Virtual reality is here, its much more attractive now than it was two decades ago, mainly because of the development of smartphones and mems based accellerometers. You can now put a cartboard box on your face and with some forgiving believe you are flying and doing all kinds of tricks. Virtual reality content development is still in its infancy, we wrote about it, it’s not easy and it is likely that developing efficient methods to render VR will also give a boost to AI.
We are also seeing the advent of almost better than human speech recognition, increasingly human sounding speech generation. No surprise we will soon see fully AI avatars in virtual reality, sounding like people, listening like one (of course not really). This will have two main effects : People will fall in love with VR, our brain not being capable of making the destinction between reality and virtuality. Some may become hooked and never leave their room again. Heroin withdrawl is so awfull because the system that is tricked into overdrive by the drug is similar to that which forms our social bonds. Imagine how hooked people will be on VR buddies and girlfriends..
But a second effect is that people become empowered. This will happen because VR + AI allows the creation of tutors of all kinds. Without the limitations of reality people can be taught all kinds of things, all kinds of skills and explore the world in unprecedented ways. With speech functions and AI people will be able to discuss topics, explore verbally, act out verbal behaviours, run through interaction scenarios. Imagine the possibilities if you can interact with a tutor, and the knowledge is exactly what will work for you in reality. Or imagine what the effect if of a tutor walking a young vulnerable boy through every crime ever committed against his ‘kind’.
Augmented reality is awsome
We can all have a personal tutor, in karate, languages, sales strategies you name it. And we may find some political organizations will create ones that help women empower themselves, not have to content with seeing a conversation on TV or youtube they might miss or never find, for which they are not in the mood. Instead they may find a VR avatar able to show ways out of their problems, ones that teach how to have certain difficult conversations. The way AI and VR can help humanity is unimaginable.
Microsoft’s Hololens is the most advanced device for this application. It seamlessly melds reality with virtuality. The third itteration is about to be released. How will people respond if its technology drops in price. How will it work with future generations of VR and AR rendering engines, including speech and AI? It will be a revolution.
Our lush landscapes will dry up and become deserts, at least in many parts of the world. The only way to fight this is by irrigation, but this is a very expensive method, which will not work in the sparsely populated parts of the planet, where profit is not the motive. It is those places we should prioritize in development, because the remoteness and lack of people can protect whatever grows there.
Trees moisturize the air, cooler climate and clouds, so they create a positive feedbackloop in terms of ecology
A solution to quickly expanding the number of trees in remote regions needs to be scalable, so large infrastructure projects make no sense. Pipes are expensive so they require some kind of sustained economic activity to be the result, something that is undesirable. The aim is to create resources, capture carbon, and not remove them or consume them. A cheaper way perhaps is to carry water where it is needed, and use automated systems to irrigate and plant what can grow. A small team of careres, perhaps even remotely controlling the equipment used, may be enough to plant vast areas with new forrest, just like one farmer can work hunders of acres of land, using the right equipment.
A waterdonkey is a smal four wheeled robot that can carry say a ton of water, 1000 liters. It is electric, it has a solar panel on top to power it, it finds its way autonomously. It doesn’t need to be fast, it just needs to move. It can carry water from the coast inland, where it is used to irrigate trees to get them through the rough first years of their life. Special covers have been developed to minimize water requirements. These covers can be moved once the trees have reached a certain age.
Trenching to ensure rainwater sinks into the ground
Carrying water may seem an elaborate way to promote vegetation, as making sure that rain gets into the ground and does not run off (countour trenching) has shown to be very effective. But that technique requires a minimum of rain that some areas don’t have. On the other hand : If we start planting where there’s plenty of rain, we will be bussy for a long time before we reach the dry zones. And those zones will shrink as we plant more trees. In thinking about this the vision of a lush green Middle East is appealing though, and possible (as solar renewables has such ginormous potential there). Deserts can be turned into plantations that with technologies like ionic desalination, which produces fresh water in a much less energy intensive way than reverse osmosis.
Computers are great tools and have become prolific in our society. Up until now they have mostly been deployed openly, meaning they have not been shielded from external tampering, mostly because most people are not experts who know how to do this. If we want to choose an analogy it could be that we still live mostly in a world without fences or barb wire. Our lands used to be more open and less fenced off, but economic forces conspired to put a price on every square meter. What was common good, used by the people best capable, is now hoarded for speculation, houses, farmland.
There is another aspect of the ability to fence off something, and that is that we are less able to control what goes on inside the fence. In the case of a computer, we will be less able to control what goes on inside it, or its abstract equivalent, a worker thread in the cloud or Internet of Things device that accepts tasks. This also has an analogy, namely that of intelligence. We may not notice but a large part of what makes us intelligent hinges on the fact that we evade or prevent disruption, that we are able to pick up where we left even if we are distracted. A wildebeast would not last very long if it did not have a tough hide to keep out the claws of lions.
Nothing can exist if it does not protect its integrity and/or strategy
My definition of intelligence is that it is ARGO, Autonomous, Robust, Goal Orientation. The Robust part is very important, not only does it mean you can’t break into the substrate (a processor of some kind), but also that it has multiple ways to continue if one is sabotaged. A good example is the cruise missle, which can navigate on stars, GPS, maps and compass to get to its target. Jam the GPS and it keeps flying (not sure if that’s possible btw). To qualify as AI you only need those four aspects. Goal orientation seems one thing, but a system that only tries to stick to a set parameter has no real goal, no real representation of what it tries to achieve. It can ‘orient’ but it has can only orient in one way. There is usually an easy way round such systems.
Cryoptography is the digital fence, the computer can now protect itself, by adding more time to accessing its data, sometimes more time than our universe has left. This is possible because hard computational problems exist, ones where the only way to a solution is by trail and error, and the space of possible solutions is ginormous. Cryptography does another thing which is to introduce one way transformations, so you can make a hash (a random condensed sting) of a text, but you can never deduce the text from that hash. Its like a digital valve. It has introduced time in computation. Where from a computational standpoint you can’t figure if your computations run forward or backward, now, to our eyes, you can clearly see that a text to a hash is easy, the other way around is impossible. This is what blockchains are about.
AI is a threat to all of us, but not in the way most people imagine, as a thing roaming about the internets. This is because of cryptography. Maybe not today, but certainly as cryptography becomes the fence system in cyberspace. As more and more data and systems become unreachable unless you have explicit permission, we will find that any AI that roams open data sources or tries to manipulate industrial or health care systems through the net runs into walls it can’t break.
The economy, those still strongly advocating economic thought and practice, does not like this very much, it wants us to share as much of our lives, because this makes us easier to direct and exploit. Many startups are trying to mine that vulnerability to make us engage with payed services, and because if its economic value many politicians are allowing the collection of all kinds of data on us. Fact is that unless data is encrypted there is no way to secure it from eavesdroppers, that’s the whole reason encryption was developed. If we are truely valuable there are computer viruses for sale and a raft of other technologies to break through our weak (and economically weakened) protective barriers. The more we become aware of this, the more we will embrace encryption.
As algorithms and AI evolve they will increasingly be used to make their owners rich. Reasoned the other way around, if you have an intelligent drone that can autonomously break in and steal valuable things someone will start using them. The risks of AI are from petty to that of triggering a possible global thermonuclear war. Nobody restriced AI to any substrate, so it might as well be an intelligent chatbot that directs real people to achieve its goals. The mess AI will create ranges from the Godzilla killerbot to undetected manipulations of data that can have serious repercussions.
It seems the best strategy to aumated systems emporwering immoral people, or a robot that wants something that threatens human lives, is to start to use the digital fence of cryptography, especially around industrial systems that are now very weakly protected. Once controlled or autonomous robots that can invade into homes and factories undetected become prolific we will be at war with them until we (imho) reduce the availablilty of the supporting technology. naturally the dominating individuals will try to keep the biggest weapon they have handy, so eradicating lethal and perhaps overpowering AI will not happens. We are wise to make the digital realm more of an obstacle course, and to keep track of AI developments as if it is weapon technology.
Nvidia is on the forefront of AI processing hardware. The come from making graphics processors which have pushed the computational power of computers for specific types of calculations (vector transformations). AI when realized through deep learning networks also has a specific computational requirement, and for this purpose build processors have a market.
Nvidia now comes out with a miniature deep learning accelerator (the learning takes place on another platform) called the Jetson TX2. It puts things like face recognition and other advanced recognition tasks in the drone realm, which is kind of scary, because as long as a drone flies it doesn’t have much to think about, what would an AI smart drone be able to do?
Nvidia already came out with a titan of AI modules, the other part of this Jetson TX2,the DGX-1 and its processing workhose the Tesla P100. This means it is easier (starting with possible) to generate the data to run on the TX2 for applications in the field.
The danger of AI is threefold : 1. It can start to compete with humans for the same resources and win. 2. It can start fighting itself and destroy the environment humans depend on. 3. It can setup humans against each other and make it impossible to know what is real anymore. The third threat is also created by virtual reality, which can have AI, but mainly gives people the illusion they are in a reality which is 100% fake (ok you knew that, but what if people really get confused? They already do so with actors). AI, even simple AI which is unattended or worse still unknown to be operating, can drive changes and affect people in ways we don’t want or should even fear.
AI the way it is often conceptualized, as a ghost in the machine, does not have certain qualities it needs for humans to be able to relate to it. Weaknesses are that it is immortal, never gets tired and has no body to maintain or protect. It probably can’t and if so that makes it a very weak AI. To make a threatening AI self protection is a large part of the mix. Today we think cruise missles are still the best example of true AI.
As a result the biggest consolance right now is that most AI is kept in the box, it has no actuators, no arms and legs. Even so an AI hacking hospitals and setting insulin doses for political opponents of its owner can alter the course of human history. The trick with AI is to keep close track of what actual real world mechanisms are operated by an AI. This is made harder with tiny powerfull platforms that can move and proliferate and operate undetected.
If we had to give an advise we would make a requirement that any hardware of considerable computing power should have a weight that reflects that power. This is similar to what we said about money, money should have weight to make global transfer and movement of it way more difficult. AI capability should also have weight. Humans are extreme lightweight AI, any AI that approaches the level where it can be a threat should weigh at least 80 kg. This way it will be hard to have it move around on a tiny drone.
Imagine your mortal enemy being able to take the guise of a poisonous wasp. We are blessed there are no animals with true intelligence on that scale, or we’d be toast. Apparently, because of the energy requirement of intelligence, all species kind of minimize it and prioritize agility over smarts. Being agile, moving away from theats, saves more lives than understanding the threats or analyzing.
Just like a criminal with ball and chain a great way to reduce the risk of many threats is to weigh it down. Weigh down AI platforms, and all the dangerous things will still happen, but at least we have more time to develop our respons to it as the most intelligent species on Earth to date..
Its typical for universities to redo things that have already been done to death. Sure the efficiency is a bit higher, but that’s not the point, Australia had solar thermal with storage 20 years ago, the world had it 40 to 100 years ago.
To say this stuff is new is an insult to public knowledge, but this is exactly the point. “The future” will be solar thermal with molten salt storage, only this type of installation was build and ran in Spain already 30 years ago or so. Several perfectly performing solar thermal installations have been demolished because why? Because you need to keep making fossil fuel sellers rich. The future is a great place to store great ideas, until someone like Elon Musk comes along and does it with his own cash (banks will not help you).
We look for links to an australian solar thermal project published about in 2012 that used NH3 to store heat, splitting it and recombining it, a great way to store energy. It used a similar or the same mirror concentrator as shown in the video. Molten salt storage is nothing new, in 2013 a big plant using it came on line in Spain. Watch out with news from universities, they may just be seeking attention..
The energy lanscape is changing rapidly. Driven by a desire to protect our planet the development of renewable sources is adding lareg quantities of energy generating capacity to the global economy. The potential is still underestimated enormously because it is compared to the current fossil supply, of which it is a small percentage. In reality thought our fossil resources represent only a fraction of the energy we could have available for production of wealth, about 1/2500th would be a reasonable estimate. This means that with renewables our global wealth can not double but become hundreds of times bigger.
Energy is power. Wars have been decided by the supply of energy whether it was food or fossil fuels. The governments of Iraq and Iran and others have been keenly aware of this, as was that of the USA, which basically sucked the oil out of Saudi Arabia and Egypt for decades. As happened with Ahmadinejad and Saddam Hussein, as is happening now with Putin, the control over energy translates to power which is wielded for the sake of the people of (in Putins case) Russia. To be more precise, Putin maintains a protective power structure around himself based on his control of the fossil resources of Russia, and russians are by the same (persuasive corrupting) power of the fossil resources recruited as his protectors. Its like the first guy that picks up the only sword : He will be the boss.
Putin has been inspired by quite a nationalist philosopher but he really didn’t need to be. Power is local because it requires communication and trust, and trust between humans (still) depends on their ability to come together. We will find that there are three scenarios to follow as we see more renewable energy sources come operational : 1. A global supressive regime will regulate and sell energy production around the globe (if we get to a phase where there are two or more that threaten to anihilate each other). 2. The globe will become a patchwork of small nations, small power realms, that agreed together to never let any of them become to powerfull. Those nations may be part of a larger entity for some purposes, but as all see that it is an eternal struggle to avoide the concentration of power (always justified by some wrong somewhere or a common enemy) this overaching entity will be very specific in its task. 3. AI becomes dominant and we become irrelevant 😉
For now it is not yet clear what will happen. The fact remains that there is a cost to domination, either you have to drive people crazy or pay them a lot to go out to some place and subdue other people. Its unnatural and an exceptional thing for humans to do. At the same time communities know they can increasingly take care of themselves with renewable energy, the skills and knowledge proliferate, filtering water with ionic membranes brings low cost (zero cost ultimatly) fresh water within reach, understanding of the relationship between vegetation and rain will make more land fertile. The people of every territory will come to understand they can control themselves, they don’t need to be controlled by anyone if they can produce their own food, warmth and products (through automation). Even at a lower leven of civilisation people can exist happily and without war, the important factors are food and shelter.
So we will likely see more nationalism, regionalism, isolationism relative to the current model. The current world economy floats very precariously on the open trade of oil, coal and gas, at least in the dominant countries. Its cooperation is for the good of the people, but ultimatly arbitrated by banks and credit institutions, the BIS and the fossil fuel companies. We see an alignment, earlier of bankers and government, now of fossil interest, military power and government (Rex Tillerson was Exxon CEO). We guess the US wants to be the dominater of option 1. above. It can become that because the powers to thwart opposing activity are now so well developed, nobody can escape death or destruction or even distraction or seduction from a force as powerfull as the US. Of course anyone that sees his region could be independent of such meddling by applying renewables will start working towards that goal.
As the cost of renewables and batteries drop and as manufacturing becomes more and more automated we may see a sudden fragmentation of the current governments, a Big Bang so to say where every region declares itself master of all its energy resources, fossil or renewable. You can be a guest, add your skills there, but you can not come in and take the energy to use it for your own purposes and trade somewhere else. Why would you? Generate your own! Renewables driving local energy will also create and enable local currencies (to allow them to apply the benefits of economic principles without outside influence on the value of the currency or ownership of assets) and together this will be the reason to split off, seceed, choose isolation.
On top of the above we have no incling of how the now unused territories will be invaded and populated through the use of renewables. That will be a true revolution in its own right. You don’t have to be waterless in the desert, landless at sea, all these things depend on power, energy which we are now finally getting under our control for good. This is why we think a patchwork will be the end result, there is room for everyone once you think beyond the restrictions of fossil fuel supply lines and markets..
We have written on intelligence here before, mainly because the author of this used to be a neuroscientist, wrorking to understand the effect of emotions on cognition. Having read all there was to read on the brain at the time, a clear notion of what goes on in our mind formed. This understanding I have yet to come across outside some academic papers. Also elaborated on here was the idea that keeping people on the wrong track, one not leading to AI, was a good thing, because AI would be like an unkown animal to us, suddenly appearing on the stage, with goals that could be harmfull to us. Although we are not close to this, once it happens, and once this AI achieves control over enough power to keep itself intact, we are in for a ride.
But humans are equally dangerous. A human being has evolved to be part of a rural farming or hunting community, not living to long or learning to much to attain 100% control over its survival or the environment. We have been competing against other species but geographical differences (like a desert or fertile flatland with few predators), language and cities have turned us into overwhelmingly superior beings. The attempt of life to prevail has fallen into a deep trough populated only by humans, with the humans to short sighted to aknowledge our dependence on other life calling the shots. Its always the boys that dream of soaring the skies like a fighter pilot that end up in jobs where they lay waste to so much other life, their dream of dominance was a distortion, a trauma, making them fit for jobs nobody should do.
But even if we don’t dream we can still be true to our nature, our existence as intelligent beings. There are a lot of threats to be met, and if we manage to free our minds from the pitfalls set by those that want to take advantage of us, we can deal with them and make our lives truely better. Emotions are important, but we don’t need to emphatize with every victim, especially when there is no real way we can help them. Worldly posessions are important, but the way we try to attain them, and the reason for which we think we should is often tied together like a moebius strip. The rich guy has a Ferrari, and to get a Ferrari you have to be rich, and you want the Ferrari because then you look rich, so what shit do you need to work through, how much of your moral fibre do you have to demolish to get rich? Wrong! Just build a fucking Ferrari! Stop looking at Ferraris. Its a fast car that is read and looks predatory..
People that own a Ferrari often just bought it because they had so much money. What they did was not try to look something, but try to achieve something. They didn’t try to make money, but they tried to understand what about what they did they could change to make it cheaper to do, while finding out how to seduce more people to want their product. Even an environmental dream can be achieved by this mindset, because it is about applying our intelligence to our situation so as to change it into what we believe is a better situation. The question is how do we do that?
To start of, we need to know what we want to achieve, and we have to choose at some point to fix that idea. It may not be optimal, but success is more imporant than what you achieve (rule nr. 1). Say you want to get your drivers license. It is not an odd thing, every young person wants to have one to experience freedom on the road. That is your goal. Humans are goal achievers, that is all we are. We have many goals, to maintain homeostasis, to drink, eat, have a warm environment, sex etc. Our entire existence is an attempt to satisfy as much of those goals at the same time. For this we are rewarded with experiencing freedom. The feeling of freedom comes about when our behaviour is conducive to our goals. If you achieve what you set out to achieve you will feel free, because you do not have to inhibit yourself because you think that will drive you away from your goal. Politicians know that what we fundamentally want is freedom, so they mention that to you and you fill it in with what would mean freedom to you. Money is another word for it, money however is not really freedom, because the people that manage and create it do not want you to be free of the need for money!
So you are young and you want to get your license to drive. The idea is that you go up for the exam and pass. You can think about that a lot, but that won’t help. The question you need to ask is how do you make that more likely to happen. Your attention for likelyhood frees you from failure, you know there is a chance you can fail, it is not important. It will not demotivate you. All you try to do is increase the chance of passing the test. This has to be the approach to all goals, goals after all are themselves chosen by a statistic process, one that has to do with your exposure to them, exposure to strategies to achieve them, your sensitivity to them as part of your life (liike you would not dream of building a nuclear reactor in your room, but some people in this world clearly build nuclear reactors). The goal has presented itself, it promised more freedom than the others you could try to achieve, and you started to fixate on it.
All the other stuff you are thinking is other goals, other pieces of a puzzle to increase the likely hood to increase their realization. You may have to identify the other goals and decide you will for a while not try to achieve those goals. “I want to be fit, so I will not drink for a month”. Of course alcohol directly releases the dopamine system to give you the illusion of freedom, so it is hacking your system. All the more reason to take it easy with that stuff. Choices are just what you make to make it easier to achieve your goals. They show that what ultimately programms us is our own behaviour. If we can make a decision to go outside for a walk or get a glass of milk, we are equally free to do so. We then tip the scale to one side or another by thinking of a good or bad consequence of the decision, and it is made. In fact our brain makes the decision some time before we know about it. To make sure you achieve your goals you should therefor create environmental factors that will help you make the right decisions. Internally that means thinking about what will make you succeed, externally removing factors that inspire you to fail, adding factors that help you succeed.
A plan is nothing but a fantasy of outcomes you think will get you to your goal. If you have to overcome clear obstacles you might as well just focus on them first. It is better to fill your brian with ideas you need right away, or you will be sensitive to all kinds of things not yet relevant. A plan also allows you to separate ideas and give yourself peace of mind. So if you want the license, you have to study for the theoretic exam, that means sitting still reading questions. Then you have to take lessons, pay attention, get the routine, build rapport with the instructor (its a racket in most countries). The final ok you get can be a humiliation because it is such an arbitrary thing, and you have to coach yourself around that. You may have to earn money, get a job, with all kinds of other things you need to do right. In the end you are let loose on the freeways and nobody will care until you really screw up (and someone is watching).
The art of intelligence is to insert choices and then make the choices where they have the largest probabilistic effect on the outcome you want to achieve. To break into routines is hard, and uncomfortable. You have to pull yourself out of a social rythm to study, work, do what you need. In the end there is the outcome, you have to know whether it is worth it. Choose one with the maximal benefit, which depends on what you can imagine. Of course it follows that if you foster your imagination (not by hagning in front of the TV but by reading and exploring) you will start to choose better goals.
Develop your ability to imagine your future, by reading and exploring
Choose outcomes that you can imagine yourself achieving
Try to map the intermediate outcomes, focus on the first few
Work to increase the likelyhood of success and reduce the likelyhood of failure
Insert decision points where you are not sure you are maximzally effective
Clearly every human is different, can imagine different things, achieve different things, communicates better or worse, has physical qualities that differ. So not all humans can achieve the same goals. But it is possible to share a dream and work together towards a goal, where one decides to achieve one goal, and another some other goal, and both combined achieve both their dreams. We are often advised to be divided, to compete, to dominate, but this is because it makes us easier victims of those that want to take advantage of us. Our ‘hardware’ has evolved to be robust goal oriented i.e. intelligent beings. Use this talent. Most people’s dreams are compatible. Most people want peace and prosperity..
Short note on the universe. Some think (like Will Smith) that if you decide the universe will get out of your way. Maybe. Although the universe is local, we see traces of incredible remote events (through gravitational waves) here, where we would never ever notice on our natural level of perception. Someone at CERN just concluded the existence of ghosts has been disproved by them not showing up as noise in the super super sensitive measurements. People claiming consciousness has a quantum dynamic basis seem to forget that everything does. That idea is just as religious and useless an assertion as believing we are created by a god. Making a clear decisions however does reduce your distraction and attention wasted on things that weaken your resolve.
On Strong Will
The will to do something is the result of defeating self inhibition, either by understanding the circumstances or by reasoning about and imagining or ignoring obstacles. The will can be stronger if the goal is more important than other goals we care about. If we don’t care about much we can be very ‘stong willed’ but we will cause a lot of damage and unhappyness. The test is to require that something really improves for you on a daily basis. No progress means your will is too weak and you need to redistribute your care (care less about some things and more about others). Success builds willpower, it builds assertiveness, so therefore as stated above : Success is more important than what you achieve. Small steps with success are better than big ones without.
Great minds think alike, but some are more able to make those thoughts count than others. When your struggle is to reconcile your mortal existence and weird drives and urges with the affordances of reality, you end up scanning the fringes of what you can understand. As there is only one reality, people that do so will end up expriencing and thus thinking similar things. That may be what happend or some things Elon Musk says have been inspired by what he read here.
Why is it important that Elon Musk has read this blog? It isn’t really, or mabey it can be considered an honour. He and the writer of this will probably never meet, but he has our full support, and sometimes we worry he does not fully understand topics yet, like AI (We wrote about ARGO) or what happens to people when they have everything they need (The Roboeconomy). We even explained why it is unlikely we live in a simulation. He should read our stuff on Extraeconomics, which deals with self sufficient zones outside the global economy, run on renewables and generating natural resouces.
Our society destroys more resources than it creates. That is not a survivable situation
His latest question is how to give meaning to people’s lives as they come to enjoy the full effect of technology, not the current diet which is still restricted by fossil industry and carboncredit compatibility. Meaning and purpose in life is a struggle for all of us. Usually we are by our need to survive forced into a behavioural pattern that uses up most of our attention yet has the right dose of novelty, which keeps us well fed and warm. In that case we are usually happy. But if automation reduces our existential struggle we may become aware of our idleness and become bored and possibly depressed.
The economy makes things unnecessarily scarce, for example a beach gets fenced off to make money off it, because of and resulting in an increase in economic pressure.
These things are all relative. When society didn’t move as fast as today and most people’s experiences where limited we did not all kill ourselves. We had simple jobs and simple lives, and survived. A future in which the need to work is reduced for all will probably simply lower our activity level and increase our attention to our surroundings. One thing is certain : We won’t be suffering. We will be free, live in clean comfortable houses, be able to do more than we ever could. All because of solar, wind, and technology.
Cute animation nonetheless showing how a species that suddenly becomes more intelligent can upset the ecosystem..
A more to the bone analysis of humanities predicament is to say that we’ve won. Our species has won the struggle for survival. We can live as long as we like, even while ignoring AI, not leaving it to some interpretation of what existence is. A person will expres his/her needs and desires, will act out or indicate the changes needed to achieve those things. If it is about creating a family it will turn the drive to love in word and actions. A person during his/her life records the possible interactions amongst human beings, what works to achieve a goal and what doesn’t, how the lifeless universe has behaved as his/her survival happened. Every life story is like some pages of a vast instruction manual we never get when we are born.
A life can be economically exploited by defining it’s story, instructing its ambtions, something routinely done by advertisements
Today our minds (in the developed countries) don’t need to struggle to much anymore. our intelligence becomes less necessary, we need less information. Our brain’s cortex is hungry for the details of the real world, so it still drives us to absorb massive amounts of new impressions every day, which have to be novel to trigger us to learn, which brings the dopamine release that we crave. We crave freedom, and the more economic restriction that is put on us, the more we crave our intellectual freedom, or fantasy. But really for most it is about massaging the old brain into accepting a lack of freedom.
Human utility is an external property, a human being has evolved to survive, not to be useful to others. People that demand other humans are usefull in an environment where resources are scarce will end up wanting to kill those they deem useless (been there). The answer to this is to make resources abundant, and control population growth.
A true deconstruction of a person is that it is an organism with the ability to rubustly and autonously orient towards goal states, and this is what we do from the moment we are born to the moment we die. Even the ability to delude ourselves is part of the more general ability to achieve goals. They are always our own goals, as we can only strive for something we can imagine. It is logical that when we don’t succeed we get depressed, which is a mental state in which we absorb more of our reality, we see it as it is, so as we enrich our ability to imagine.
A human being is an autonomous robust goal orienting organism, it has evolved to survive long enough to procreate. Beyond this it has the inspiration to help other living organisms do likewise.
We are by our drive to procreate and our need for self preservation (thus having developed our specific sensibilities and tastes) forced to preoccupy a large part of our time reconciling ourselves or responding to our physical appearance. It is what we know best about most people we see. Behavior is second, we understand others behavior through imitation (our brain fires up like we perform the act we try to understand), and then we need to classify whatever we have observed as something we want repeat or prevent as our own. We may want to act it out as an example to inspire or warn the ones we love. Storytelling has the same function. These things occupy our lives because they are what our lives depend on, how we al survive, become and stay competent to do so.
The present dillema is this : Imagine there is a machine that makes everyone anyone needs, and it does so using fossil fuels. Is then everyone out of a job, poor and unable to buy the things the machine makes (and starve as a result)? Or will everything be free.
The economic system distributing fossil fuels says : Starve (as much as needed to keep going)!
For someone that rises above that process, like Hamlet contemplating his ‘mortal coil’, suddenly the sky is empty. There’s two urges that will move us, one is fear, the other agression, and there is love. To simplify, one can say we evade the known or unkown, we invade the known or unknown, or we complete the known or unknown. If we do that in our mundain lives these forces shape our behaviour. If our mind is in a more abstract realm they create, construct and break down concepts. The agressive side wil analyse atoms and contemplate quantum mechanics, and explore the concept of a gravitational matrix that imploding stars can send a ping through..Our fearfull mind will conjure up doom scenario’s, risks of all kinds. Maybe it will entangle itself by creating a structured fantasy of hell that is somehow comforting because it puts us in a relatively safe (imaginary) place.
Love creates things. Its that thing that lives in our environment we haven’t met yet, we have passively gathered aspects of it, and when enough of them work together to make it something we might interact with, it springs to life in our minds. We already imagine a living world, we need to because whatever we look for is in that world. As we wrote before about time and intelligence : It is prediction, it is modelling the future, as to escape the second law of thermodynamics (we localize entropy increase to our mitochondria, so all else can see reducing entropy). Life and love are in a fight with the physical reality. In our minds it is morality, the good we strive for, that is our talent to not only extricate ourselves from may damaging physical processes, but also shield other life from the same.
If we come out of the mental clamp of fossil credit economics, and if our talents are being freed up from tedious labour by robots, and if our biosphere is restored by the same robots, extraeconomic communities and renewables, then we will be back in paradise, The forrest where we can find the fruits we eat and we don’t have to suffer. It is not fair to expect an organism that has over evolution left many companions behind to become the one able to survive reality to be struggling forever. Once there was one winner amongst the animals (humans) it was a matter of time before this species pushes off all natural threats to survival.
The best feeling is that of love, and love means protection of life. There will be high demand for people driven by this feeling in the near future. We have to fight for life on Earth. So for the people who’s lives are freed up by the advent of the roboeconomy, they can restore and foster, increase and let thrive life on Earth, which has not happened since fossil fuels began their distructive rise.
The Trump administration seems to have no problem with lying. It is likely a result of the business background, where Trump has learned to exploit people by making them believe what is advantageous to him, a page from the book of “Catch me if you can!” or to quote Leonardo die Caprio : “People only know what you tell them.”. In general if you have to process speech and it requires more focus, or it is a message that touches you in a more powerfull way, you will not remember things that may be important as long as you process the message, even your experiences that are in conflict.
Humans are cognitively unanchored, our brains don’t have set ideas. We may prefer some over others because of the way the brain is structured, and some may be intrinsically rewarding, but never the actualization of the idea, so not the real thing, only the use it has to you (which you have learned from your environment). You will eat a dougnut, or an apple or a Mars bar, all food, so they have the same general function in your daily routine, but you don’t keep having problems with the shape of the dougnut, or the fact you have to unwrap the Mars bar.
Lies are in principle hard to detect. Even if someone tells you the Earth is flat, your brain, having no anchor, tries to start from that idea and tries to make it work. In the state you listen in the words you hear shape other parts of the brain, unlike when you report on what you see, when your visual cortex shapes activity in your Broca area. When the brian follows the words it may come up with a valid position for you to exist in, which is to assume the one talking means “people are stupid”, because it he/she can not mean the Earth is really flat. The facts you carry around and which you base your character on will assert themselves. If the person continues, “No, I really mean our planet is a flat disk!” then you still have to judge whether it is a joke, whether you will abandon yourself and accept the nonsense, or whether you will assert your view, and whether all this is important enough for you to respond to.
People only know what you tell them
The people following Trump, who are instructed by him to shoult “Build that wall!” or “No more muslims!” are not able to recognize the lies, maybe they just don’t have the experience, maybe they have been eating a diet that wrecks cognitive abilities, maybe they are taking debilitating medicine. They are from rural areas, maybe they have been breathing in to much Roundup and other poison floating through the air. They somehow can not get themselves to doubt or check the validity of the statements.
Trump knows this full well, and it has been a strategy for a long time for the right to mobilize idiots, the more stupid the better. Also an attitude of stupididity creates a good follower, one of intelligent discourse only invites opposition. The people are to be divided into drones and masters. If you don’t buy the lie, and you are not a master, you will be crushed.
The painfull reality is that if a small group controlls the majority this is a viable situation. If the master is in the big house and the 500 slaves in the shacks , and enough vigilance and force is applied, and enough deference ot needs is shown, this can a perfectly stabile situation.
Equally if an elite of business owners determines the laws (as has been the case many times in history) The workers can just forget it. They can have a great life buying in the company store, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Our history has been a series of ebbs and flows, and in general an consolidation of the elite over more and more people. Since the Davos meetings you can speak of a world government, of course of a globalist nature. The glue is debt and lies. The need a globalist economic environment is mainly because 1. It brings peace and makes participants rich and 2. Fossil has to be divided most optimally, which is done by distributing money.
Fossil fuels are essential to sustain the need for money, because people have to come back and earn more to pay for gas, their mortgage and all kinds of other costs. Thos costs would not be recurrent or as big if we ran everything on renewables! Robots and renewables are already demolishing the power of the financial elite, life becomes cheaper, debts evaporate, control over people is lost but because there is not scarcity, peace is upon the lands.
Every dictatorship rewrites history
But we are not there yet. The lies of Trump are putting us all in more jeopardy, and that is fine with the elite, we are useless consumers, annoying and obstinate for our class. The risk is real that control of the Trump type of extortionists becomes so complete that history is rewritten after the fact, making the lies seem real.
Saying the travel ban prevents terrorist can later be embelished with fake terrorist attacks before the ban. Saying Mexico will pay for the wall can be explained in many ways later. People only know what you tell them is the reality Trump counts on and hopes to creat. A amnesic populus that follows orders because they no longer connect to their own stories and environment. One that already went to war based on lies, but will likeley do so with itself soon.
Trumps idea is that whoever enters his sphere of intluence is toast, for him to butter and consume. He can pull it off with some. Has in the past. He adopts ideas and abandons them. We don’t know if he has any smarts or is on top of things. But the general goal of his kind of friends is to turn you into either a sucker or an ally. With lies and all other powers at their command if necessary.
Our oceans are dying, they have large and growing areas that have to little nutrients or are too warm for fish to live. Pollution, overfishing and climate change all put pressure on our aquatic species. On land we see the same problem with overuse of natural resources, be they forrests, agricultural soil and fossil fuels, causing rain to disappear and weather patterns to shift.
We believe humanity will use robotic systems to recover from this fossil fuel induced onslaught. We will because it is to hard for people to act as is needed in some of the places it is needed, and because the ones acting on climate may be a small elite existing in protected order while the rest of us will be struggling to survive. As we now see with the ability of fossil fuel to maintain order, as the fossil fuel supply fragments and wanes, the regions on Earth experiencing law and order shrink.
A tree planting robot
Robots can help us, they can even help us help us. The way we see it robots will be smart enough ans sensitive enough to venture into the world and restore nature. They will go where we don’t want to go or where we don’t want humans to go, and tweek the situation so life can regain grip. A great example of that is the contour trenching done in Africa and elsewhere : It is shaping the ground against the forces of erosion, so it absorbs more rainwater, gets vegetated and beats the forces of erosion. This is how a bare hill is turned into a lush forrest, a little tweak.
On our oceans we have the same opportunity, because water near the surface has little nutrients, water deep down has lots, but the light needed to use the nutrients is at the top, and the ocean can be dead. Mix the deep water to the top and you will see life come back. This is what happens in the usually abundand coastal regions, where deep water is forced up by currents.
We want to build a simple drone ship that can do things on our oceans, like mix water, create a fish refuge that not only serves fishermen, but also the fish. To do it we need a platform to have control over our autonomous vessel. We purchased a small sailing boat, well aware there are already drones out there, wingsail catamarans, that’s beautifull.
To control our boat we have a LoPy device, it is a python programmable Cortex M3 chip already connected to a LORA radio and a Wifi transmitter. The nice aspect of this device is that the LORA is easy to program, it is a Long Range Low Power Radio, which can reach about 10 km depending on the height of the antennae and obstacles. Excellent for working on the open ocean. A real drone will have a sattelite telephone ‘Rock’ type device.
To position the boat we use GPS, it is a cheap service these days, 15,- Euro and you have a position reporting component. Our boat will be sailing so it will not have a motor. We worked out the relationship between sail, wind direction. Detecting wind direction is not easy, a more sophisticated way should be deviced, now we have a light turning potentiometer, but we need a magnetic rotary encoder to be more robust and allow the ship to go through the wind.
- Servo control of sail and rudder
- Wind sensor (ADC)
Total cost when bought new is about 350 Euro
- 3,7 volt battery
- 6 volt pack for servo's
As it stands now we are about to bring to gether the components, the boad will be able to sail courses of up to 35 degrees from dead into the wind, and it can only jibe not tack. This does give better control and wind awareness as the boat has the wind behind it and the model boat we use may not even be able to sail high courses.
- set sail for wind
- gain speed
- read gps
- check closest indexed waypoint (they must be in a sequential list)
- adjust course to best approach new waypoint
The compass is left out for now, the boat will prioritize moving forward and then discover its bearing (by GPS). Then it will calculate the course it must go to get to a waypoint. There are lots of details to coding that. We hope to get to a small vessel that can control itself this way, then make it a bit bigger step by step, the mast now is about a meter high, the next mast is 3 meter high and will carry a wing sail.