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My half-finished thoughts


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#81
funkervogt

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Autonomous cars and other future technological developments will lead to radical changes to traffic laws. Many traffic laws exist only because of limited human abilities and because autonomous cars didn't exist when the laws were drafted. 

 

For example, it's common in the U.S. for curbsides next to large buildings to be "No parking" zones because those areas are needed provide fast access for emergency vehicles--namely firetrucks and ambulances. However, if all vehicles were autonomous and networked, those curbside spaces could be used as parking spaces, and on the rare occasions when emergency vehicles had to come to the place, the parked, autonomous vehicles would be signaled ahead of time to move, and they would. 

 

Highway speed limits are also in place because too many humans lack the reflexes and reaction times to safely drive above 60 mph/100 kph. 

 

Stoplights will also become anachronistic once the vehicle fleet is entirely autonomous, and multiple lanes of traffic can intersect each other at full speed, with the vehicles spaced apart and timed just right so no collisions happen. Of course, this would be too terrifying for human passengers to stand, so the scenario won't come to pass until we no longer exist, or we do exist, but are no longer listened to by intelligent machines. 

 

Even something as fundamental as one-way roads will become obsolete.  



#82
funkervogt

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Some have speculated that intelligent aliens are visiting the Earth, but they're so advanced that they have lost the ability to interact with and communicate with us. By the same token, you are a much more sophisticated and intelligent organism than an ant, but you couldn't figure out how to communicate with it, other than by doing very coarse things like slamming your fist down next to it to tell it you were mad, or giving it bits of food to tell it you were happy. 

 

This makes me wonder if AGIs will keep some number of humans alive indefinitely in case they ever encounter a human-like group of aliens. Similarly, it might be prudent to keep primitive, first-generation AGIs alive to talk to the next most advanced type of alien, etc. 

 

More generally speaking, I don't think AGIs will destroy the whole human race because we might come in handy someday, and it would take an insignificant amount of resources to keep a small population of humans alive indefinitely. 

It just occurred to me that all I was saying there was that diversity of thought has value since it allows you to approach problems in as many different ways as possible, and thus it would benefit AGIs to be able to call upon the full "space of possible minds." Human minds, as weak as they may someday be in comparison to machine minds, could hold unexpected advantages. 

 

It just occurred to me that Amazon's "Mechanical Turk" is a nascent form of this network of diverse minds, given different tasks for which their minds are optimized. Just image a version that is 200 years more advanced, and consists of trillions of life forms interconnected by something like The Matrix. 

 

 

Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is a crowdsourcing website for businesses (known as Requesters) to hire remotely located "crowdworkers" to perform discrete on-demand tasks that computers are currently unable to do. It is operated under Amazon Web Services, and is owned by Amazon.[2] Employers post jobs known as Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs), such as identifying specific content in an image or video, writing product descriptions, or answering questions, among others. Workers, colloquially known as Turkers or crowdworkers, browse among existing jobs and complete them in exchange for a rate set by the employer. 

https://en.wikipedia...Mechanical_Turk



#83
funkervogt

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Today I moved a couch down a stairwell and out the front door of a house. The stairwell was not much wider than the couch's narrowest dimension, it made a hard 90 degree turn, and it was literally a painful struggle for another man and me to figure out how to angle it at each phase of the move to get it past the sharp turn. By the end, we were angry at each other, soaked in sweat, and nearly exhausted. 

 

I realized how experiences like this won't happen in a future dominated by intelligent machines. A machine could look at the couch and instantly know all its dimensions and balance points, then look at the stairwell and also detect its dimensions, and then make a 3D mental model of the space to figure out through simulations how (and if) the couch could be moved down it. This will happen in a few seconds. No uncertainty, no mistakes, and no arguments between people at either end of the couch on what to do next. 

 

Machines would not feel tiredness or pain, and would execute the plan without a hiccup. 



#84
funkervogt

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High-res pinhole cameras and automatic video sharpening algorithms will make movie pirating even easier and more problematic in the future. Theaters will find it impossible to prevent patrons from recording films if the cameras are tiny. The algorithms would then automatically "clean up" the audiovisual data in the recordings, correcting for things like low and off-centered viewing angle and sound distortions. Images of audience members walking around in front of the screen could be removed, as could sounds of them talking or laughing. 

 

The technique will become even more powerful if the algorithms could merge audiovisual data from multiple recordings of the same film, uploaded by different people watching different screenings of it, and sitting at different points in the theaters. 

 

The result will be devastating for the film and theater industries' bottom-line: Blu-ray quality, pirated copies of films circulating on the internet within a few days of any film's theater release. 



#85
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. 

The Megasurvey would also involve the use of ground-penetrating radar scanners. 

 

https://en.wikipedia...netrating_radar



#86
funkervogt

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Technology has already fragmented the news media landscape, as is obvious when we consider the diversity of news sources compared to as little as 10 years ago, and the extremism of their views. Much of the discord in the West is due to average people immersing themselves in echo chambers, in which their biases and preexisting views can be echoed by some official-looking man talking to them from a spiffy-looking studio. The fragmentation happened in this cultural realm early on because the costs of setting up and running a "news" source are low: Current events information is a free commodity good, curating it and repackaging it into a consumable product for a particular audience can be largely done by low-paid interns and twentysomething journalists, and cheap 4K cameras and green screen technology allow anyone to set up a professional-looking "news HQ" in a garage. 

 

The TV and film entertainment industries haven't been obliterated by these forces yet because the costs of making quality shows and movies remain quite high. That lends itself to centralized control and the dominance of a small number of rich studios. The limited number of players and their geographic concentration in Hollywood and New York allow them to maintain cultural cohesion and to make products that are thematically consistent. Think about how many major American movies are "liberal" and/or "politically correct" compared to the number that are "conservative" and/or "politically incorrect." The bias is clear. 

 

Technology will eventually undermine this, and fragment the entertainment media industry in the same way it fragmented the news media industry. Better AI and CGI will allow ever-smaller teams of people to make quality films and TV shows at lower and lower cost, and the logical endpoint of the trend will be fully automated production of individually-tailored entertainment content at trivially cheap rates. The result will be even more tightly circumscribed and defined reality bubbles, where even the escapist entertainment products people indulge in are customized to reinforce their biases and make them feel that they're right. For example, imagine a pirated, altered version of Star Wars meant for misogynist men where the men are all in charge and Daisey Ridley is nude and submissive for most of the film. Technology would allow the edits to be done seamlessly, most people who watched this version would never bother watching the real, "liberal" version of the movies, and even Star Wars fans wouldn't be able to agree on "basic facts" anymore. 

 

It gets worse. Think about what would happen if this were paired with mass technological unemployment--since no one would have jobs, boycotts and pressure on employers to fire people who made or indulged in extremist/highly unpopular entertainment content wouldn't do anything. If you find out your neighbor spends all day indulging in racist and sexist virtual fantasies and hanging out with like-minded people, what could you against him? You can't tell his boss because he doesn't have one. Publicly exposing him is pointless since he already only hangs out with people who are just like him. You can't egg his house or harass him because surveillance cameras and robots are everywhere, and you'd be recorded and possibly arrested.  

 

https://www.vice.com...ast-jedi-review


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#87
funkervogt

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Once we're all posthumans with enhanced cognition, there will be no such things as "strangers": you will have detailed files on every living person. Actually coming across someone you don't know will be weird. 

 

Also, no one will ever forget names, birthdays, phone numbers, or anything like that. 

 

Humans like us will be the equivalent of mentally retarded people today, possibly worse. 



#88
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. 

I just realized I was describing a car assembly plant, but with the assembly line run in reverse. Fully assembled cars would go in one end, and a bunch of car parts would come out the other. 



#89
tomasth

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Is the used part + disassembly scanning est , costs , worth it ? Or should the repair businesses just order from a new one the plant ?



#90
funkervogt

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Is the used part + disassembly scanning est , costs , worth it ? Or should the repair businesses just order from a new one the plant ?

Only time will tell. I suspect it heavily depends on how much volume the disassembly factory would do. 



#91
funkervogt

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I'd like someone to make a space-based real-time strategy game that mimics the fleets and combat in Ender's Game (mods to the Homeworld game would probably do). Each team would be able to have an unlimited number of players, so each fighter plane could have its own human pilot. Above them all would be a human admiral, like Ender Wiggin: https://youtu.be/BHJBKd6P3eQ

 

The big reason I want to see such a game popularized is that it would allow Google to tailor an AI to play it, and to beat the best human team by a huge margin, so we could say for sure that Ender's Game is inaccurate, and we'd be better off entrusting command of our military to computers if we ever had to fight aliens. 



#92
funkervogt

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I look forward to machines someday copying the styles of great artists, musicians, and poets of the past so we can have things like new Beethoven symphonies. 


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#93
funkervogt

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Is the used part + disassembly scanning est , costs , worth it ? Or should the repair businesses just order from a new one the plant ?

Only time will tell. I suspect it heavily depends on how much volume the disassembly factory would do. 

 

Car disassembly plants would have an important advantage over car assembly plants: the former could do work on any type of car. 

 

For example, if I have an assembly plant that makes Toyota Corollas, then I can only build that type of car. However, if I have a disassembly plant, then I can take apart Corollas, Cruzes, Accords, or most anything else. The disassembly plant has a volume and flexibility advantage. 



#94
funkervogt

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I'd like someone to make a space-based real-time strategy game that mimics the fleets and combat in Ender's Game (mods to the Homeworld game would probably do). Each team would be able to have an unlimited number of players, so each fighter plane could have its own human pilot. Above them all would be a human admiral, like Ender Wiggin: https://youtu.be/BHJBKd6P3eQ

 

The big reason I want to see such a game popularized is that it would allow Google to tailor an AI to play it, and to beat the best human team by a huge margin, so we could say for sure that Ender's Game is inaccurate, and we'd be better off entrusting command of our military to computers if we ever had to fight aliens. 

EnderAI would look at the alien fleet for a few seconds, run a few billion battle simulations, and come up with some weird strategy. 

https://youtu.be/Lu56xVlZ40M 






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