was a trick, and the "reasoning" was a bunch of hard-coded algorithms, but still...

 

It did always seem weird to me that Watson won the game of Jeopardy despite this happening the year before the Deep Learning Revolution began.

 

This year may be the one we remember as the start of the "Brain Age", when large numbers of people first had their brains scanned at high resolution.

 

I remember that, back in December, you felt that OpenWater's tech would probably only be used on animals during 2019. Has your opinion changed on how productive 2019 will be since then?


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#48
Yuli Ban

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There was one other event that made me go "What the hell is happening?" and that was a full year before Jeopardy's victory: Stuxnet. I even remember one of my history teachers in high school bringing it up because it shocked her as well, even though we both didn't fully understand what it was.

 

And that's how the decade started.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#49
starspawn0

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I don't recall saying "animals only" for 2019.  But that could be a primary use by the first people to get the headsets.



#50
Casey

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I probably misunderstood you then. I was going by this reply to me on reddit.

I assume you are addressing this to me.

2019 will be a bit early to see much progress, given that it will be released as an alpha kit in summer (probably late summer) of 2019.

What I expect this alpha kit to be is something like a clunky wearable with a bar-of-soap-like form-factor that can scan a few hundred to maybe 1,000 voxels with temporal resolution around 1 second, or maybe slightly less. She has vacillated between saying "thousand" to "up to 100,000"; but I would bet it will be less than that as a first prototype model.

This would not be enough to build a low-grade AGI system; but it would be enough to build out large datasets to improve NLP methods, especially if you can steer those x hundred voxels, and focus them to different parts of the brain. You could get a lot of mileage out of that.

They will need to get approval before it can be tried out on humans. It's possible they won't have the needed approval by mid-2019 -- so, experimenters will have to use animals until then.



#51
wjfox

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Police respond to 'intruder' and find robot vacuum cleaner

Police in Oregon were called after moving shadows were seen behind a locked bathroom door.

 

https://www.bbc.co.u...-vacuum-cleaner


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#52
wjfox

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Andrew Yang unveils plans to campaign remotely using a 3D hologram

 

Apr 12, 2019

 

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has unveiled a 3D hologram that he intends to use to remotely campaign in key battlegrounds states. According to The Hill, Yang revealed the hologram during a segment on TMZ Live on Wednesday. He said that it would allow him to be in two or even three places at a time.

Yang also hopes to use the technology to drive home his message about the power of disruptive technologies and the need to change with them. In an interview with the Carroll Times Herald, Yang said that the hologram is “tied into the message of the campaign around the fact that it is 2019, and soon it will be 2020, and things are changing, and we can’t just keep doing the same things over and over again and expect it to achieve the results we need.” Yang has made headlines for his proposal to introduce universal basic income if he becomes president.

 

https://www.theverge...-elections-2020


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#53
wjfox

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Computers at a museum in London.

 

The one with the red function keys (lower-right) is a BBC Micro, the very first computer I ever used. As a kid of 9-10, I was programming and creating my own games in BASIC (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code). It had 32K of memory.

 

https://twitter.com/...6204672/photo/1

 

 

zZpbwhv.jpg


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#54
haiduk

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Many years ago, we took mushrooms in a forest, then later ventured into a populated area. Seeing that contrast between the primal woods, and then modern technology and cars and everything, gave me that feeling. 


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#55
Yuli Ban

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^ I had a similar experience, except without mushrooms (my brain is so miswired, I probably would be less stoned if I ever take hallucinogenics). Since I live so far out in the boonies, I just noticed one day back in 2015 while driving home that I was essentially strapped into a rolling two-ton mech. I noticed various signs, fences, and scattered aspects of modern industry all cutting through wilderness and agrarian fields. On the way to school, I'd pass this neat high-tech building that had solar panels (it was a bit out of the way and really stood out). 


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#56
Erowind

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/\ I spent 3 weeks on a socialist commune once in the absolute middle of nowhere. The nearest town with shops was 40 minutes away, and the nearest city (which still wasn't big enough to have skyscrapers) was 80 minutes away. Twin Oaks is gorgeous and civilized but also deep into the wilds of Appalachia. The trees are tall enough to form canopies of leaves over the palely lit gravel streets of the village and there were a few times where me and other visitors even decided to canoe down stream to our work shifts. The only time I left the commune during the 3 weeks was to go to Shenandoah National Park which is in the highlands of Appalachia.

Coming back home was very weird. Think culture schock and futureshock. Twin oaks doesn't have cell service so I didn't use my phone for 3 weeks. Instead I used phone booths on the commune, which don't even really exist for the most part elsewhere now. Seeing a suburb again was shocking enough but when the train rolled back into Pittsburgh I felt awe stricken by the sheer size of the skyscrapers. When you haven't been in nature for long enough they are just as impressive as mountains.

It wasn't just the technology though. It was also the culture. I went from not having to use money to having to using money. At Twin Oaks when I was hungry I walked to the store room and ate whatever was available that I wanted. (Homemade cheese is bomb.) Out hete everything has a price. If I walked into the store and just ate food, like is natural, I'd be assaulted by men with guns for it. Same thing with medicine and clothing. I cut my foot pretty bad on a rock while there and the locals patched me up without question. I surely didn't have clothing fit for farm work but they gave me some for my stay and while I could have kept it I left it at the community store before going home.

Money, greed and the hyperindividualism of modern society are very foreign and to an extent hostile after spending time in a society where none of the rules we come to expect as given apply. You know what else I didn't see the whole time I was there, a single cop. The future is more than technology it's also culture. Twin Oaks gave me hope we could one day transcend greed, selfishness, loneliness, alienation and thinking it's a good idea to have men with guns walk the streets at all. That's not to say greed, selfishness, loneliness and alienation don't happen at Twin Oaks. They do, but the society systemically prevents them from ruining people or being expressed in such a way that they become dangerous for the most part. Loneliness is probably the only one that still poses a major threat, and that is sadly the nature of a small village sometimes. But I garuntee the loneliest person at Twin Oaks is better off than the loneliest agoraphobes from the depths of 8chan in our own society.
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#57
PhoenixRu

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My today's photo from "The Storehouse" mall. Not that such scenes are uncommon, but it's exactly their commonness that means we're living in the future:

 

27167406.jpg


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#58
funkervogt

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I had another one of these "moments" two days ago. I was in a foreign airport waiting in line to board an international flight, and the woman in front of me was using her smartphone to do a live video chat with a man. Both of them were in their 30s, Hispanic, and speaking in Spanish, and didn't look wealthy or remarkable in any way. I glanced at this virtual interaction and then looked away. 

 

And then it hit me: A staple technology of sci-fi movies and TV shows from my childhood, which once captivated me, was now a mundane and free service accessible to any random person, and could allow them to connect across national borders and while each participant was roaming around the real world (the woman was waiting in line at an airport, and the man was driving a vehicle). At some point over the last couple years, it went from highly impractical, inconvenient, and futuristic to a free, commodity technology that I don't bat an eyelash at. 


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#59
starspawn0

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I am someone who has avoided Uber and Lyft, but recently gave it a try.  It's so easy to use, and would have been impossible in the era before smartphones.

 

There is actually a lot of technology involved.  You need a good digital payment network, high-speed cellular network, mapping software, GPS tracking, and several other things.  When it all comes together, it is magic.  And, yet, the physical footprint is very small -- just some smartphones (and GPS satellites, cellular network, etc.).


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#60
ralfy

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It was 2001, and it didn't resemble the movie.







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