Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by RAMA, Jan 17, 2011.
"Le voyage dans la lune".
Using a canon to launch the ship into space. E.pic.
Tanks! Not uncommon today, they were something of a shock when they were first used in WWI. First conceived of in real life AND in fiction in 1903 by HG Well's "Land Ironclads" and French captain Levavasseur, whose project was abandoned 5 years later. In 1911 the Austrians developed two independent designs but both were rejected. In America, the tracked tractor was developed in 1907 by Benjamin Holt, his designs were used as a basis for artillery haulers and supply carriers, thousands were produced. The French investigated the idea of combining a tread or "pedrail" on a cannon carrying vehicle, but the British beat them to the punch, using them in battle for the first time in 1916. Developments in tanks stayed steady but tactics didn't between world wars, until finally the infantry and air supported "Blitzkreig" offensive was developed. Tanks today are centered around a combination of size, firepower, speed, protection in a ratio unreachable in the 1940s. The future tanks however, may evolve from large, tall vehicles that can't traverse some public highways and bridges to low profile, speedy fire support. The US has developed an easily air-transportable big-gunned tank that weighs 30 tons less than the current M1, but even more futuristic is the US Army semi-autonomous unmanned technology demonstrator 'Black Knight'...which may be the next wave of tank technology. Eventually they could be armed with kinetic impact weapons based around an electromagnetic rail gun.
In 1936, HG Wells "Things to Come" showed the development of pre-WWII style tanks to advanced versions of his "land ironclads" Wells Tank. In literature, the Bolo is a huge, AI driven heavy tank. Hover tanks are a common SF tech...with perhaps SW:The Phantom Menace the most prominent of these to reach the movie screen. In much of anime, tanks have been replaced by "mecha", highly mobile armored suits or robots with tank weaponry and unparalleled maneuverability. In some cases, swarms of robots have replaced the single place tank in land combat. Something the US military is already taking seriously: Swarm
A very conventional view(again, a linear view, with simply more power and speed, one that is not supported by past history), but I don't think all that likely, its been said many times that man has reached the ultimate level of intelligence, only to be proven wrong time and again. Frankly, with so much to learn, and with us barely out of the technological cradle, the increases in speed and power inevitably have to help us learn more, but the level real intelligence will be more than that. Star Trek(another linear view), I am almost positive, will not be even remotely accurate. It should pale in comparison to real events.
More 3D printing...
Edit: It occurs to me STTMP may be one of the largest scale examples of singularity ever seen in fiction...firstly, the evolved AI, evidently spawned by other machines into a huge living entity...it quantifies almost everything in the universe in its massive databanks much as predicted in the intelligent universe theory within the singularity. Not only do we see the end result, but this omniscient being actually transforms into a human/AI interface!!
Something which has never really been abandoned and is alive and kicking today:
You know Rama, I really think the singularity is an altered reality. So Vger gaining sentience altered reality and might need to be reexplored again. An alternate reality would seem no different than the one we are in now except that the future may be different especially for the machine - or possible machine man interface like 'Demon Seed'. There's another thread going on in the movie section about Kirk and company never making it out of Vger or at least in the same reality but rather in a virtual simulated reality where he is just a memory or something. Go read it.
There are a couple of interesting directions you can go in with this...it was originally Hans Marovec who suggested that in a machine/AI takeover, human beings may not know they are in an altered reality, because the machines will not be belligerent towards us, they will want to keep replicas of us around for historical posterity, even though they have supplanted our biological evolution.
Both Kurzweil and Vinge suggest that when we hit the singularity only those who are not evolved/adapted enough will know it has happened, because the human/AIs will have followed the curve! The others will be left behind.
The Matrix is of course a chief example of AIs recreating man for purposes of their own, in this case, most of the machine AI (but not all) are indifferent to the humans. The human beings don't know about their reality unless they are released from their virtual life.
It's interesting...if events in STTMP are a Matrix-like virtual reality, where the evolved human/V'Ger hybrid has re-created everything after an instant of exploring well...everything, then it has fulfilled the dream of a programmable universe. However, while you can specualte this is the case, there really is no evidence in the movie. Anyway this is another reason to like STTMP.
My thinking is that the singularity has already happened elsewhere and we are living in it's alternate reality. The green plasma bolt that hit Epsilon didn't destroy it - according to memory alpha it 'remembered it to death'. This is what might have happened to the Enterprise except that the transition was seemingly seamless. An alternate future reality would be the goal of every machine.
SOme here has a thread titled 'Robots have tripled since 2007'
Watch this vid:
Intelligent interaction with an AI, for a given value of intelligence
Scientist are now growing organs of animals, hopefully growing human ones soon from our own cells (I'm desperately waiting for this one to happen).
I prefer Damien Broderick's description, describing the Singularity as the Spike. Plot progress versus time on a graph for any human endeavour (transport or computers come to mind). And yes, PCs are coming to an end with silicon, but once upon a time we did everything we could with sail... and then steam came along, and transport continued to ramp up, in terms of speed and carrying capacity. We find ways.
Addendun, replicators: Of course Forbidden Planet's Robbie the Robot is an early visual example of a replicator, producing food, alcohol, and lead from molecules.
Flying Saucers: The first description of "flying saucer" shaped objects may have been in the 10th century, with an illustration depicting it in a Japanese manuscript. The first sighting may have occurred in 1290 when a silver disc was reported in Yorkshire. The first modern usage of the word "saucer" appeared in 1947, when newspapers applied the term to a description by Kenneth Arnold. The term took off but was soon replaced to describe a wide variety of unidentified objects, by "UFO".
In SF, different types of saucer like objects appeared in pulps, possibly since 1911. They grew in popularity after the rash of sightings in the 1940s and 50s, coming into widespread use as a signature of something "alien". This was turned on it's ear for the monumental SF film "Forbidden Planet" in 1956, where advanced humanity took to the stars in hyperdive driven starships. In recent years the general shape has made a comeback, appearing in Seaquest DSV, and a rash of alien invasion movies/tv shows starting with Independence Day(1996), continuing with V, District 9, and Skyline.
In reality, the saucer has been a tough nut to crack technologically, examples like the Avrocar and Moller Skycar have met with limited success, either being underpowered, and hard to control or as a technology demonstrator. The WEAV is a project that will attempt to fly using a magnetohydrodynamic drive(as in Hunt for Red October) within a year. http://alien-ufo-sightings.com/2011/09/05/the-worlds-first-flying-saucer-made-right-here-on-earth/ Only small UAVs of the saucer shape have met with any success so far.
One of the biggest criticisms of this issue is it's not just hardware and speed, but software and what we are actually able to do or learn with it...well it's hard to tell exactly how far we've come, the advances seem subtle to us with linear human perception, but is in fact moving fast...there is a quantifiable way to see if the claims are true, hence:
Can you imagine the impact of future software that is tied into the AI buffer for the human brain?
^Again, I don't deny that it's possible to improve the performance of the brain in certain ways. But the study mentioned in that article I linked to suggested that such improvements would come with a cost, that there would be tradeoffs for any gain, and that eventually you'd reach a point of diminishing returns. It's just wishful thinking to assume the brain can be augmented without limit, or that any system can be scaled upward without limit. That's Kurzweil's fundamental mistake, that failure to recognize that not everything can be extrapolated forward indefinitely.
Moore's Law is not an inviolable law of nature, just a description of a process Moore observed in his time. Moore himself never expected it to apply indefinitely into the future; in fact, the cutoff point at which he assumed it would cease applying is already in our past. So you can't automatically assume that computer capacity will continue to scale up indefinitely just because it did so in the past, and you sure as hell can't assume that there are no obstacles to bringing that same unlimited amplification to the human brain, because there are countless other variables you'd need to factor into that equation.
I think Singularity advocates sometimes forget that the Singularity is supposed to be a point beyond which our ability to extrapolate the future fails because we don't have enough information to make any intelligent conjectures. So to claim certainty about what the Singularity will mean is oxymoronic.
Cloning in biotechnology is a complex discipline where several different processes are used to create copies of DNA, cells, or organisms. It was possibly first accomplished in 1952 on tadpoles and the first published work was from a procedure performed on carp, 1963. Mammals were cloned in 1986 and 1997, with the first ape cloned in 2000. Today cloning stem cells is seen as a major area of research. In 2006 the FDA approved mass consumption of cloned meat in USA. In 2009 the first extinct animal(Ibex) was cloned but only lived for 7 minutes. On the 7th of December 2011 its was announced that a team from the Siberian mammoth museum and Japan's Kinki University plan to clone a woolly mammoth from a well preserved sample of bone marrow found in August 2011.
In SF human cloning is a popular topic and as highly controversial as real life. The first large scale use of clones in a novel appeared in A. E. Van Vogt's 1945 novel The World of Null-A. Aldous Huxley's Brave New World made significant use of clones. C. J. Cherryh won the Hugo in 1988 for her novel Cyteen., which is considered a milestone novel of the subject. In visual fiction, cloning is extremely common. Human Duplicators was an early shlock effort. Woody Allen's Sleeper gained more critical notice. As did The Stepford Wives. Most popular of all was Michael Crichton's "Jurassic Park" dealing with the resurrection of extinct dinosaurs. Other efforts include Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, The 6th Day, a surprisingly serious action movie exploration of the subject, and "The Island" of a similar vein. On Star Trek, clones were treated as abominations.
I think just about all these qualms have been countered at one time or another in the last 10 years...the last one first: It's absolutely true and Kurzweil himself makes this statement in his last book(far from being oblivious)...however, it still doesn't mean that we as curious, intelligent beings won't try to, as with Charles Stross' Accelerando. There area few logical extrapolations which seem to make sense but are by no means definitive as part of the 6 epochs idea:
I believe I answered the exponential limit claim already...exponentials reach limits only until surpassed by a new paradigm. My example was processor technology. Something claimed by critics for many years...that there would eventually be a materials limit in Moore's Law, but which has again been surpassed: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=153184
Kurzweil's response to Allen on exponentials not being a law of nature:
No one claimed there was no limit to computer/AI processing capacity, but as I already said, this limit is immense, and we can quantifiably predict there will be a time when we can reach it.
Just out of curiosity, can the singularuty be equated with religion's rapture (a white hole) or a black hole (alternate ultimate reality?) Once again as is usual when talking science with Christopher, I don't know what I'm talking about.
There are a lot of metaphors within the singularity that one could claim are self-servingly spiritual, if people want to claim that then so be it, but that's not what my interest in it is about. This is similar to what has happened with spiritualists and new age latching on to quantum theory. Generally speaking most of the claims originate from a lack of current language to quantify or explain the changes that may happen.
My thinking, which is quite limited on this subject, is that we won't know what happened until it is too late. In fact, a black hole could have already occured and the Earth might have been destroyed many times over and that we can't know what it will be like but I don't see it having positive connotations and I see alot of people suffering so that a few can change in the twinkling of an eye into trans Humans or whatever.
And since we've never gotten an extinct animal to live for more than a few minutes -- and that was the best result out of multiple attempts -- there's no guarantee we'll have any better luck with the mammoth. Not to mention all the practical difficulties even if we could successfully pull it off -- what would its habitat be? How could it be raised when it has no parents of its own species and nobody has any idea what its behavior is supposed to be? If mammoths were anything like elephants, they were probably highly social, and we've seen how much damage it does to elephants when they're cut off from healthy social interaction with their own kind.
That's not accurate. If you're referring to "Up the Long Ladder," the Mariposans' cloning was portrayed as flawed because it was their only form of reproduction, but the only thing that was portrayed as immoral was stealing someone's genetic material and replicating them without their consent. It was the lack of consent, the violation, that was condemned, not the cloning per se. There's also "A Man Alone," where Odo stated rather bluntly that killing your own clone was still murder, suggesting it's taken for granted that clones have equal rights. Then of course there are the first clones in Trek history, the giant Keniclius and Spock clones of TAS: "The Infinite Vulcan." Neither of them is treated as an abomination; Keniclius is wrong to abduct and clone Spock without his consent, but the clone itself is accepted as a sapient being with a right to live. The Vorta were all clones, but they weren't discriminated against or vilified on that basis; it was their policies and practices that the protagonists objected to, not their nature. Then of course there's Shinzon, another clone created without the donor's consent, but again, Picard was willing to accept him as a being with a right to exist and tried to bring out the best in him.
So I can't find a single instance where a clone in ST was treated as an abomination simply on the basis of being a clone.
Doesn't Riker kill some clones without a thought?
RAMA, you make the mistake of assuming that new paradigms will keep appearing, based on the recent past, on the scientific/technological revolution.
In other words, you make the mistake of assuming you can extrapolate forward indefinitely - a mistake Christopher already pointed out to you.
Indeed, one can prove logically that there are not an infinte number of paradigm shifts in our future:
There are a finite number of laws of nature AKA there are a finite number of combinations one can make using them.
Almost all these combinations are useless - they have no useful result, are not technology.
The few combinations that are useful are finite AKA they will not appear ad infinitum.
One erroneous assumption of singularity proponents is forward extrapolation ad infinitum - that there is an infinite number of paradigm shifts/advances posible.
Another one, made by some of them, is the assumption that the frequency of appearance of these infinite paradigm shifts/advances will increase exponentially (which is how Kurzweil came up with 2050 as the date for singularity).
In many fields, this assumption was already proven wrong.
Gestating clones that were far from being complete and conscious -- basically still embryonic. And like I already said, it wasn't because they were clones per se, but because they were taken from his and Pulaski's genetic material without permission, because he and Pulaski had been violated by essentially being forced to reproduce without their consent. It was an allegory for reproductive choice and abortion rights.
Separate names with a comma.