My random thoughts

Anything that doesn't quite fit in elsewhere...
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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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funkervogt wrote: Tue Aug 31, 2021 2:28 pm Once lab-grown foods become cheap and the technology gets very advanced, we will develop a truly scientific understanding of the sense of taste. This will lead to experimentation in which wholly new types of chemical compounds are synthesized, which taste different from anything humans have ever eaten before.

Imagine a gigantic "possibilities space" of all taste signatures a human can detect, and food labs synthesizing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and meats containing every combination of them and letting people try them. Who knows what kinds of new, delicious tastes we will discover?

If we found new chemicals that were particularly tasty, we could genetically engineer existing plants to produce them, and grow strains of those plants in gardens and greenhouses. The revolution in gastronomy will be comparable to tomatoes and potatoes being introduced to Europe thanks to the Columbian Exchange.

What happens when posthumans with better senses--including taste and smell--are created? Being able to detect chemical flavors that we cannot, their possibilities space of taste signatures would be larger than ours, and the whole project would start anew. I can't imagine what simply biting into an apple would taste like to them.
Here's a related prediction that I found:
I have an irrational love of vertical farming. The combination of LED lights, cheap electricity (for water pumps), direct-use geothermal heating, and smart machine learning algorithms that determine optimal nutrient distribution could yield better produce than conventionally farmed vegetables at competitive prices. By removing pesticides, optimizing varieties for nutrition and flavor instead of hardiness on the supply chain, and ensuring quick delivery to market, vertical farms could supply a healthier and more delicious future of food.
https://elidourado.com/blog/notes-on-technology-2020s/

I agree that, for this and other reasons, food will be healthier and tastier in the future.
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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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Since robotic attack submarines won't have human crewmen, they wouldn't need to be full of air. If their interior spaces were full of water, then there would be no pressure difference with the outside, meaning their hulls could be made thinner, weaker and cheaper. Holes in the hull would also be much less problematic, and the subs could shake off damage that would cause a human sub to implode.

The one thing I'm unsure about is how a fluid-filled robotic sub's performance might suffer thanks to the extra internal weight of the fluid. Just one cubic meter of water weighs 1,000 kg, which is the same as 12 grown men.
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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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funkervogt wrote: Fri Aug 06, 2021 12:28 pm If you believe different races of humans have different innate intelligence levels, then what will upend your worldview is the fact that human genetic engineering will erase those disparities in the far future. Everyone will genetically engineer their children to be as smart as possible (presumably, the genome imposes some upper limit on how well a human brain can function, and all races of humans can be modified to meet that level), so everyone will be the same.
I just remembered that in the book The Female Man, the futuristic, all-female society was genetically augmented. One result was that, since everyone's intelligence was "maxed out," the population IQ bell curve was much narrower than today's. The women were smart in different ways, but their overall intelligence levels didn't vary much from one person to the next.
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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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Ray Kurzweil has said that his studies in futurology and tech trends reveal that most failed inventions fail because they are released onto the market too early or too late. Google Glass is an example of one that came too early. D-VHS tapes, which were introduced in 1998 when the switch to CDs and DVDs was underway and never sold well, are an example of one that came too late.

This makes me wonder about what the optimal technologies are for any given moment in time, considering the broader context of consumer needs and what other technologies are already in use.

It also makes me wonder about technologies that were never developed because they came too late, but which could have had major impacts had they been invented earlier. The bicycle and electric slow cooker pots are two examples I know of, of machines that could have been invented decades earlier than they were. Maybe there were remarkable things that were never invented because the technology paradigm they would have been part of ended too early for them, and all the inventors' energies shifted to making new things that were part of the new paradigm. For example, maybe Super-D-VHS tapes could have been invented in 1995 had the humans working in that field of technology collaborated better, or been aware of a few key technologies in other fields.

I hope we use the massive computing resources we'll have in the distant future to answer these questions. If one of our intelligent machines crash-landed on an alien planet, it could assess the aliens' level of technology, and then turn to its own database of all possible inventions to look up the most optimal types of machines it could make using what the aliens had available.
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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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Timber from "old-growth" trees is superior to that from "new-growth" trees because its growth rings are packed tighter. Old-growth timber is prized, expensive, and harder to find since so many old trees were cut down, and it takes at least 120 years for them to grow back.

By the end of this century, we'll be able to synthesize wood in labs that has better properties than even old-growth timber.
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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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I think Venus will inevitably undergo planetary engineering and colonization, even if intelligent machines are calling the shots. Right now, Venus' atmosphere is so thick and so hot that even heavy-duty machines can't survive on its surface for long before they melt. "Nature abhors a vacuum," and intelligent machines will abhor a useless, unproductive point in the middle of their solar system.

Thinning the atmosphere is by far the most important thing that will need to be done. Maybe two birds could be killed with one stone by installing a space elevator in Venus' orbit and having it slowly suck the atmosphere up into space, like a giant straw (even if it might move the gases through a different principle). The gases could be processed somehow for space manufacturing.

Even once the atmosphere was thinned and the surface cooled enough for machines to survive there, Venus might be unsuitable for humans like us. Totally new organisms, created in cloning labs to be suited for conditions on Venus, would be implanted there.
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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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No adult human today bothers playing Tic-Tac-Toe with another human to prove who is smarter because the game is so simple that it is a "solved game," and any two players can tie each other using a basic move strategy.

With that precedent in mind, let me go a step farther to predict that, to androids with superhuman strength, reflexes, and intelligence, human games of skill (e.g. - billiards, darts, chess) will be trivially easy, and it will be a waste of time for them to play against each other to prove who is better. They'll have to invent new types of games that we humans will be badly unsuited for.

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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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funkervogt wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 6:13 pm
funkervogt wrote: Tue Aug 31, 2021 2:28 pm Once lab-grown foods become cheap and the technology gets very advanced, we will develop a truly scientific understanding of the sense of taste. This will lead to experimentation in which wholly new types of chemical compounds are synthesized, which taste different from anything humans have ever eaten before.

Imagine a gigantic "possibilities space" of all taste signatures a human can detect, and food labs synthesizing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and meats containing every combination of them and letting people try them. Who knows what kinds of new, delicious tastes we will discover?

If we found new chemicals that were particularly tasty, we could genetically engineer existing plants to produce them, and grow strains of those plants in gardens and greenhouses. The revolution in gastronomy will be comparable to tomatoes and potatoes being introduced to Europe thanks to the Columbian Exchange.

What happens when posthumans with better senses--including taste and smell--are created? Being able to detect chemical flavors that we cannot, their possibilities space of taste signatures would be larger than ours, and the whole project would start anew. I can't imagine what simply biting into an apple would taste like to them.
Here's a related prediction that I found:
I have an irrational love of vertical farming. The combination of LED lights, cheap electricity (for water pumps), direct-use geothermal heating, and smart machine learning algorithms that determine optimal nutrient distribution could yield better produce than conventionally farmed vegetables at competitive prices. By removing pesticides, optimizing varieties for nutrition and flavor instead of hardiness on the supply chain, and ensuring quick delivery to market, vertical farms could supply a healthier and more delicious future of food.
https://elidourado.com/blog/notes-on-technology-2020s/

I agree that, for this and other reasons, food will be healthier and tastier in the future.
And here's yet another related article, about the ongoing effort to domesticate new plants. The article focuses on "Kernza," but there are many other candidates. In the future, there will be new varieties of crops and animals with novel tastes to them. The ultimate experience would come from brain implants, which would let you stimulate the taste and olfactory regions of your brain in all kinds of unknown ways. Things we can't imagine will become possible.
https://www.wired.com/2014/06/potato-bean/amp
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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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Someday, when intelligent robots exist (think "Sonny" from "I, Robot"), we'll find that normal physical barriers like walls and barbed wire meant to keep humans out of places won't work on the machines. They'll just be able to jump or climb over them really quickly. They'll also be skilled at picking locks.

Humans skilled at "parkour," like Oliver Thorpe, show what is possible.



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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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It also makes me wonder about technologies that were never developed because they came too late, but which could have had major impacts had they been invented earlier. The bicycle and electric slow cooker pots are two examples I know of, of machines that could have been invented decades earlier than they were. Maybe there were remarkable things that were never invented because the technology paradigm they would have been part of ended too early for them, and all the inventors' energies shifted to making new things that were part of the new paradigm.
Here are some links delving into the odd delay inventing bicycles and slow cooker pots:

https://rootsofprogress.org/why-did-we- ... he-bicycle

https://kk.org/thetechnium/progression-of/ [look in the Comments section]

The first link also reveals that the cotton gin and the "flying shuttle" device used for weaving clothes were very useful and could have been invented decades or even centuries earlier than they were.
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