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My half-finished thoughts


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#1
funkervogt

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Hi guys,

 

I'm starting this thread as a place where I can post half-finished and nascent thoughts about futurism and hopefully get feedback from you all. Too often, an idea will pop into my mind, I won't tell anyone about it or write it down because I want to flesh it out and fear ridicule if it has an obvious flaw I've overlooked, and I end up forgetting it. 

 

Well, no more! 


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#2
funkervogt

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Just a thought: 

 

Once everyone has a robot butler and humanoid robots are also delivering goods to doorsteps, thefts will decrease to almost nothing since the delivery bot will hand off the package to the robot butler at the threshold. Package thefts will become a thing of the past. 

 

Since the cost of shoplifting is built into the prices of goods (e.g. - retailers know that 1% of their goods are regularly stolen, so to compensate, prices on all goods are raised by 1%), the end of theft will mean slightly lower prices for everything. 


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#3
funkervogt

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Sophisticated robots will someday radically reshape the car junkyard industry. Today, totaled cars are towed to junkyards and parked in the open, and customers come with their own tools to remove parts that they need. It's inefficient, as most junkyards don't keep track of all the models of cars they have, so customers waste a lot of time going to junkyards only to find their desired model of car isn't there, or is there but has already been stripped of the part(s) they wanted. It's also common for customers and staff to leave doors, hoods, and trunks open after they're done, leading to interior damage once it rains. Other spare parts that other people might want get ruined.

 

I envision a future car junkyard where each vehicle is automatically scanned and added to a computer inventory upon arrival. Machines using image recognition technology that is not much better than what we have today would be able to assess the condition of each vehicle, and they would be able to disassemble them into all their constituent parts, test each one for functionality, and put them on eBay or Amazon. Anything that was damaged beyond repair or hopelessly worn out would be put in dumpsters for recycling. 

 

As such, it will become pointless to go to the junkyard to hunt down spare parts because a comprehensive list of all the parts they had would be on the internet. I suppose you might save a few bucks on S&H by driving to a junkyard yourself to pick up a spare part you saw on their website instead of ordering it delivered to your doorstep, but there would be no need for you to walk amongst the rows of wrecked vehicles. You would just speak to the robot clerk at the front desk and wait for the part to be retrieved. 

 

Junkyards would probably shrink in size because spare parts would be sold faster (internet = bigger marketplace) and because the spare parts could be stored much more compactly than complete cars can be. 

 

Junkyards would also become "cleaner" since, by the time this technology is in use, electric cars should be dominant, meaning they won't be full of gas-powered vehicles that slowly leak oil (probably the biggest cause of soil contamination in and around junkyards).

 

The sort of  automated "disassembly line" process that I envision junkyards using would be similar to how I think car repair businesses will work in the future: A vehicle enters the front of the conveyor belt, gets a full scan by machines, has parts fixed or replaced as needed, and comes out the end fully functional. 

 

*Note: In theory, junkyards could inspect and disassemble all cars upon arrival and put their spare parts on eBay individually, but in practice, labor costs are too high for them to do this. The equation changes if the labor is being done by machines that work for free, and if economies of scale can be realized by using the same facilities for car repair and car disassembly. 


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#4
funkervogt

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In the distant future, I predict that a every part of the Earth's surface will be inspected and "cleaned up" for the purposes of scientific knowledge, archaeology, and environmental restoration. I'll call this project "The Megasurvey." 

 

I imagine crews of human and/or robot workers would slowly move over every acre of land. Larger objects like rusting car hulks, ruins of old buildings, and piles of trash would be easily spotted, and could be cataloged and then hauled away for disposal by humans or bigger machines. 

 

The site would then undergo progressively finer and more time-consuming levels of analysis, including scanning it with metal detectors and digging up all small pieces of metal, and chemically analyzing the soil and removing any toxins. I imagine the latter tasks could be done with small, specialized machines like (don't laugh) robot groundhogs and robot earthworms. They could unobtrusively burrow through the soil, chemically analyze it as they went, and find bigger objects that the surface crews couldn't see (those objects might be worthy of excavation as well). 

 

Many historical mysteries would be solved thanks to the Megasurvey, as the skeletons of long-dead missing people and every plane that disappeared in the dense jungle or mountains would be found. 

 

One acre at a time, the Earth's surface could be returned to a virgin state. Even though manmade objects and substances would be removed, their locations would all be noted in the survey and saved to a 1:1 virtual Earth, so no information about the planet's past state would be lost. 


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#5
funkervogt

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If humans ever evolve into posthumans, we'd be too enlightened to fall for marketing or branding or to care about fashion. That means billboards and most ads would disappear, and manufactured products and their packaging would be plainer in appearance. Instead of your can of soup having a color paper label with an enticing image of steaming soup on it, the can would just have a title like "BEAN SOUP, TYPE 4B" on the outside, like military rations. 



#6
Hyndal_Halcyon

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If humans ever evolve into posthumans, we'd be too enlightened to fall for marketing or branding or to care about fashion. That means billboards and most ads would disappear, and manufactured products and their packaging would be plainer in appearance. Instead of your can of soup having a color paper label with an enticing image of steaming soup on it, the can would just have a title like "BEAN SOUP, TYPE 4B" on the outside, like military rations. 

 

I think it'd be better if not everyone becomes posthuman gods. I want to believe that the first ones are truly wise enough to know that creating more of themselves will make them lose their absolute position. Their limitless lives will be just as meaningless without us, and they will just continuously merge with anyone who is about to reach (or is already at their level) to maintain their power/s.

 

That way, we don't have to abandon everything we love and/or hate. We will have posthuman gods that will simply let us be as we let them multiply the number of impossibly enjoyable modes of existences by lending us proportional fractions of their power. They might be gods, but only our ignorance will let us choose what kinds of manipulations we want to do to which realities that our gods create. At that point, literally everything becomes optional. Imagination truly becomes the only limit.


As you can see, I'm a huge nerd who'd rather write about how we can become a Type V civilization instead of study for my final exams (gotta fix that).

But to put an end to this topic, might I say that the one and only greatest future achievement of humankind is when it finally becomes posthumankind.


#7
Jakob

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If humans ever evolve into posthumans, we'd be too enlightened to fall for marketing or branding or to care about fashion. That means billboards and most ads would disappear, and manufactured products and their packaging would be plainer in appearance. Instead of your can of soup having a color paper label with an enticing image of steaming soup on it, the can would just have a title like "BEAN SOUP, TYPE 4B" on the outside, like military rations. 

But the advertisers would get smarter...


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#8
funkervogt

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The recent acclaim at Keanu Reeves being a virtual character in the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 video game makes me think that this will grow more common in the future, and that the celebrity characters will get more refined. The most obvious way to improve the likeness is to improve the visual quality of the simulacra so they look more like the real person. Digitizing their voices and speech patterns so they could speak unscripted but convincing dialog would be another. 

 

There are many other subtle but important aspects of a celebrity that will be captured and replicated by their digital likenesses, including gait and microexpressions. Machines could quantify and analyze these aspects by studying video footage of the celebrity. Eventually, the digital characters would be controlled by simple AIs that would behave similarly to the actual person. There will probably be jobs created in the future for people to monitor and tweak the digital characters' AIs to conform with expectations. 

 

Celebrities like Keanu Reeves will agree to make likenesses of themselves for use in video games because it will make them money. This will probably be especially attractive to declining celebrities eager for any source of income that requires little work. Brendan Fraser, for example, would agree to let his younger, character-specific digital likeness be used in VR games of his popular Mummy films. 

 

In several decades, I can see this technology leading to a situation where average people use augmented reality eyewear and earbuds to live in a "mixed reality" where virtual characters of their choice are always in their proximity. "Cyberpunk Keanu Reeves" could be your housemate and would talk to you. "Dave Chappelle" would tag along during your daily commutes and brighten your mood by cracking all kinds of jokes. 

 

And you can guess what happens when this technology is combined with hyperrealistic sex robots...


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#9
Jakob

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The Shining Righteous Ones originated as a religious sect of Divinni Elonism during the early Lost Era (c. early 30th century), a of Earth couple centuries after the Divinni-Muskiite Schism. Originally a small fringe group preaching a highly radical and controversial interpretation of Word of Elon, which they termed the Shining Righteous Path to Glory and Salvation (known as the Shining Righteous Path for short), they exploded to prominence in the 2950s, their ranks swelling into the millions. With high ai and posthuman funding and technical support, they built an army with over 50,000 ships and 1.5 billion warbots, and launched several holy wars. The most famous of these are their incursions into inner Sol System, which was at that point a chaotic wasteland filled with brutal dictators, exploitative AIs, and isolationist city-states with strange cultures. The Red Crusade, directed at Mars, united most of the planet under an Elonic theocracy from AD 2985 to 3004, and restored the Arch-Elon of Mars (the Divinni analogue of the pope) to His throne on Tharsis Mons. The Blue Crusade on Earth (2993-94) was much less successful; almost as soon as the Shining Righteous Ones had seized key holy sites at Cape Canaveral and Boca Chica, they were ousted by the local high ais. By 3011, the Shining Righteous Ones were in full retreat across the Solar System, and by the 3030s, they were once again driven underground, having lost 95% of their membership. Over the next few centuries, the Shining Righteous Ones would abandon overt religious warfare as an expansion tactic and would slowly grow in numbers. By the onset of the Kingdom Era, their membership was once again in the millions, but at this point their faith had drifted considerably--although they were still an extremely fanatical religion who believed in the divinity of the Lord Elon, their customs, doctrine, and institutions were sufficiently far removed from mainstream Elonism that most would consider them an entirely different religion.



#10
wjfox

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If humans ever evolve into posthumans, we'd be too enlightened to fall for marketing or branding or to care about fashion. That means billboards and most ads would disappear, and manufactured products and their packaging would be plainer in appearance. Instead of your can of soup having a color paper label with an enticing image of steaming soup on it, the can would just have a title like "BEAN SOUP, TYPE 4B" on the outside, like military rations. 

 

 

I wanna try some BEAN SOUP, TYPE 4B.

 

 

uVHBWKQ.gif



#11
funkervogt

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"The Megasurvey" that I described would also involve mapping the seafloor. Robotic ships and submersibles of various types would do it. Again, many historical mysteries would be solved as shipwrecks and crashed planes were discovered. All of the trash--including plastic--that humans have dumped into the oceans will be removed. 


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#12
funkervogt

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Some astronomers have proposed that we search for alien life by scanning the atmospheres of alien planets for the telltale signs of air pollution. Specifically, of unnaturally high levels of methane emissions and of CFCs. They argue that human industrial activity produces these things, so any other planet that shared these hallmarks must have high-tech aliens. 

https://www.astrobio...gent-life-cfcs/

 

However, methane lasts less than 10 years in the atmosphere before decaying into water and CO2. CFCs and related chemicals also slowly dissipate from the atmosphere, and they were on track to return to preindustrial levels by about 2200 (until a few factories in China started emitting large quantities of them). 

https://en.wikipedia...spheric_methane

https://theconversat...substances-9203

 

As our civilization transitions to clean energy and gets more efficient at using energy and resources, atmospheric pollution should vanish, along with key evidence of industrial activity that aliens could spot using telescopes. Earth's atmosphere will look natural once more. 

 

For the same reason, it would probably be fruitless for us to look for intelligent aliens by scanning the atmospheres of other planets. We'd have to get extraordinarily lucky to spot a planet whose intelligent life forms were in that narrow, 200-year stretch of their development when they emitted detectable quantities of air pollution. 



#13
funkervogt

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Once everyone has a robot butler and humanoid robots are also delivering goods to doorsteps, thefts will decrease to almost nothing since the delivery bot will hand off the package to the robot butler at the threshold. Package thefts will become a thing of the past. 

 

It just occurred to me that "robot handoffs" like this could also be used to send OUTGOING items, which would boost efficiency in many ways. 

 

Imagine it's 2034, and you have a robot butler living in your house. You order something from Amazon, and a day later, the Amazon delivery truck arrives at your curb and the delivery robot carries the package to your doorstep. Your robot butler grabs the cardboard package from your last Amazon delivery, and when the two robots meet at your front door, they exchange the items. 

 

Your Amazon account automatically gets credited a small amount of money for recycling, Amazon saves money by getting its cardboard packages and packing materials back, and the Amazon delivery trucks return to their warehouses with something of value inside of them instead of hauling air. 

 

If Amazon expands its operations to include mail delivery services, then the "robot handoff" model would greatly facilitate it as well. If you had any physical object of value that you wanted to send out--including merchandise you were selling on Amazon to random customers, holiday greeting cards you wanted to send to distant family members, or items meant for recycling--then your robot butler would hand them to the delivery robot whenever the latter arrived at your doorstep to drop off things you ordered for yourself. This would move us closer to a zero-waste/closed loop economy or whatever the term is. 

 

Your outgoing items would have to closely match the weight and volume of your incoming items for obvious reasons relating to the size of the delivery truck. 

 

I think this sort of exchange system would lower the costs of transporting all sorts of items back and forth. 

 

Finally, one of the things robot butlers would do is to inventory everything in their owners' houses. Over time, they'd observe which possessions their human masters never used, and the robots would recommend they sell or recycle them, and they'd handle every aspect of the transaction. It could lead to peoples' houses slowly emptying of clutter, and billions of old glass bottles, metal containers, articles of old clothing and bedding, and tons of paper re-entering the manufacturing stream thanks to being recycled. 



#14
funkervogt

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As machines become expert at impersonating human voices, it's only a matter of time before the voices of long-dead singers and vocalists are "resurrected," and they are made to sing new songs. Imagine today's pop hits sung by Edith Piaf. 

 

Once machines understand which qualities of the human voice are appealing to us, they will be able to synthesize unique, de novo voiceprints and have them sing songs. It might sound better than real human vocalists. 



#15
funkervogt

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Autonomous vehicles and basic AI will destroy most or all human tour guide jobs. As a tourist, you'll get in the van and have it drive you from one point of interest to another while a robot voice talks about the places over the vehicle's speakers. It could also have microphones to hear your questions and respond to them. 



#16
Jakob

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Autonomous vehicles and basic AI will destroy most or all human tour guide jobs. As a tourist, you'll get in the van and have it drive you from one point of interest to another while a robot voice talks about the places over the vehicle's speakers. It could also have microphones to hear your questions and respond to them. 

Maybe people will want to hear the insights of a local instead of canned lines spoken by a disembodied voice.



#17
funkervogt

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If we evolve into posthumans and we become entirely utilitarian in our mindsets and dispense with any thought to aesthetics, then we will commonly build structures whose roofs AND exterior walls are covered in solar panels. We'll want to capture every bit of power. 

 

https://www.solarpow...ed-solar-trend/

 

In the long run, as existing structures reach the ends of their lives and must be replaced, we'll probably build new ones that are oriented in a way that maximizes sunlight exposure. 



#18
Jakob

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If we evolve into posthumans and we become entirely utilitarian in our mindsets and dispense with any thought to aesthetics,

 

Why would we? That seems dull and implausible. It's more likely that as technology advances, we won't have to worry about practicality, so can have some pretty crazy aesthetics. I have an old "surreal future" thread based on that.






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