Reply to topic  [ 1083 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 40, 41, 42, 43, 44  Next
Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread 
Author Message
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:45 am
Posts: 281
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Heh, I'm gonna do an inelegant sidestep of the main question (the usability of Dyson swarms is about as far from us as the Three Gorges Dam is from Homo Erectus) an focus on two tidbits:
Arioch wrote:
We don't all have household atomic reactors or flying cars today, not because they're not technically feasible, but because they not a good idea.

Ya don't even need a full blown reactor. A fission product heat battery is all it takes to warm a small environ on, say, Mars.
Here's a brochure from Moltex discussing the intricacies of their Stable Salt Reactor:
https://www.moltexenergy.com/learnmore/ ... tfolio.pdf
On page 23: "One of the waste products discussed above is the electrolyte salt. The salt can hold extremely high quantities of fission products by weight. As the fission products are the main heat producing elements in the medium term (primarily caesium and strontium) the salt is a valuable source of high grade heat that does not require maintenance and can be easily transported to its point of use. The quantity of heat available is in the kilowatt to hundreds of kilowatts range and can be extremely valuable for certain applications. These include remote military sites, space exploration, remote communities, hospitals and mines. Conventional fission product heat is too dilute to be usable. It is only now that it is in concentrated form that it becomes usable and valuable".
So put the stuff in an armored cylinder, bury it, and watch it heat itself for a few decades (all while incidentally turning it's contents into rare earth elements).

Arioch wrote:
but also because I find a lot of it personally repellant. Just because it may soon be possible for humans to transform themselves into posthuman monstrosities doesn't necessarily mean that most or even many people will..

Monstrosities? You mean people with eidetic (but still selective!) memories, that could see in the dark, do not get cancers, can survive high doses of radiation, maintain fitness with ease, do not suffer from MS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, lupus, IBD or age-related movement, mental or sensory decline? Growing teeth and limbs? Avoiding Down or Tourette syndrome?
I, for one, suffer from polycystic kidney syndrome, so I'd be more than glad to find a way to permanently remove this danger (it can be kept under control, as I am doing, but the dread is real, especially with my family history). Same for cancer, diabetes, my horrible vision and a whole host of other things.
And I very much doubt that our primate brains will accept enhancements that are Borg-like in appearance. Most of the stuff will be hidden. Those people will simply be...better. Healthier, better looking, better memories, stronger, faster, more tireless...
I expect some people will opt out. That's fine. The Amish opt out for the trappings of modern technology. However... the Amish would fare very poorly in say Africa, or Europe, where others that have NOT made their choices have extreme advantages. So, yes, one can opt out, but there are consequences. You end up becoming obsolete (perhaps not in your lifetime, but eventually). Life is, after all, a competition. One grits his death and fights until death.
The only question is cost. If the wealthy become "better" then...yeah, you can see where I'm going with this....


Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:16 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:26 pm
Posts: 1659
Location: Athens, Greece
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Quote:
Monstrosities? You mean people with eidetic (but still selective!) memories, that could see in the dark, do not get cancers, can survive high doses of radiation, maintain fitness with ease, do not suffer from MS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, lupus, IBD or age-related movement, mental or sensory decline? Growing teeth and limbs? Avoiding Down or Tourette syndrome?
I, for one, suffer from polycystic kidney syndrome, so I'd be more than glad to find a way to permanently remove this danger (it can be kept under control, as I am doing, but the dread is real, especially with my family history). Same for cancer, diabetes, my horrible vision and a whole host of other things.
And I very much doubt that our primate brains will accept enhancements that are Borg-like in appearance. Most of the stuff will be hidden. Those people will simply be...better. Healthier, better looking, better memories, stronger, faster, more tireless...
I expect some people will opt out. That's fine. The Amish opt out for the trappings of modern technology. However... the Amish would fare very poorly in say Africa, or Europe, where others that have NOT made their choices have extreme advantages. So, yes, one can opt out, but there are consequences. You end up becoming obsolete (perhaps not in your lifetime, but eventually). Life is, after all, a competition. One grits his death and fights until death.
The only question is cost. If the wealthy become "better" then...yeah, you can see where I'm going with this....


I think that Arioch meant post human 'enhancements' that were more in line with the cybernetic enhancements from the 'Deus Ex' series, cybernetic limbs and enhancements that are inherently repellent in shape and form while being 'monstrous' in its strength and applications. What you describe is parallel to modern day pacemakers.

_________________
My fan fics:

Looking forward to the mirror (Delayed editing)
Reforged (Irregular updates)
The Pale Horse (Completed, could use some editing)


Sun Jan 26, 2020 7:26 am
Profile
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:19 pm
Posts: 3170
Location: San Jose, CA
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Mr.Tucker wrote:
Monstrosities? You mean people with eidetic (but still selective!) memories, that could see in the dark, do not get cancers, can survive high doses of radiation, maintain fitness with ease, do not suffer from MS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, lupus, IBD or age-related movement, mental or sensory decline?

Yes.

Mr.Tucker wrote:
I expect some people will opt out. That's fine. The Amish opt out for the trappings of modern technology.

It's a subjective thing, and different people will draw the line in different places, but I don't think most humans are as eager at the prospect of self-mutilation as your typical sample of hardcore science fiction fans. Right now in the United States, genetic modification of humans is illegal; this is not just some random government overreach, but instead represents (in my opinion) a deep apprehension of most people toward tampering with the fundamental nature of humanity. Maybe these attitudes will change in the future, and maybe they won't. My point is mainly that just because technology opens a door doesn't necessarily mean that society will be eager to walk through it. And the right of the individual to do as he pleases ends at the point where what he pleases threatens the stability of society.

_________________
Outsider


Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:27 am
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:22 pm
Posts: 381
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
It's a subjective thing, and different people will draw the line in different places, but I don't think most humans are as eager at the prospect of self-mutilation as your typical sample of hardcore science fiction fans. Right now in the United States, genetic modification of humans is illegal; this is not just some random government overreach, but instead represents (in my opinion) a deep apprehension of most people toward tampering with the fundamental nature of humanity. Maybe these attitudes will change in the future, and maybe they won't. My point is mainly that just because technology opens a door doesn't necessarily mean that society will be eager to walk through it. And the right of the individual to do as he pleases ends at the point where what he pleases threatens the stability of society.

I've been reading Robert Zubrin's The Case For Space. He talks a lot about this sort of thing in it. You're right that most people on Earth have an apprehension about messing with what makes a human. But what happens when we start colonising the solar system? Who will be the first people on Mars?

Hardcore science fiction fans.

Will that apprehension remain when people living on Mars are thinking about how cool it would be to have bones that could survive Earth gravity, or to make themselves resistant to the higher radiation so they can spend more time on the surface?

A frontier will be settled by the adventurous, not by the timid.

_________________
If every cloud had a silver lining, there would be a lot more plane crashes.


Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:09 pm
Profile
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:19 pm
Posts: 3170
Location: San Jose, CA
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
RedDwarfIV wrote:
Who will be the first people on Mars?

Hardcore science fiction fans.

I rather doubt that. Early colonization efforts will require a level of toughness, physical fitness and sheer drive that is... how to say it... somewhat lacking in most of the hardcore science fiction fans I know. And I include myself in that category. I don't think I would do very well on Mars.

That said, I agree that the frontier will be the place where there is the most opportunity and reward to try formerly taboo things, due to the harsh demands of alien environments, enabled by the freedom from old world establishments. However, the pitfalls of the unintended consequences of social engineering will be just as dangerous on a new world as they are on the old one, if not more so. There is no guarantee that such experiments will work out as expected.

I have plenty of story ideas where there are gene tailoring experiments going on in the colony worlds, so I'm not saying that it won't happen. I'm saying that I don't necessarily expect it to become the norm, even in the colonies.

But the original question was about cyberpunk-style neural interfaces; we've kind of gotten off into the weeds here.

RedDwarfIV wrote:
A frontier will be settled by the adventurous, not by the timid.

No doubt, but I don't think adventurousness and timidity is really what we're talking about here. There is nothing "timid" about holding traditional or conservative views of humanity. The frontiersmen of the Renaissance and early Industrial Age were extremely adventurous and not a bit timid, but they were also overwhelmingly extremely conservative and traditional when it came to social outlook and religion. I have a feeling that many if not most of the colonists in the extrasolar frontier are going to be very traditional, hardworking people looking for new independence and opportunity, but not necessarily a new definition of humanity. Frontier nations may be even more socially and ideologically conservative than those of the old world.

_________________
Outsider


Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:56 pm
Profile WWW

Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:00 pm
Posts: 475
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
It is very easy to build a Dysonswarm but it takes a lot of time to do so, thousands of years or more. We could start building today if we really wanted but we better build our first space habitat in earth orbit first.

For hiding implants, well most people would but there are people that make massive alterations to their apperance to the point that they do not look human anymore. I saw a person with artificial horns added to his forehead, under the skin and that was just a minor alteration.


Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:01 pm
Profile

Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:27 am
Posts: 504
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
RedDwarfIV wrote:
Who will be the first people on Mars?

Hardcore science fiction fans.

I rather doubt that. Early colonization efforts will require a level of toughness, physical fitness and sheer drive that is... how to say it... somewhat lacking in most of the hardcore science fiction fans I know. And I include myself in that category. I don't think I would do very well on Mars.

That said, I agree that the frontier will be the place where there is the most opportunity and reward to try formerly taboo things, due to the harsh demands of alien environments, enabled by the freedom from old world establishments. However, the pitfalls of the unintended consequences of social engineering will be just as dangerous on a new world as they are on the old one, if not more so. There is no guarantee that such experiments will work out as expected.

I have plenty of story ideas where there are gene tailoring experiments going on in the colony worlds, so I'm not saying that it won't happen. I'm saying that I don't necessarily expect it to become the norm, even in the colonies.

But the original question was about cyberpunk-style neural interfaces; we've kind of gotten off into the weeds here.

RedDwarfIV wrote:
A frontier will be settled by the adventurous, not by the timid.

No doubt, but I don't think adventurousness and timidity is really what we're talking about here. There is nothing "timid" about holding traditional or conservative views of humanity. The frontiersmen of the Renaissance and early Industrial Age were extremely adventurous and not a bit timid, but they were also overwhelmingly extremely conservative and traditional when it came to social outlook and religion. I have a feeling that many if not most of the colonists in the extrasolar frontier are going to be very traditional, hardworking people looking for new independence and opportunity, but not necessarily a new definition of humanity. Frontier nations may be even more socially and ideologically conservative than those of the old world.


The american frontier was certainly more conservative than europe, and remained so for far longer. Once my kind of people get to mars it's probably going to be crawling with conservatives and the amish. Star Trek will be Star Evangelism.


Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:52 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:22 pm
Posts: 381
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
I rather doubt that. Early colonization efforts will require a level of toughness, physical fitness and sheer drive that is... how to say it... somewhat lacking in most of the hardcore science fiction fans I know. And I include myself in that category. I don't think I would do very well on Mars.

That said, I agree that the frontier will be the place where there is the most opportunity and reward to try formerly taboo things, due to the harsh demands of alien environments, enabled by the freedom from old world establishments. However, the pitfalls of the unintended consequences of social engineering will be just as dangerous on a new world as they are on the old one, if not more so. There is no guarantee that such experiments will work out as expected.

I have plenty of story ideas where there are gene tailoring experiments going on in the colony worlds, so I'm not saying that it won't happen. I'm saying that I don't necessarily expect it to become the norm, even in the colonies.

But the original question was about cyberpunk-style neural interfaces; we've kind of gotten off into the weeds here.

Most sci-fi nerds aren't astronauts, but most astronauts are sci-fi nerds. Yes, most hardcore sci-fi fans are not going to be suitable, but the ones that are will be the ones doing it, precisely because of how tough colonising Mars will be. Until colonies become properly established, to the point that normal people can live in them to a standard not far off from current Earth normal, its going to be way more difficult to live on Mars than on Earth and just paying people more isn't going to cut it. You'll need people who want to be there.

The experiments that don't work will pack up and go back to Earth. The ones that do work will stay, and may offer proof of concept for others. That's a feature, not a bug.

Its true that it won't neccesarily become normal. Please don't get the idea that I am telling you that you are making the setting wrong. Most sci-fi settings avoid topics like transhumanism, because it can make it harder to relate to the characters. Even in the setting I'm writing, transhumanism is not common and tends to be confined to specific colonies or asteroid habitats, and they probably are seen as weird.

Arioch wrote:
RedDwarfIV wrote:
A frontier will be settled by the adventurous, not by the timid.

No doubt, but I don't think adventurousness and timidity is really what we're talking about here. There is nothing "timid" about holding traditional or conservative views of humanity. The frontiersmen of the Renaissance and early Industrial Age were extremely adventurous and not a bit timid, but they were also overwhelmingly extremely conservative and traditional when it came to social outlook and religion. I have a feeling that many if not most of the colonists in the extrasolar frontier are going to be very traditional, hardworking people looking for new independence and opportunity, but not necessarily a new definition of humanity. Frontier nations may be even more socially and ideologically conservative than those of the old world.

Good point, well put. I can imagine people leaving Earth to escape political correctness and the continual social drift towards left wing values. Though I can also see radicals like communists and fascists leaving Earth to set up colonies where they won't be interfered with and can work with likeminded people, rather than imposing their beliefs on an unwilling population.

_________________
If every cloud had a silver lining, there would be a lot more plane crashes.


Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:13 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:55 pm
Posts: 85
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Quote:
Good point, well put. I can imagine people leaving Earth to escape political correctness and the continual social drift towards left wing values. Though I can also see radicals like communists and fascists leaving Earth to set up colonies where they won't be interfered with and can work with likeminded people, rather than imposing their beliefs on an unwilling population.


I can see both trying to settle on Mars...and than, eventually, the conflicts will start. Either with each other over resources and ideology, or first with Earth, as the "evil" overlord/imperialist world that needs liberation from, followed by eventual civil war on Mars....if they manage independence without being fixed politically and socially.


Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:54 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:22 pm
Posts: 381
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Ithekro wrote:
Quote:
Good point, well put. I can imagine people leaving Earth to escape political correctness and the continual social drift towards left wing values. Though I can also see radicals like communists and fascists leaving Earth to set up colonies where they won't be interfered with and can work with likeminded people, rather than imposing their beliefs on an unwilling population.


I can see both trying to settle on Mars...and than, eventually, the conflicts will start. Either with each other over resources and ideology, or first with Earth, as the "evil" overlord/imperialist world that needs liberation from, followed by eventual civil war on Mars....if they manage independence without being fixed politically and socially.

Congratulations on correctly guessing what part of the book series I'm writing will involve.

_________________
If every cloud had a silver lining, there would be a lot more plane crashes.


Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:03 am
Profile

Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:27 am
Posts: 504
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
RedDwarfIV wrote:
Ithekro wrote:
Quote:
Good point, well put. I can imagine people leaving Earth to escape political correctness and the continual social drift towards left wing values. Though I can also see radicals like communists and fascists leaving Earth to set up colonies where they won't be interfered with and can work with likeminded people, rather than imposing their beliefs on an unwilling population.


I can see both trying to settle on Mars...and than, eventually, the conflicts will start. Either with each other over resources and ideology, or first with Earth, as the "evil" overlord/imperialist world that needs liberation from, followed by eventual civil war on Mars....if they manage independence without being fixed politically and socially.

Congratulations on correctly guessing what part of the book series I'm writing will involve.

For communists to settle on mars would be to breach with marxist doctrine. Communism is supposed to inevitably rise out of the contradictions of capitalism, and capitalism has to rise out of feudalism, which has to rise out of primitivism. Communists would have to clone some neanderthals, drop them on mars, and then wait for the revolution.


Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:01 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:38 pm
Posts: 352
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Did someone say communism?


Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:33 am
Profile

Joined: Tue May 26, 2015 3:33 am
Posts: 643
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Here's another question - what would be humanity's stance towards artificial intelligence in Outsiderverse?

I don't think that there will be a true self aware AI with human technology origins, it may still be 'just around the corner' as it has always been for the last decades. But... apart from the feasability, what would be the legal stance on building such an AI? It could be about anything from being completely outlawed up to being granted people's rights, after all.

Though my guess would be that creating a true general purpose, self aware AI would be outlawed, and specialized AI applications which mimic intelligent behavior (as it is right now, for the most part) would be the extent of it.


Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:02 pm
Profile
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:19 pm
Posts: 3170
Location: San Jose, CA
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
novius wrote:
Here's another question - what would be humanity's stance towards artificial intelligence in Outsiderverse?

I don't think that there will be a true self aware AI with human technology origins, it may still be 'just around the corner' as it has always been for the last decades. But... apart from the feasability, what would be the legal stance on building such an AI? It could be about anything from being completely outlawed up to being granted people's rights, after all.

Though my guess would be that creating a true general purpose, self aware AI would be outlawed, and specialized AI applications which mimic intelligent behavior (as it is right now, for the most part) would be the extent of it.

I think it would be difficult as a practical matter to outlaw something that we don't really know how to define. What exactly is self-awareness or sentience?

Today's expert systems are getting very capable, and with "machine learning" techniques this will probably only accelerate... and it probably won't be long before some AI systems can pass the "Turing test", that is, to be able to fool a human into thinking that it is another human. But this is not the same thing as being truly intelligent and "self aware." I'm not really sure what the practical purpose of "self aware" AI is supposed to be, and so I don't see why it would be something that would or should be pursued. I guess humans have a desire to make things in our own image, but the main strength of AI is in how it doesn't think like humans; for tasks that require thinking like a human, humans are extremely capable. An AI can be as smart as a human or even smarter without being "self aware". If properly designed, software does what you program it to do, even when it gets smarter than you are.

I'm also not sure why such a thing would need to be outlawed. As long as you don't give it control of weapons of mass destruction and automated factories, I don't think it does any harm to have an AI in a box somewhere that is self-aware.

I think the situation which may arise is that governments may try to outlaw the practice of replacing certain human jobs with AI. I'm not sure that will be effective either, but that probably won't prevent them from trying. I'm not terribly afraid of a future in which all human workers are replaced with machines or software... if companies get rid of all their human employees, no one will have any money to buy their products. You can already see this in cases like Wal-Mart increasing wages on the realization that their employees are also some of their best customers.

I could also see rules that explicitly criminalize (as fraud) attempts by AI to pass itself off as human.

_________________
Outsider


Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:38 pm
Profile WWW

Joined: Tue May 26, 2015 3:33 am
Posts: 643
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
I'm also not sure why such a thing would need to be outlawed. As long as you don't give it control of weapons of mass destruction and automated factories, I don't think it does any harm to have an AI in a box somewhere that is self-aware.


Sound reasoning, but the problem is that it is that -- reasoning. And as we've seen it time and again, reasoning has often enough little value in the process of making laws. There is that deep rooted fear that humans might find themselves not at the top of the food chain any longer - be it monsters, aliens -- or their own creation running rampant. Especially when it comes to the line of thought that an AI might decide that humans are too much a violent species or a danger to keep around and need to be exterminated.

So my thought is, that as soon as there may be a general purpose AI on the horizon, something that is able to read the internet and draw its own conclusions - we're not talking about acting on them yet - there will be a lot of fear mongering and any further development in such a direction will be swiftly outlawed.

Same as there is the thought that any alien species would decide to either wall off the solar system or nuke Earth into oblivion as soon as they get a good long look at humanity.

Perhaps they already did the former. Frankly, I wouldn't fault them for that.

Quote:
I could also see rules that explicitly criminalize (as fraud) attempts by AI to pass itself off as human.


I've already seen Slashdot articles hinting towards that, that a (Google?) chatterbot has been changed to identify itself as a bot right at the start of a phone call.


Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:16 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:22 pm
Posts: 381
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
Today's expert systems are getting very capable, and with "machine learning" techniques this will probably only accelerate... and it probably won't be long before some AI systems can pass the "Turing test", that is, to be able to fool a human into thinking that it is another human. But this is not the same thing as being truly intelligent and "self aware." I'm not really sure what the practical purpose of "self aware" AI is supposed to be, and so I don't see why it would be something that would or should be pursued.

To give an example from Outsider, automated scout ships. I asked about them a few years ago, and I believe your response was that they weren't smart enough to survive unforseen problems. Hence crewed scout ships like the Bellarmine.

If you had a human-level self-aware intelligence, you could cut down crew requirements (perhaps to zero) and make the spacecraft itself much less massive. (If you kept the Bennet class' engines, you would have a spacecraft that could accelerate faster than the actual Bennet.) It could also have a far longer mission time (probably limited by how long the AI can survive isolation. Not being human, it may have no need for social interaction to stay sane.)

_________________
If every cloud had a silver lining, there would be a lot more plane crashes.


Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:34 am
Profile

Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:04 pm
Posts: 198
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
Today's expert systems are getting very capable, and with "machine learning" techniques this will probably only accelerate... and it probably won't be long before some AI systems can pass the "Turing test", that is, to be able to fool a human into thinking that it is another human. But this is not the same thing as being truly intelligent and "self aware." I'm not really sure what the practical purpose of "self aware" AI is supposed to be, and so I don't see why it would be something that would or should be pursued. I guess humans have a desire to make things in our own image, but the main strength of AI is in how it doesn't think like humans; for tasks that require thinking like a human, humans are extremely capable. An AI can be as smart as a human or even smarter without being "self aware". If properly designed, software does what you program it to do, even when it gets smarter than you are.

To make von Neumann probes to explore, prep for colonization, and conquer the galaxy in the name of Humanity, even long after it has died from unknown, or forgotten causes.


Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:50 am
Profile
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:19 pm
Posts: 3170
Location: San Jose, CA
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
RedDwarfIV wrote:
Arioch wrote:
Today's expert systems are getting very capable, and with "machine learning" techniques this will probably only accelerate... and it probably won't be long before some AI systems can pass the "Turing test", that is, to be able to fool a human into thinking that it is another human. But this is not the same thing as being truly intelligent and "self aware." I'm not really sure what the practical purpose of "self aware" AI is supposed to be, and so I don't see why it would be something that would or should be pursued.

To give an example from Outsider, automated scout ships. I asked about them a few years ago, and I believe your response was that they weren't smart enough to survive unforseen problems. Hence crewed scout ships like the Bellarmine.

If you had a human-level self-aware intelligence, you could cut down crew requirements (perhaps to zero) and make the spacecraft itself much less massive. (If you kept the Bennet class' engines, you would have a spacecraft that could accelerate faster than the actual Bennet.) It could also have a far longer mission time (probably limited by how long the AI can survive isolation. Not being human, it may have no need for social interaction to stay sane.)

There are two problems for unmanned ships: the first is high-level decision-making, which can be solved by remote control or high-level AI (assuming you trust your AI to make important decisions for you). But the second is the need for hands to keep the ship running, and sophisticated minds to make these hands work. Today's commercial container ships are extensively automated and more or less drive themselves, but large 300+m vessels still require 22+ crew members just to keep them running. 2-4 are cooks and stewards to service the crew, but the rest are kept busy full-time inspecting and maintaining the huge number of systems on the ship, about half in the engine room and half on the deck and cargo. A modern military destroyer of 150m+ has a crew of over 300, partially because there are more complex systems to maintain and operate, and partially because a warship must have a full crew available to be on alert 24-7, but also because on a warship you expect for things to go wrong, as people will be shooting at you. These requirements will be different in space; there will be less maintenance due to water and weather, but more due to new factors such as radiation.

You can design an unmanned ship to run without maintenance and with redundant systems, but this will limit its complexity and capability, and inevitably systems will fail. Today's unmanned spacecraft are limited in endurance not only by fuel supply but also by the rate at which their mechanical systems fail. Military vessels will be completely unable to repair damage. Solving this problem with automation means creating maintenance robots with both the manual dexterity and the intelligence and self-sustainability of a human crewman, and that's not a small ask. Self-repairing systems are, I think, more nanotech fantasy than they are plausible at this tech level.

So, to have an autonomous starship, you need to more than just a HAL, you also need to have a crew of WALL-E's. That may be possible at a high enough tech level (after all, that's essentially what the Historians do), but I don't think it works at the tech level of the major combatants. It's true that this is fundamentally a story requirement (there are no characters if ships are unmanned), but think that it is not implausible.

_________________
Outsider


Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:18 am
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:22 pm
Posts: 381
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
RedDwarfIV wrote:
Arioch wrote:
Today's expert systems are getting very capable, and with "machine learning" techniques this will probably only accelerate... and it probably won't be long before some AI systems can pass the "Turing test", that is, to be able to fool a human into thinking that it is another human. But this is not the same thing as being truly intelligent and "self aware." I'm not really sure what the practical purpose of "self aware" AI is supposed to be, and so I don't see why it would be something that would or should be pursued.

To give an example from Outsider, automated scout ships. I asked about them a few years ago, and I believe your response was that they weren't smart enough to survive unforseen problems. Hence crewed scout ships like the Bellarmine.

If you had a human-level self-aware intelligence, you could cut down crew requirements (perhaps to zero) and make the spacecraft itself much less massive. (If you kept the Bennet class' engines, you would have a spacecraft that could accelerate faster than the actual Bennet.) It could also have a far longer mission time (probably limited by how long the AI can survive isolation. Not being human, it may have no need for social interaction to stay sane.)

There are two problems for unmanned ships: the first is high-level decision-making, which can be solved by remote control or high-level AI (assuming you trust your AI to make important decisions for you). But the second is the need for hands to keep the ship running, and sophisticated minds to make these hands work. Today's commercial container ships are extensively automated and more or less drive themselves, but large 300+m vessels still require 22+ crew members just to keep them running. 2-4 are cooks and stewards to service the crew, but the rest are kept busy full-time inspecting and maintaining the huge number of systems on the ship, about half in the engine room and half on the deck and cargo. A modern military destroyer of 150m+ has a crew of over 300, partially because there are more complex systems to maintain and operate, and partially because a warship must have a full crew available to be on alert 24-7, but also because on a warship you expect for things to go wrong, as people will be shooting at you. These requirements will be different in space; there will be less maintenance due to water and weather, but more due to new factors such as radiation.

You can design an unmanned ship to run without maintenance and with redundant systems, but this will limit its complexity and capability, and inevitably systems will fail. Today's unmanned spacecraft are limited in endurance not only by fuel supply but also by the rate at which their mechanical systems fail. Military vessels will be completely unable to repair damage. Solving this problem with automation means creating maintenance robots with both the manual dexterity and the intelligence and self-sustainability of a human crewman, and that's not a small ask. Self-repairing systems are, I think, more nanotech fantasy than they are plausible at this tech level.

So, to have an autonomous starship, you need to more than just a HAL, you also need to have a crew of WALL-E's. That may be possible at a high enough tech level (after all, that's essentially what the Historians do), but I don't think it works at the tech level of the major combatants. It's true that this is fundamentally a story requirement (there are no characters if ships are unmanned), but think that it is not implausible.

It becomes a case of pros and cons. As you say, its not implausible.

You can get more minds on an AI starship just by adding more computers, if the AIs can't multitask well (I'd expect AIs to be very good at multitasking though.) Any 'crew' robots don't require sleep, so they can respond to problems at any time of day with no issues. Assuming the starship is piloted by a human-level intelligence AI anyway, you already have a controlling intelligence for the repair robots.


As I noted though, I was specifically talking about scout ships, not warships in general (the book series The Lost Fleet has an entire plot arc devoted to the issues with giving AIs command of warships.) Doesn't even have to replace manned scouts entirely - the automated units could carry out routine survey work, jumping to every system they can reach, while the manned units do the unusual things like first contact.

_________________
If every cloud had a silver lining, there would be a lot more plane crashes.


Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:34 pm
Profile
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:19 pm
Posts: 3170
Location: San Jose, CA
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
RedDwarfIV wrote:
As I noted though, I was specifically talking about scout ships, not warships in general (the book series The Lost Fleet has an entire plot arc devoted to the issues with giving AIs command of warships.) Doesn't even have to replace manned scouts entirely - the automated units could carry out routine survey work, jumping to every system they can reach, while the manned units do the unusual things like first contact.

Even the smallest possible jump-capable scout is a very expensive piece of hardware... too expensive to be expendable. I don't see an advantage to taking the crews off.

And when you're exploring new systems, you won't generally know when there's going to be a new first contact until it happens.

_________________
Outsider


Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:42 pm
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:55 pm
Posts: 85
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
How often would the AI ships have to come back? There is no FTL radio communications type systems here. Or at least none that can get information between stars within a usable timeframe.
The human ships would also need to come home to report in, but it be more expected for a human crewed ship to come home.

In a universe with known alien species, a preprogrammed AI designed to move on to the next system, survey any planets, leave a data buoy for the next ship, than jump to the next system could cause an diplomatic incident by casually scanning all sorts of things another planetary or interstellar power might not want random alien human species to scan. The probe ship would get blow apart or captured, and these incensed aliens might be able to track it back in the general direction it came from just by following the data buoys from system to system.


Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:56 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2019 1:01 pm
Posts: 118
Location: In a Galaxy Far Far away
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
How extensive would the entertainment would be allowed on the ship? I am expecting data storage to have improved quite a bit, and many a ship at sea often turn meating rooms into movie theaters when not needed for official buisness.

I suspect most of the crew will need something to kill any long periods of bordom, or moments to bond over either a good movie or a good video game selection.


Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:43 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:57 am
Posts: 23
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
SaintofM wrote:
How extensive would the entertainment would be allowed on the ship? I am expecting data storage to have improved quite a bit, and many a ship at sea often turn meating rooms into movie theaters when not needed for official buisness.

I suspect most of the crew will need something to kill any long periods of bordom, or moments to bond over either a good movie or a good video game selection.


A zillion movies / games / books on the future version of blackberry pi / VR, and the time immemorial military staples: dice and cards. David Drake's RCN series comes to mind - crew members are allowed to bring on board 1.5 cubic feet of material.


Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:13 am
Profile
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:19 pm
Posts: 3170
Location: San Jose, CA
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Given the expected storage capacity of TL10 computer systems, I would expect the media libraries to be extensive.

_________________
Outsider


Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:52 am
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:55 pm
Posts: 85
Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Tactically, what options do the Terrans have in facing either of the currant combatants in a small skirmish in neutral space?

Strategically, Terrans have an advantage of being a long ways away from both major combatant's spheres of influence, and thus to mount any kind of offensive in the direction of Earth would require a large supply train or a long series of expeditions to set up supply bases as their territory expands in Earth's direction to reduce the length of the supply chain.

While Earth doesn't have much of a fleet, and they are technologically inferior. I wonder if they have the means of forming a commerce raiding group that could attack a long supply chain?


Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:23 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 1083 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 40, 41, 42, 43, 44  Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware for PTF.