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Old September 14 2012, 04:35 PM   #103
Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Mars wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Which goes back to my point about sentient AI being fundamentally impractical. I can't emphasize enough the point that most of what you'll need an AI to do for you are NOT the kinds of things you need a self-aware, fully sentient computer for. You don't really need Siri to have emotional states or personal motivations like a true secretary, nor does the computer system that drives your car for you need to think like an actual motorist. Secretaries and human drivers can get distracted or annoyed or angry or jealous and this can compromise their job performance all the same.

On the other hand, some clever programming tricks and some refined algorithms turned Siri into a kind of wisecracking personal assistant just a couple of pods short of a HAL-9000.
I can think of one application of a trillion dollar AI. A starship computer. Think of a starship one that takes thousands of years to arrive at the nearest star, it is propelled by an ion drive that is powered by an atomic fission reactor, part of the payload is an O'Neil colony, an ISland One Bernal Sphere, but it is not a generation ship, as the journey to the nearest star would take longer that recorded history, instead we have a computer AI that monitors the ship and the environment within the Bernal sphere, and when the time of final approach to the star system is arrived at, frozen human embryos are revived and implanted in artificial wombs in the starship, babies are raised to adulthood by the ship's computer, and sometime, perhaps by the year 10,000 AD the first humans set down on the terraformed surface of a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri A.
Ironically, you're correct this time, if only because the trillion dollar AI is the least impractical thing in that paragraph.
An atomic fission powered ion drive is feasible, an antimatter engine less so, warp drive is fantasy, so the only starships we will build will be slow ones that take thousands of years to arrive at their destination, I think one could be built this century, we need to develop artificial wombs and AI technology to make this happen. I think it would be easier than developing reliable suspended animation, it is easier to preserve single fertilized egg cells invitro than a whole human body. egg cells are stored that way now.

Voyager 2 is proof of principle that voyages out of the Solar System are feasible. Voyager would have taken 80,000 years to reach the nearest star if it were traveling in that direction, a fission powered ion drive only has to go a few times faster than that to arrive at the star in thousands of years rather than tens of thousands of years, and we need some intelligent entity to monitor the systems and raise the children that will grow up to be colonists of the new worlds. A somewhat faster ship can arrive ahead of time and terraform the planet, or the original ship can arrive there and do the same, before raising human children to adulthood. if things get boring for the AI, it can slow down its consciousnesses so that time seems to pass more quickly for it.

Last edited by Mars; September 14 2012 at 04:47 PM.
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