Technological Stagnation

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Into Darkness, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. Into Darkness

    Into Darkness Captain Captain

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    Let's be blunt here, technologically speaking we've stagnated.
    We were supposed to have flying cars and hover boards in 2015 and looking at the movie they'd had them for a while before that. So where are they? we don't have anything remotely like anti-gravity.

    Where are our moon colonies? Mars colonies?

    Are we ever going to get anti-gravity? is it possible such technology does not and never will exist? What does that mean to our development as a species?
    If all we will ever have to get off this planet is rockets then we're basically stuck here and that doesn't bode well with an ever increasing population and a planet with limited resources.

    We should be mining Mars by now but we're not.

    Why are we so far behind? we have all these fast paced industrialised economies, trillions of pounds world combined economy. Why is it so hard for every nation on Earth to throw some money into a planetary project to get off this rock?

    Where are the floating sea cities?

    All I ever see are people putting forward conceptual ideas and that's both where it begins and where it ends.

    We're going nowhere at all. We'll still be in the same place a hundred years from now, probably even two hundred years from now.
    We might aswell get used to the idea that as a species we're stagnant and a failure.
     
  2. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Some of it's down to money.
     
  3. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's because real life isn't fiction. Some things will just never work because physics don't allow it. Lightsabers, hoverboards, beaming, hyperspeed. Some might turn out to be possible, but just because a film told you it's gonna happen in 2015 doesn't mean it should in real life.

    This "rock" is the ONLY KNOWN PLACE CAPABLE OF SUSTAINING LIFE. If find it amazing when people belittle our planet just because they've watched too much science fiction/fantasy. Wake up, people.

    If you wrote this on a smartphone, that would be hilarious.
     
  4. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    Okay, well that's just wrong.

    You mean science fiction promised us stuff that we didn't get on time? Clearly, humanity is doomed!

    What's the compelling need to have those right now? Do you know of one? Nope. That's why they don't exist.

    Anti-gravity may or may not be possible. We seem to be a long way from it, regardless. A lack of anti-gravity doesn't mean we are doomed to technological stagnation, though.

    Why should we be doing something that's hilariously unprofitable? Just because we can?

    Because there's no compelling need to at this moment in time.

    Once again: why?

    Yes, it turns out most pie-in-the-sky concepts are not actually practical or feasible or necessary.

    This is ridiculous. The last 200 years have witnessed an unprecedented explosion in human technology, from the invention of steam power through manned spaceflight and the microcomputer and telecommunications revolutions. Current technological advances may not be very sexy--a lot of the work is in materials technology, refinement of existing technologies, and development of ever more efficient computer algorithms--but it's all important and it all sets the stage for future development.

    If you think our technological progress has stopped then you are simply wrong and not looking at the right areas for it. If all you care about is space travel, I don't know what to tell you. It's not currently cost effective to mine asteroids or set up colonies and we're not likely to do much of that unless and until it is.
     
  5. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Actually in terms of communications e.g. smart phones, we are way ahead of where futurists thought we'd be 20 years ago.

    Also, IBM's super computer Watson actually beat a human being at Jeporady, and it fairly effectively mimics an artifical intelligence.

    Watson now is involved in predictive Health Care and even now can predict audience reactions to films

    I am however a little disappointed that technologies like the driverless car is so slow to market despite the fact we have the technology to implement them.

    Also, airtravel hasn't advanced much since the introduction of the jet engine.
     
  6. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    Watson is essentially an expert system with a good natural language processor in front of it. That's not to downplay its capabilities, but it very much builds on what came before. It's evolution, not revolution.

    Driverless cars, on the other hand, had been held back by lacking a lot of the technological infrastructure necessary to make them work: cheap and ubiquitous GPS chips, reliable digital maps, cheap and ubiquitous cameras (and other sensors), and good/fast pattern recognition, as well as greater computerization of car functions in general. Basically, driverless cars weren't really possible until a lot of other things were in place. Now that they are, we're seeing very rapid advancement in this area, and estimates are that driverless cars will be a common sight on the roads in the next 10 to 20 years.

    I, for one, can't wait. I don't really like driving and I'd love to hand that function over to a computer.
     
  7. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Me as well. I hate driving. There are legal issues as well as I understand it for example who is at fault in an accident if the computer miscalculates? Is the driver still? And what happens in that scenario if someone dies?

    Also, as I understand it everyone on the road would have to have GPS and many people are concerned about the privacy issues related to that.
     
  8. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    Fault would be determined case-by-case, as it is today. Really, this is not even a big issue and just needs to be sorted out with some legislation.

    If an accident occurs because a human driver took over, the human is at fault. If an accident occurs because of a hardware or software defect, the manufacturer is at fault. If an accident occurs because the owner hasn't been doing proper maintenance, the owner is at fault. If everything was working correctly and circumstances were such that the accident was simply unavoidable, you've got yourself a no-fault situation.

    That said, driverless cars are expected to have much lower accident, injury, and fatality rates than human-driven cars. A computer is simply much better at responding to real-time circumstances extremely quickly, with exacting precision as well as vastly more information than is available to a human.
     
  9. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    The problem with driverless cars is not so much a technological issue rather a human issue. Are we really ready to hand over control to a computer? It's similair to airplanes. In Theory a plane could take-off, fly to it's destinationa nd land by itself. The technology exists but would we want to fly on plane without a pilot?

    Sure driverless cars all controlled by computers would drastically increase capciaty, reduce congestion etc....

    As for a car accident, there is no such a no-fault accident, you might not be at fault yourself. i.e. stopped at a red light waiting for it to change and be rear ended, but the other driver(s) is at fault.
     
  10. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    Humans really need to get over themselves. Computers can do most things better than we can, and it's absolutely ridiculous that we should endure higher death and injury rates just so we can feel good about being "in control."
     
  11. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I've spoken with several friends and even if the technology existed today they wouldn't give up the, "joy," of driving which for them is a control issue.

    In my experience - these are the same people who speed up to red lights and are also generally speaking the same individuals who act the most reckless on the road.

    But he's right - there are many folks unless driverless cars were law to engage - won't give up the wheel.

    In the US at least there is such a thing as a 'no fault accident.' In fact several states even are, "no fault," accident states where no matter who is at fault [for insurance purposes only] they assume no one is. This reduces insurance premiums in such states dramatically.

    That said - when a death occurs I believe driverless cars become more legally tricky when it comes to accountability.
     
  12. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    Solutions for this are pretty straightforward.

    There is no need to mandate driverless cars, just remove any legal obstacles to having them on public roads.

    Second, let insurance companies manage the rates for driverless cars vs. human-operated ones. It will probably turn out very quickly that it's much less risky to insure a driverless car. Many people will switch just to save money on that side of it. If your insurance is going to be $200 a month if you drive the car yourself vs. $20 a month to have it self-drive, who's going to pass up that bargain? Most people won't.

    Finally, require by a set date that all new vehicles sold come equipped with a self-driving system, the same way we've mandated airbags and anti-lock brakes.

    Your insurance company can determine your discount based on how often you use the self-driving system rather than driving yourself. The more you drive yourself, the higher your rate will be.

    Money talks, and a lot of people will decide that their desire to be "in control" is outweighed by saving money.
     
  13. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You are absolutely right. If insurance companies dramaticaly reduced premiums based on what we both I'd think agree is a likely much lower at fault accident rate for driverless cars many people would engage the function and use it all the time just to save money.

    Regarding who is at fault upthread - one problem with your suggestion IMO is that in terms of criminal liability when a death occurs when the manufacturer is at fault - as we know it's hard in large corporations to punish individuals.

    In otherwords, who goes to jail if a 3 year old is kililed because the computer malfunctioned?
     
  14. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Driverless cars would perhaps best suited to say motorways initally. Like anything this type of change has to be brought in slowly in order to convince a somewhat skeptical public that it is viable.
     
  15. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    No.
     
  16. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Driverless cars scare the shit out of me. Technology fails sometimes, and when that happens, humans need to be able to step in and take control. Drivers already don't pay enough attention to the road! I can only imagine how much less they'll be paying attention when they're even not responsible for driving.
     
  17. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    You do realize it's not hard to have safety features that include, "if everything goes pear-shaped, pull to the side of the road and slow to a stop," right?

    Real life is not Star Trek. Your dashboard isn't going to yell "ERROR! ERROR!", throw sparks in your face, and fly off a cliff because it ran over an unexpected rock.
     
  18. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    But modern cars are already wide open to hacking, allowing attackers to take over the engine control, brakes, and in some cases the steering. Some think the NSA cyber warfare branch is already doing this. A clever foreign attack could kill or injure millions of drivers simultaneously when they all slam into each other.

    We should be building robustness instead of adding even bigger vulnerabilities.
     
  19. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In 2010 there were an estimated 5 + million with a capital M car accidents of which ~ 32,000 people were killed in the US. This makes cars IMO the biggest serial killer in America and the people who kill who are driving them.

    If automation would even half that number - and I believe it could do even much better than that - you'd think the public would overwhemingly support the driverless car and the technology necessary to run it - occassional failure or not.

    Wiki

    But like I said earlier in this thread - privacy rights groups I'd imagine will be one of the biggest hurdles to a large scale use of any such tech.
     
  20. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Only cars with self driving require gps. You wouldn't have to retrofit all current cars on the road for the benefit of the self driving ones.