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What “draws” you to futurism?


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#1
Maximum7

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For me I always wanted to escape the world and explore the universe and get to explore my fantasies in immersive virtual reality. What about you?
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#2
Outlook

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This could be moved to the Culture section instead of S&T.

 

It was the dream of a utopic future. At first, I got those kicks into futurism at a young age watching these weird new-age videos on youtube.

 

They're still up, here was one of them.

 

Eventually one video linked Will's website. I went to futuretimeline, read that shit and was hooked on it. I'd be in the school library just scrolling through the whole timeline reading predictions of the future and imagining it all. I spiraled down the whole futurist stuff, the Kurzweil videos, the transhumanism, the space habitats & colonization especially. At first I always had a connection to pop-sci, like with Michio Kaku, Stephen Hawking, NDT and so forth, so I understood some principles but the shit that futurists were talking about was something else entirely. Mind uploading, artifical intelligence, biotech, nanotech. The image it gave fed the same hunger I had reading conspiracy theories when I was in middle school, like a new world-shifting perspective, so I got onto it. It was like learning about a new world that was real, and was going to happen.

 

I'm not so much a futurist anymore, as I became so troubled politically and socially that any major scientific breakthroughs and optimism just turns to something very foreboding and uncomfortable, so I avoid most of the news happening on the technological front. And even though I love compsci, and I fucking love the study of intelligence and neuroscience to death, the people in compsci and STEM in general are a bit... eh... so the passion towards science-centered futurism died a bit with it.


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Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/DGe_Sluth3A


#3
Yuli Ban

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Ease of living. There are so many things I'd love to do but can't for any number of reasons. I'd love to create entire franchises (let alone individual movies, shows, comics, games, game mods, etc.) but I only have two options: create these myself or wait until AI gets good enough to do it for me. In order to do the former, I need to cultivate my artistic skills over the course of decades, and if I hadn't already done so for some, it's arguably already too late. Plus, I'm only one person. A lot of these things take teams of hundreds to pull off using funds that have to be procured by studios who expect you to pay them back, so my ideas will be diluted and limited.  And then further limited by what's available to be released commercially. Sure, I might have a neat and avant garde concept in mind, but it won't earn the worth of a dog turd despite needing possibly $100 million-plus just to create.  That's just the case for most ideas out there. We've seen a lot of creative concepts in Hollywood, on TV, in video games, and so on, but there's a reason why it's almost always in books, comics, indie artists, and whatnot who release stuff for free or possibly never release their material that we see the most creativity. You can rest assured that even the most "original" or "creative" stuff on Netflix was once even more creative but had to be made into something that could actually make money according to charts and statistics. A lot of storylines are considered creative for putting certain new concepts together or coming up with characters who do certain things, but break the essential structure of those stories down and you'll always see them following the same 3 acts with seven distinct beats across them. 

You can't put in so much time, effort, and money to something that won't earn you back that money unless you're literally creating something just for yourself and don't have to worry about paying the bills (and even then, you can't waste everyone's time unless you pay your crew). 

 

When you're in my position and you're mostly writing books in the fleeting hope that you can kick off a multimedia franchise, you learn how rare it really for it to happen. It'll happen some day...

 

Compare that to the prospect of media synthesis, where I can get it done in an afternoon if I wanted. I can write a 100,000-word book in ten days. That's fast and admittedly impressive. But I could also get a text generator to take that book and write ten 100,000 word sequels in a couple hours. Oh, there's a thousand Master of Reality-era Black Sabbath, Demon Days-era Gorillaz, and Kid A-era Radiohead songs that were never recorded but still theoretically exist? Or there are bands who are almost but not quite great, and changing some aspect of their songs would push them over the edge (to me)? There'll be an algorithm for that too. And so on and so forth.

 

 

Back in 2014, it all started via the prospect of having a humanoid robotic companion. Specifically something like ASIMO. Just seeing ASIMO in action turned me into a "Born-Again Singularitarian", and it was in autumn 2015 that I got into the habit of imagining my day but with robots added to it.

 

That and virtual reality. For all I joke about sexbots, it was really something a bit more humdrum: thanks to increasing nostalgia, I'd imagine reliving previous years of my life but in VR. I'd listen to certain melancholic songs that would bring me back to the early and mid/late 2000s, imagining a future era where I could be a kid again but without actually being a kid. I watched videos of people playing the Oculus Rift circa 2014 & 2015 and dreamed of the future.

Coupling with the aforementioned media synthesis, around 2018 I also became enamored with the prospect of creating things and then creating the reactions to things, alternate history events that never happened and never could happen. 


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


#4
TranscendingGod

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The hope that one day everyone will be less fucking stupid.


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The growth of computation is doubly exponential growth. 


#5
PhoenixRu

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This would sound weird, but the thing that led me into futurism, was my interest to history and the simple idea that history is not yet over and will continue. How exactly? Isn't it interesting and intriguing: try to see at least a vague shadow of not yet exising reality?

 

And second part, yes, were utopian and escapist dreams of my youth (in my case, with communist undertones). In real world around me these ideas were ridiculed and thrown into the mud, but on my parent's bookshelves they were still alive and beautiful. No wonder they gave the yonger me the stong feeling that "the true life is not here... it is there, in the bright future, this is fully real, just not yet exist..."

 

As of today, alas, this naive optimism has (almost?) evaporated, being destroyed by real life experience.


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#6
TranscendingGod

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I was thinking about this a bit though, earlier. I would almost say that the majority of us are pessimists. Pessimists as regards our present condition; but it's not really pessimism as in discontent or in thinking that the world has deteriorated. Rather it is a constant mindset of what can or perhaps even should be. We yearn to see improvement in the world, and to see a future where our dreams and fantasies are fleshed out. We're not content with the zeitgeist of materialistic consumerism that occupies the minds of most people today. Or perhaps we are and that in itself is one of our big motivators. Either way it is a constant obsession with what can or will be that leads us to be dissatisfied with the current world. 

 

On a less philosophical note I started out as a very curious individual, I suppose, when I was younger. This led me to be interested in physics, and the functioning of our world from an early age. I consumed information fairly voraciously, and since I was already interested in science and it's panoply of derivations, of which futurism is highly contingent, it only made sense that I would stumble upon futurism. My health issues also contributed to a desire to find solutions to them, and of course futurism promises the most spectacular medical advances. Thus I was introduced to some of the most popular figures such as Ray Kurzweil and Aubrey de Grey. Kurzweil's book The Singularity is Near had a particularly lasting effect on my outlook on life. Out of all the books i've read that was the most impactful simply because it opened my mind to the world of possibilities that exist outside the mundane. Another book that I read shortly after Kurzweil's seminal work was Han's Moravec's Robot which was also mindbogglingly expansive in scope. 

 

Today I am still extremely interested in biology as it regards aging, the exponential growth of computation, VR, AI, and increasing or augmenting human intelligence. As far as I can tell there may not exists a panacea for all our problems, but the nearest thing we have is intelligence. The fact remains that we are all extremely stupid, naive, and biased. Never mind the pervasive jingoism, violence, and moral corruption that permeates and putrefies our society. If there's one thing that makes me lose some hope it is thinking about how inept and stupid I am, and then realizing that based on some parameters of intelligence I am perhaps slightly above average intelligence (if only slightly). Thus I find it a particularly pressing problem to raise our collective intelligence apace. Sorry this turned into a diatribe and I digressed a lot but basically all sorts of things drew me to futurism. At a fundamental level it was perhaps my insatiable desire for knowledge; an antidote for my endless ignorance. 


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The growth of computation is doubly exponential growth. 


#7
starspawn0

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I am motivated by several things:

1. When I read about a new development in AI, I get excited -- gives me a little extra energy; if doing so while reading my laptop in bed, I jump right up and greet the day.

2. There is a sharing aspect to it, too: telling the world feels good. And I suppose, makes me feel even more accepting of what I have learned -- the brain states active when you tell and try to convince others is probably similar to ones where you try to convince yourself.

3. Helps to plan ahead. For example: how much energy should I invest into doing X when it will be automated in Y years? Also: should I be as worried about aging, given all the progress being made?

4. Returning to the sharing aspect: I often see people quote from non-academic sources (or from academics who have, decades ago, given up research to become full-time prognosticators and write books) about the future of various technologies, and often it looks uninformed or dull. For example, some entrepreneur or software developer will give their take. It often has a certain style, with its own jargon that looks made-up; not like the jargon in the research community that came about in an organic fashion over many years. And I think, "Can't these people see through this bullshit? I guess not... Maybe I should set a good example, and show them what actual researchers are doing."
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#8
Cloned

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A bright future does not come until we solve the problem of immortality (in any form). I am absolutely convinced that humanity can make much better use of available resources - including intellectual ones. Unfortunately, the general background is the struggle between groups for resources, and not their rational use with the help of science and technology.

What's the point of being an old and sick billionaire? Why people investing in advertising or weapons instead of researching aging and genetics?

Isn't that the most important field? Many other problems will be automatically resolved when the problem of immortality is resolved.


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#9
PhoenixRu

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Unfortunately, the general background is the struggle between groups for resources, and not their rational use with the help of science and technology.

 

This is called capitalism, and what you propose is called communism...

 

What's the point of being an old and sick billionaire?

 

These billionaires made a fully rational (if even selfish) choise: spending resources (time, efforts, money) on biology will not bring immortality during their lifetime while spending resources on endless struggle against each other will make them richer. Better to be old and sick billionaire than old and sick commoner.


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#10
Outlook

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^Likewise better to be immortal and rich than immortal and poor.
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Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/DGe_Sluth3A


#11
Yuli Ban

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I figured out a more succinct way to put my original post, while also coming up with some more reasons:

 

I'd like to be able to create alternative realities.

I'm not a nihilist who hates this reality, but I would like to create alternatives. Only my creative mind and AI can do that— and my mind is limited by how it uses my body. I want to create other worlds with their own timelines and events, where pop culture is suited to my taste or maybe part of an entirely separate steam of events for me to  discover.

 

I'd like to bring my dreams to life.

Related to but not quite the first point. It's frustrating to have so many ideas but so little time to create them. If we're lucky, we have a good 40 to 50 years of energy and cognizance to do what we will after we're able to start talking and before our faculties start declining, but most people in history have never gotten that opportunity— even those who genuinely did have the money & resources to fund it. My personal ideas are of the abstract rather than the concrete. I'm no Wright or Brunelleschi, whose works are very much physical. Everything I need, start to finish, can be done in a computer. To that end, I'm not really a literati. I just want to see my ideas brought to life unadulterated and in their purest forms.

 

I'd like to live in a sci-fi world.

Preferably not a dystopia, but beggars can't be choosers. When I said that I used to imagine living a day with robots, that was an example of this. Same deal as when I try thinking of all the ways the present is futuristic. Robots— humanoid robots especially— are the Face of the Future™ in my eyes, which is why I want one. I want a house full of robots, of all shapes and sizes but with a humanoid or two in tow. I want the house itself to be connected to an AI. I want to go jogging through a park alongside a humanoid. I want to sit outside on a cool autumn evening with an artificially intelligence robotic companion, watching the stars and listening to cicadas. I want to see electric cars, even dorky ones. I want to see passenger drones line the sky, even if that line is sparse and loud. I want to get food and items delivered by drone. I want to use smartphones with more power and memory than my PC. I want to get implants that let me open doors and connect to things. I want to control electronics with my mind. I want to use digital telepathy to talk to others. I want to get lost in VR. I want to watch robots compete in sports and circuses. I want to see AI grow more and more in intelligence and capability. I want to watch virtual performers and see holograms in action. I want to look at pictures of starscrapers as well as overly geometric city sprawls. I want to ride in an autonomous vehicle on a cross-country road trip. I want to see vactrains speed across continents. I want to see the roll-out of mass renewables, fusion power, and future energy sources. I want to see a grand global rewilding. I want to watch humans learn to deliberately affect weather patterns. I want to see full-fledged transhumans and posthumans come about. I want to see the resurrection of ancient species, including ancient human species. I want to see humans and machines on other celestial bodies. I want there to be more space stations and space colonies. I want there to be greater international harmony, even if it means the current world order has to collapse for it to happen. I don't want to see more war, but I'm not against the usage of directed energy weapons and automated weapon systems, I'll tell you that. I think this also explains why I've been hankering for a Deus Ex-styled GTA clone, because more mission-based games have an endgoal and a linear design when I'd rather just "live" in this futuristic era. I want to live in The Future™. But the difference is: it's not like wanting to live in a Tolkienesque fantasy world where you have to accept you're never going to have an elven princess as a wife and a half-orc for a best battle buddy, riding on horseback to defend the Shire while using magic to prance with fairies and dancing with moonlit knights (except even that's possible with VR alternate realities). The Future™ is indeed coming. We're watching it be birthed before our very eyes every day that passes.

 

I'd like to see humanity thrive.

As far as we know, we're the only tool-using sapients in the universe. We're the ones carrying the flag of intelligence and self-awareness. We're the ones with history. We're the ones who can imagine the future and see something different from the present. We can be more than animals and we can live on more than one planet. Sometimes I'll look at the night sky and see stars and know those are light years away— hundreds, thousands, millions even— and feel a little bit hopeless. "How can we apes ever get there?" It's the most daunting task imaginable, to think of a bunch of still animalistic apes who can barely escape our own planet trying to hop to a star system that's literally a million years away. And then comes the inevitable pessimism and nihilism: "what if we don't make it? What will we miss?" And so that sense of cosmic wonder fades. Creatures from Earth will look up at those same stars and never know what they even are, let alone that we could reach them. At the very least, we can dream about it. Even if it proves impossible to go there, we can always try. And if we survive long enough as a species, we might get that chance.

But humanity is a very destructive species. We've almost turned on ourselves so many times before, and we won't have forever to get off Earth (or at least get more real estate). So it's almost a cosmic duty that we must spread and survive. It doesn't matter if that's with quadrillions of humans or a liquid metal hivemind of post-humans, as long as we keep the fires of sapience burning (though naturally I deeply prefer the latter). If we're the only species we know of that can do this, then we have to protect ourselves and our ability to do it.

 

 

The Future™ will be very hedonistic. I've mentioned before my thoughts on a potential future phenomenon called "katoikidia" (roughly Greek for "house pets"), in other words the logical endpoint of NEETs and hikkikomori where one's lifestyle is fully funded by automated means (directly or indirectly) and thus one can glide through life without any real responsibilities other than personal ones and ones you set for yourself. I don't see it taking any longer than a few decades for these to come about. And they'll be aided by a god's worth of resources to do as they please. 

The thing about the Future™ is that it'll also be a place of choice, barring some sort of totalitarian or ultracapitalist dystopia that forces you to interact with the government/market at all times if you want to participate in society at all. If I don't want to live in an ultra-advanced smarthouse filled with robots, presumably all connected to the NSA somehow, then I could also head out to an off-grid lot of land and toil for however I want, cultivating only what I need with my hands, still without any responsibilities to contribute to society since the machines are doing that for me. I could do that now if I wanted, but not everyone could unless we were happy with reverting society back to a horticultural way of living (and I can't imagine 90% will enjoy it for very long since there's a reason why we moved away from that kind of life and why people who have lived in such sustenance communities have been so eager to join developed-world ways of living). Tomorrow's dream is to gain that choice. Society won't need us to still function; it'll still be there even if there's a 10 billion-man walk out to reconnect with nature. Having that kind of choice is appealing.


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


#12
starspawn0

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I'd like to be able to create alternative realities.
 
....
 
I'd like to live in a sci-fi world.


Some people will say, "But it's not real!" Such people prefer space colonies for their sci-fi adventures, not virtual worlds.

However, people forget how powerful a good story is. Some stories are so "real" and so "true" that people want to know the founding mythology and where the story goes next, spawning prequels and sequels and fanfics.
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#13
Cloned

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PhoenixRU

This is called capitalism, and what you propose is called communism...

 

Communism is the total control of society by a criminal group called the Communist Party.
The essence of capitalism is the use of existing wealth to create new wealth and thereby increase the amount of wealth in the world.

Guess which system is more advanced.

 

Russians do not understand such things as democracy, human rights or laws, so they are always ruled by dictators. And most of the international forums participants russians are paid trolls - I noticed this immediately after joining this forum. So don't try to use my posts for your propaganda.



#14
PhoenixRu

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Communism is the total control of society by a criminal group called the Communist Party.

The essence of capitalism is the use of existing wealth to create new wealth and thereby increase the amount of wealth in the world.

 

Guess which system is more advanced.

 

Russians do not understand such things as democracy, human rights or laws, so they are always ruled by dictators. And most of the international forums participants russians are paid trolls - I noticed this immediately after joining this forum. So don't try to use my posts for your propaganda.

 

25432852.jpg


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#15
Outlook

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welp

Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/DGe_Sluth3A


#16
zEVerzan

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From a very very early age I was drawn to and fixated on topics that interest me. I would draw them constantly too! Little doodles on paper in crayon.

 

The first couple I can remember were my fixation on astronomy and the planets in our solar system (age 4) and then dinosaurs, early life on earth and its evolution (age 6). I remember copying artwork of protostar accretion disks, the surface of Venus, and dinosaurs brutalizing one another. I'm told I would try to impersonate deinonychus by sticking up my toe, tucking my arms and running around horizontally like a chicken! So I was already very interested in the very distant past.

 

I think being curious about what the future brought was a logical next step, so I did online research. But every time I tried to talk to my parents about futurism, how capitalism and humanity would eventually become obsolete and we were destroying the earth that gave rise to our lives, they'd get annoyed and tell me to stop listening to pinko Democrats.

 

I could never really immerse myself in futurism until I went to college. And hoo doggit! Future Timeline forum was a big part of that.


I always imagined the future as a time of more reason, empathy, and peace, not less. It's time for a change.
Attention is currency in the "free marketplace of ideas".
I do other stuff besides gripe about the future! Twitter Youtube DeviantArt +-PATREON-+

#17
PhoenixRu

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I'd like to be able to create alternative realities... I want to create other worlds with their own timelines and events, where pop culture is suited to my taste or maybe part of an entirely separate steam of events for me to discover.

 

Yes, I like it too. But I faced a serious (to me) problem: any created "world" is known in advance to its creator, isn'it? When you read the someone else's book, you at least want to know how will it end. And when you write the book, you must already know this...

 

There is a good solution: multi agent programming. Yes, at first glance this may seem weird and unappealing, but once you have mastered the basics, you will realize how interesting and addictive can it be. Multi agent programming allows you to bypass this "creator already knows" problem. You, the creator, only have to establish the rules, press the "start" button and watch.

 

An example: you may write the long epic saga called "The Willage" telling the story of generations of willagers, their births and deaths, everyday life, work, love and hate... but there is other way: create the multi agent model called "The Willage" including agents (willagers) with a set of traits (sex, age, health, beauty, IQ, skills... and so on and so forth) living in their environment (willage) and connected to other agents (so that each agent's behavior and "decisions" will affect the whole system).

 

Then launch the whole thing and enjoy results. You will be amazed what complex and non-linear situations can emerge even from a simple set of rules. Ask program to write the each step into your log file, and here is your story... and another one... and another...


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#18
PhoenixRu

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Continuation, only to illustrate what I meant in previous post:

 

One of my earliest and quite simple models written few years ago (I think I already posted it somewhere). Here you can see the "alternate world" with Japan as dominant hyperpower and Arabia as the only survivor remained after the wave of Japanese expansion:

 

28021266.png

 

...and here is the history of this world (step-by-step log):

 

Spoiler

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#19
Yuli Ban

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I'd like to be able to create alternative realities... I want to create other worlds with their own timelines and events, where pop culture is suited to my taste or maybe part of an entirely separate steam of events for me to discover.

 

Yes, I like it too. But I faced a serious (to me) problem: any created "world" is known in advance to its creator, isn'it? When you read the someone else's book, you at least want to know how will it end. And when you write the book, you must already know this...

You're on the money there, yes, but I have two directions I can take my answer:

 

1: Procedural generation is close to what you mention, though better used for generating settings and environments. Multi-agent programming and procedural generation can give rise to unique situations, and this is on par with what I've been desiring for a while— create a root, some starting event or happening or whathaveyou, and then sic multiple data agents/bots to essentially create an almost fractal-like "world" out of it. For example: it's 2029 and I'm using a WorldForger™ multimedia synthesis tool, and I use it to create a hard rock band that broke through into the mainstream in 2019. That's all I really do, besides directing what the songs sound like and what the band looks like. From there, I can use bots to generate an entire world of reactions around this band, from forum posts to Reddit posts to "live concert footage" to Wikipedia pages to all sorts of fun things. It will draw from the internet that actually exists, subtly altering things here and there so that there are references to that band. Maybe I click onto an old Reddit post and discover a bunch of comments that reference a lyric from their hit song, comments that don't exist on the original Reddit post (if that post exists at all). It becomes more entangled over time due to the natural web of conversations that develop, and thus certain things have to be altered to make things consistent— comments that exist in a certain way on that post might be altered or entirely nonexistent in this synthetic reality version, and the entire flow of the comments in that post change because of it. And that post was from 2020, and it's now 2029, so damn near the entire internet as I browse it is changed to reflect the existence of this utterly fictional band, to the point that if I log out of the WorldForger™ Reddit and back into the "real" Reddit, I might see entirely different news stories and posts because of the branches that are still extending outwards. The bots doing this have to generate all of these things, generate everything they need to generate to achieve logical coherence, and keep this reality consistent. And that's just one very tiny example. If I wanted to, say, create a timeline where there was a major war and the internet reflected this... It might seem Herculean, but it's still nothing more than editing and generating data. And again, that's just something possible in ten years, let alone in the more distant future, but it's still the root of exactly what you're talking about.

 

2: I'm that kind of freak who loves re-experiencing what I've already written. There are some text documents (100,000+ words long) that I've read through probably close to a hundred times. This same quirk of mine is the reason why I'm not bothered with repetition— I was actually shocked to learn a lot of people don't like watching a particular episode of a show they like more than twice or thrice when I could feel satisfied on the fiftieth watch. So at least for me, knowing how something ends is not bothersome— especially if I keep adding to it regardless (which is why those text documents are 100,000+ words long, with one getting close to 150,000+). I'd even argue that this is why I enjoy writing long, overwritten comments in general— just so I can go back months and years later to read them! Getting neural networks to assist with building off something pre-existing sounds like mental cocaine more than anything.


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


#20
funkervogt

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I'm drawn to futurism because it's fascinating and escapist.

 

A fan of basketball might say essentially the same thing about why they like the sport. 






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