Technological Stagnation

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

  1. Spider

    Spider Dirty Old Man Premium Member

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    As long as humans continue to over populate the planet, industry and technology will innovate in the direction of supporting that population.
     
  2. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, battlefield lasers are very difficult and clumsy to use by most first-world militaries, primarily because the most efficient use of those lasers -- using optical energy to burn or injure enemy troops at a distance -- is illegal under the geneva conventions. Primarily this is because a laser that will cause injury to a human being is, by definition, powerful enough to permanently blind/disable that human. Because a reflection from the laser spot can have the exact same effect, this means a battlefield laser can cause severe vision damage to anyone who just happens to be looking in the wrong direction when it's fired. So firing lasers in an urban area are going to cause an assload of collateral damage to any civilians who aren't wearing military-grade eye protection.

    Militaries therefore have certain inherent limitations to how and when those weapons can be used; they are only intended to attack vehicles or missiles far from civilian areas, and cannot be used in a strictly anti-personnel mode unless they are set to only cause TEMPORARY blindness and/or disorientation.

    It would be trivially easy to manufacture a laser weapon that burns out your target's retinas; that kind of thing could fit on the bottom rail of a standard assault rifle. The problem is that even DEVELOPING such a weapon constitutes a minor war crime.
     
  3. GalaxyX

    GalaxyX Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There has been some work done on creating a stunning weapon that uses low power lasers to ionize the air, and fire a current thru that ionized path, sort of what lightning does, but on a smaller scale.

    Basically a wireless taser system. I know they had suitcase sized ones. I don't know if they have been able to scale down the technology yet.

    This would be a promising first step towards "Phaser like" weapons.
     
  4. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm sure it'll never happen. But it would be so cool!

    [​IMG]
     
  5. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It'S just absolutely unfeasable. Threedimensional navigation in street traffic? Forget it. Pure, deadly fantasy.
     
  6. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've seen that movie countless times, but that's the first time I've noticed the Fhloston Paradise billboards in this scene! :lol:
     
  7. GalaxyX

    GalaxyX Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    5th element was a really corny movie, but I enjoyed its take on what a future megalopolis on earth might look like in a few hundreds years (assuming an optimistic view of our future)
     
  8. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    What you call optimistic, I call realistic or even a bit pessimistic.
     
  9. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Yeah, the world as depicted in that film is not exactly a utopia. Hell, it's so polluted that you can't even walk on the ground anymore.
     
  10. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    Indeed, future Earth seems to essentially be a police state.
     
  11. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    "Negative. I am a Meat Popsicle."
     
  12. GalaxyX

    GalaxyX Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I guess I meant optimistic compared to recent films in Post Apocalyptic settings, like Book of Eli and The Road.
     
  13. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Well as the link demostrates, the Germans are using laser at a distance to destroy aerial vehicles. Other examples abound:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EouQh3MQwQ8

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXIaPocHRAE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9W0tQUaxyU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDzzd52RGqQ

    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/45465025/

    http://www.technewsdaily.com/18008-lockheeds-laser-weapon-takes-down-rockets-drones.html
     
  14. Irishman

    Irishman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This is a distinction without a difference. If the sensors and software are competent enough, it can surely accomplish the same predictive performance.
     
  15. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    Yes and no. Yes, because there's no fundamental reason this shouldn't be true. No, because software isn't anywhere near that advanced yet.

    Visual algorithms are getting pretty good at accomplishing specific tasks, such as navigation, 3D reconstruction, tracking, object identification, etc. The problem is doing all of those things in a unified way on the same scene, fast enough to be useful, *and* figuring out what to make of new things that are unlike anything that's been trained for recognition.
     
  16. Irishman

    Irishman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The internet kind of argues against your point that humans can't do centralization. There are only 13 DNS root servers in the world (called the backbone of the internet)! We don't think about them most of the time because (they're not sexy) and they usually just work. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080916182159AATAMFI This is a centralized-yet-redundant system. I think you're visualizing "centralized" as a single server somewhere with no backups, when in reality, noone would build it that way.
     
  17. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    While there are only 13 authoritative DNS servers, the reason they work is that DNS records can be extensively cached and you usually don't have to go all the way back to the root servers for that information.

    It's also worth noting that routing, as it currently exists, only works well on hierarchical network structures. Packets go up the hierarchy as far as they need to in order to find a route, then they start back down again. This is the reason default routes are so important. "I may not know what to do with this packet, but there is one and only one guy I can send it to who I'm certain knows more than me," is how they work. Fully decentralized routing, in which there can be an arbitrarily large number of routes between any two nodes, is not a fully solved problem at this time.
     
  18. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    "Centralized" means there is one system or a small set of systems considered authoritative for a given resource. As Lindley said, DNS only works as well as it does because, despite the very small number of root servers, we all "trust" plenty of servers that aren't the root ones. We don't all do DNS lookups on VeriSign's servers, we use our ISP, or Google, or even a DNS server we run ourselves (which is, again, pulling from another server up the chain, likely not a root server.)

    This approach does have weaknesses, in that a malicious party can inject bad DNS info into the tree, or simple mistakes made at the root level can propagate out quickly and "break" the Internet for everyone. Again, this implicit chain of trust lets the whole system work, but it's also highly vulnerable. It's why DNSSec was developed, which still doesn't have wide penetration.

    When talking about high-speed rolling death machines, if you're going to rely on outside data sources that can affect the vehicle's operation, the chain of trust needs to be rock solid and secure.

    Instead of going for that, to me it makes much more sense to make the car only accountable for itself, and not under the control of an outside system. The car has to behave as if every other vehicle may do something unexpected and dangerous at any moment, and be prepared to react accordingly. A system in which a central authority tells the car, "don't worry, you can drive within a couple inches of the car in front of you, because we'll make sure it never brakes suddenly," is pretty much begging to be exploited.