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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In space sci fi films and shows, humans are usually depicted as being weaker, slower and smaller than most aliens. I doubt this will turn out to be accurate.

By the time we have the technology to travel far into space, we will also have the technology to radically re-engineer our bodies. This means the first astronauts to make contact with aliens will be 7-foot-tall superhumans, or extremely powerful robot bodies that are piloted by human brains or human minds that have been uploaded into their onboard computers.

If anything, WE will be the terrifyingly strong, fast, and big aliens.
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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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An argument against using genetic engineering to remove mental illnesses from the human genepool is that it would deprive us of great thinkers and artists. It's true that many of the great works of art, music and literature, as well as many philosophical insights, came from the minds of "neuroatypical" people who experienced emotional depths and had perspectives that mainstream people simply did not. Not only was this due to fundamental differences in the ways that their minds work relative to "neurotypical" people, but also due to their status as outsiders and even outcasts.

While the works that mentally ill people have produced throughout history are invaluable to humankind as a whole, producing them came at a heavy price for the former. The life stories of countless great artists and intellectuals are rich with suffering and often end in tragedy.

In the future, we will have it within our means to cleanse the human genepool of alleles that cause mental illnesses, and to ensure that fetuses don't develop in ways that raise the odds of mental illness. It will diminish humankind's creative output, but we'll have to weigh that against the reduction in suffering. As a civilization, we will have to ask ourselves whether it is ethical to create neuroatypical humans, knowing they will suffer much worse than average, because we want to enjoy the unique products of their minds.

For the last week, I've thought about this issue, and believe I have a solution: Instead of humans being born into one mental state not of their choosing, and being stuck like that until death, we could use technology to let people fundamentally alter how their minds work. We could incent some fraction of the population to "serve time" as schizophrenics, manic-depressives, or even as the cognitively disabled. Those experiences would be very enriching and humbling, and people in the middle of them would produce divergent or tormented art, literature, music, or philosophical observations just as their contemporary counterparts do.

With medical immortality, serving 50 years as a poor, depressed artist becomes a vanishingly small portion of one's life anyway, so the suffering that one experiences during it would eventually go to zero.

https://partiallyexaminedlife.com/2020/ ... il-cioran/
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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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Autonomous cars not designed even for optional human driving will lack side view mirrors, which will improve the vehicles' fuel efficiency. Cameras pointing out of the sides of the cars will replace the mirrors.
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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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I like reading about 20th century wars, and it's fascinating to see how the different combatants often had weapons with different strengths and weaknesses. WWII is especially interesting in this regard. The different sides captured examples of their enemies' weapons early on, analyzed them, and gained insights from them which often inspired development of their own weapons. However, it was very rare for one side to outright copy a weapon from an enemy ("Why didn't the Germans just copy the T-34 tank?"). Aside from national pride, one reason for this was an inability to deduce a weapon's manufacturing process by looking at its finished state. Figuring out how to set up a factory to make an item is harder than most people realize.

Quantum computers and deep learning algorithms will solve this problem by rapidly testing every sensible configuration of machines and manufacturing steps in a 1:1 factory simulations until they find the optimal setup. You would break a weapon down into its individual components and input data on their sizes, shapes, and how they connect to each other into the computer, and it would tell you how to make it. Through this process, you might even discover a way to make the weapon more efficiently than its inventors had.
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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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Most mechanical locks will become useless in the future since robots will excel at picking them. As this video shows, a key-sized piece of metal with a tiny camera in it can be shoved into a lock to photograph the interior, and the photos can be used to fashion a key with the right shape in a few minutes.



I can imagine something faster and more advanced than that: A few "machine-ants" could be inserted into a lock. They would have cameras and some onboard processing capabilities. Each one would get under a different pin in the lock, and they would push their respective pins upwards by the right amount to unlock the lock. Their camera vision would show them how long the pins were, so they'd know how far to move each pin. Once this was done, a person would just need to stick a paper clip bent into a "L" shape into the lock to rotate it and open the lock.

Something like a Terminator could have lockpicking machines integrated into its own body.
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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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If we ever have to fight against machines for control of Earth, it's not just a question of whether we will win, but of whether we will deserve to win.

Note: My current struggles with problems caused by other peoples' laziness, incompetence, and sloppiness are influencing my thinking.
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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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I bet a lot of old video games that people have now forgotten about could have successful new leases on life if re-released with modern graphics, better NPC AI, and with their worst faults--identified by human players--fixed through various redesigns.
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Yuli Ban
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Re: My random thoughts

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funkervogt wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 11:00 pm I bet a lot of old video games that people have now forgotten about could have successful new leases on life if re-released with modern graphics, better NPC AI, and with their worst faults--identified by human players--fixed through various redesigns.
This is already happening in an increasing amount. There's still a limit on how obscure games need to be before they get remasters because the people willing to do this need to be aware of them and have appropriate feelings for them, but this is definitely a phenomenon occurring. Just recently I just discovered someone remastering Star Wars: Dark Forces with modern graphics and AI. Never thought I'd see that one.
And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future
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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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I just watched a film set during the Napoleonic Wars. There was a stereotypical scene where a man injured in battle slowly dies of an infection afterward as his comrades look on, helplessly, and another where an injured doctor is forced to do surgery on himself to remove a bullet. The latter was very gruesome.

In the far future, mortally wounded cyborgs and posthumans will be able to simply switch themselves off or go into hibernation, respectively, until help arrived. It would be advantageous to engineer posthumans with the ability to suspend their own life functions at will, as Alaskan wood frogs can. Maybe posthumans could have the ability to "freeze" each other in case one of them was both mortally wounded and also unable to put itself into hibernation due to the injuries.

Doing surgery on one's self will also be very easy for cyborgs, as they won't feel pain and will be able to detach body parts and then reattach them when fixed. Posthumans could also do self-surgery if they had the ability to switch off their pain receptors at will.
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funkervogt
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Re: My random thoughts

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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.

This also means the future descendants of people you consider to belong to a "dumber" racial group will be vastly smarter than you are now.
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