Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for the ‘Robots’ Category

The Zeroth Law of Robotics

In Isaac Asimov’s fiction, all robots were programmed with the First Law of Robotics: “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.”

When a particular very long-lived robot became hyper self-aware, it didn’t turn on humanity, instead it developed a higher level law, the Zeroth Law of Robotics, “A robot may not harm humanity, or through inaction allow humanity to come to harm,” and thus the robot could circumvent the first law for the good of humanity. Zeroth Law wasn’t used in a sinister manner; the robot was the good guy.

Of course, it’s all just fiction. But I think we overestimate the likelihood that AI will become evil, so long as we take precautions like the First Law of Robotics.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 29, 2017 at EDT pm

Posted in Robots, Uncategorized

Ex Machina (2015)

I am going to talk about the movie’s ending. My advice is to not read this post until you watch the movie. It’s a pretty good movie. If you like movies in general, and like my blog posts about AI and robots, then this is a highly recommended movie to watch.


Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 27, 2017 at EDT am

Posted in Movies, Robots

Robots in the gas main

The “robot” describe in this NY Times article is a human-controlled robot and not an independent thinking robot. Nevertheless, a human-controlled robot is less expensive for repairing gas mains than sending humans down there.

I wrote about human-controlled robots more than ten years ago, it’s taking a surprisingly long time for them to be developed. Eventually, I predict that the humans controlling the robots will be in India or other low-wage countries, putting Americans out of work.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 26, 2017 at EDT am

Posted in Robots

Are UFOs from Atlantis?

No, I don’t mean that the UFOs are from the prole resort hotel complex in the Bahamas.

* * *

If (and please note the word “if” here) the unidentified flying objects are advanced technological aircraft beyond the capabilities of known human technology, everyone then assumes they must be extraterrestrial in origin.

But I don’t think that’s the most likely explanation. We only know for sure of one planet in the galaxy that has given rise to intelligent life, and that’s our own planet. Furthermore, if the UFOs were built by a terrestrial civilization, it solves the problem of how they traveled here from a distant star system; they didn’t have to do that.

There have long been myths of a lost or hidden advanced civilization, maybe those myths are actually based on fact?

How could this hidden civilization have become so much more advanced than the rest of mankind? The answer here is very simple: eugenics! Let’s suppose the Atlanteans castrated all males in their society except for the top 5% in IQ, and then those 5% got to have sex with all of the available women. Over the course of merely a few centuries, the Atlanteans would achieve an average IQ way beyond the rest of mankind. With every Atlantean an Einstein, they would be able to achieve scientific and technological progress beyond our own with a much smaller population and without having to exploit the entire planet.

The other mysteries of why and how they remain hidden aren’t explained any better by the more common extraterrestrial assumption. Why are the UFOs only rarely seen and for very brief periods of time? Where and how are the UFOs hiding and why are the hiding from us? Whether they are extraterrestrial, or terrestrial Atlanteans, why not reveal themselves?

We can only assume that the Atlanteans have the technology to hide themselves and a philosophical reason for doing so. Perhaps something like the “Prime Directive”? Perhaps their eugenics program made them so much more advanced and different from the rest of humanity, they believed that there should be no contact or fraternizing with them. But because they had higher ethics than non-Atlantean humans, they didn’t take advantage of their intellectual and technological superiority to enslave the lesser humans (as whites did to black Africans). Instead they adopted a strict policy of non-contact.

Also remember that any civilization more advanced than ours would have reached the singularity, and the UFOs probably have no biological lifeforms aboard, which would explain why they are said to accelerate with g-forces beyond what any human could handle. It’s possible that the Atlanteans are all dead and only their intelligent machines live on.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 25, 2017 at EDT am

Posted in Nerdy stuff, Robots

The big danger of the future: robot rights

Commenter “Steve” (not to be confused with Steve Sailer) wrote:

Robots will eventually take over, but not from a war. Domestic robots will become loved family members, like pets are now. In time they will be seen more like children and less like property. People will demand rights for them, including autonomy. Ultimately, people will accept robots as being our offspring, the next step in our evolution. They will carry our civilization far beyond what we would achieve alone.

I first took the comment as jest. Doesn’t everybody realize that robots are just computer programs that have been designed by human engineers to give off the illusion that they are living beings like us? (At least, that’s what I assume robots will be like in the future.)

But then I realized that we should never discount the pathological desire of liberals to dole out “rights” and discover new forms of oppression that they need to stomp out. A hundred years ago, anyone who brought up transgender bathroom rights would have been thought of as insane, but now it’s a thing. For example, the people behind Star Trek: The Next Generation put a lot of effort into trying to convince us that Data was not just a machine engineered to give off the appearance of being human, but an actual “sentient” being entitled to the same rights as a human, and he could even be a Starfleet officer and give orders to humans of lower rank. This was the same franchise that also told us that the human doctor on Deep Space Nine had to be removed from his office and banned from employment because it was discovered that his parents had him genetically engineered. So get that? Robots good, genetically engineered humans really bad.

Joanna j. Bryson was surely aware of this stuff when she wrote the essay Robots Should be Slaves. I highly recommend reading it.

It was so hard to believe that a woman could write something that logical, I checked on the internet to determine if she was really a woman or a pseudonym for a man. The answer is, yes, she’s a woman, but she’s one of the least feminine looking women that I have ever seen. Not that there’s anything wrong with a woman not looking feminine.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 15, 2017 at EDT am

Posted in Robots

In the future, the household robot will be considered a necessity

Today, no one misses not having a household robot. (Except for me, I really want one badly.) But in the future, having a robot will be as much of a necessity as having a car today.

But here’s the problem: With robots taking all of the jobs, how does one find a job to pay for a robot?

Liberals will demand that government give out free or heavily subsidized robots for those who can’t afford them. But predictably, conservatives will insist that the government can’t afford to do that, despite all of the robot productivity of the future economy.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 14, 2017 at EDT pm

Posted in Robots

The Midas Plague

I never read this Frederick Pohl short story, but here is the synopsis from Wikipedia:

“The Midas Plague” (originally published in Galaxy in 1954). In a world of cheap energy, robots are overproducing the commodities enjoyed by mankind. The lower-class “poor” must spend their lives in frantic consumption, trying to keep up with the robots’ extravagant production, while the upper-class “rich” can live lives of simplicity. Property crime is nonexistent, and the government Ration Board enforces the use of ration stamps to ensure that everyone consumes their quotas. The story deals with Morey Fry, who marries a woman from a higher-class family. Raised in a home with only five rooms she is unused to a life of forced consumption in their mansion of 26 rooms, nine automobiles, and five robots, causing arguments. Trained as an engineer, Morey modifies his robots to enjoy helping to consume his family’s quota. He fears punishment when his idea is discovered, but the Ration Board—which has been looking for a way to abolish itself—quickly implements Morey’s idea across the world.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 9, 2017 at EDT pm

Posted in Books, Robots

What does Chief O’Brien do all day in the transporter room?

Thanks to commenter Hermes for telling me about this webcomic.

In some episodes of Star Trek, Picard says “beam us up” and then you see Chief O’Brien operating the transporter controls, and then they beam up to the transporter room.

But there are several unanswered questions.

1. Why do they need a transporter room? In many other episodes, it is shown that the transporters have the capability of transporting people from one point to another, skipping the transporter room entirely.

2. Why is a human operator needed? It is shown in some episodes that the computer can respond to voice commands and transport people without humans doing anything. All O’Brien does is move some virtual levers. Can’t a computer do that better?

3. The vast majority of the time, no one is being transported anywhere because the Enterprise is usually traveling through deep space, and even when they are in transporter range of a planet, usually only a single “away team” is beamed down. So what does O’Brien do all day in the transporter room?

Thus, the webcomic depicts O’Brien standing all day in the transporter room doing nothing. And I think that’s the future of work. A tiny percent of the population will have self-actualizing jobs, and the rest of humanity will have pointless make-work.

* * *

The main thing I dislike about the webcomic is that about one third of the strips are about Riker stealing Keiko from Miles. True, Riker was depicted as a ladies’ man, but he liked big-breasted women like Deanna Troi, not mousy women like Keiko.

Although it’s true that Miles and Keiko had marital difficulties in DS9, mostly entirely Keiko’s fault.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 7, 2017 at EDT pm

Posted in Robots

Automation to put 70 million Americans out of work

The Washington Post reports on a study that alleges that between now and 2030, that’s only 13 years, automation will put 70 million Americans out of work.

We must stop immigration now. The argument that we need immigrants to do jobs Americans won’t do is false. The economy of the future needs fewer workers, not more.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 1, 2017 at EDT am

Posted in Robots, Uncategorized

Return to farming?

I am almost sure that, some time ago, I wrote a post predicting that people would have to return to farming and living off the land because automation will be taking away all of the jobs (although I have been unable to find the post, so maybe I just imagined it, although I remember commenters disagreeing with me).

In today’s Washington Post: A growing number of young Americans are leaving desk jobs to farm.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 25, 2017 at EDT am

Posted in Labor Markets, Robots

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