Should We Create Codops

It is likely that we can simulate the human brain and then copy our minds in to computerized versions (codops). The question is: should we?

This is not an argument from the point of view of “Just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should.” This is blind stupidity.

No. This is an argument that humanity is far short of being moral beings. Even the best of us. Even myself (far from it, I’m sure).

As evidence I would say many of the articles I have written are about humans being inhumane to each other. It seems like an oxymoron inhumane humans. What we really have to do, though is strike out the word inhumane. Everything humans do is by definition human or humane.

What is it to be human? Large swaths of our population abuse other segments of our society. Not only that, but they think it is the right thing to do. Spot a woman walking unattended by a male and you should rape her to teach her that she should not be out alone and to dishonor her.

Elevating one ‘race’ over another – which is now gaining dominance in US politics. This isn’t the exception, it is the rule. South Africa – with around 10% population as white – dominated the other 90% of the population. Because racism. Because white is better than black. Or so they say. Or so they say, ‘Hail Trump!’ during a conference.

So, what is it that people will do – as I earlier projected – that they will have Watson level computing capabilities in the home of the average family in 2037? What exactly are businesses going to do when they commonly have Watson capability computers in the work place – as I predict they will have in just 3 to 4 years?

What will businesses do when they have codops (computerized doppelgangers) in the work place? Will they run them until they don’t feel motivated to run anymore and then delete them and reload the original copy?

As we progress – what will happen when there are more people as codops then there are physical people in the world? How will we treat each other? Will we maintain contracts that state a codop has computing power to last the next year and when they run out of funds they will cease to exist?

Is that right? Is it moral?

It seems that we learn very quickly two sets of rules. One is moral and the other is what we can do and get away with. Hence there is a vast number of people that say, “Rape is wrong.” and there is a large number of people out there who rape. Or say things like “Racism is wrong” and vote for a candidate that clearly has the backing of outwardly racist organizations.

Here is a case in point. This person lived 55 years and was the father of four children. For whatever reason, he then decides to throw acid on all of his kids and his wife. It is like a nightmare sleeper agent from the cold war story. Similarly, you see people that are ‘responsible’ gun owners until one day – a former police officer – shoots and kills a man in a movie theater.

Perhaps we are all monsters hiding until the inappropriate time comes and then they horribly lash out at whoever attracts their ire.

Perhaps, all I am saying is that copying the human brain as a basis for an AI and copying minds of existing humans – might not turn out well. Safety protocols need to be developed. We are getting closer and closer to making an artificial brain.

Perhaps AI is not the only ones in need of the development of the three laws of robotics that Isaac Asimov developed. This recent article talks about creating ethically aligned AI – I find it interesting that we can develop ethically aligned AI, when we ourselves do not appear to be ethically aligned – or even agree what ethically aligned might mean.

Don’t Thank God, Thank AI

There is a lot of strife out there – when things go well medically, people in general like to thank god. When things go bad we always sue the doctor, the hospital, the insurance company or any company even remotely related to the procedures involved.

Now, people might try to sue IBM’s Watson, or Enlitic’s software for diagnosing lung cancer. They will, I suspect, be going after these pieces of AI software less often than they currently go after current malpractice lawsuits. Early detection is the best method for treating lung cancer – and if Enlitic’s software can detect it better than humans can – then more people have a chance at surviving lung cancer.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ll start thanking AI for saving our lives rather than god. At least AI might have more of a personal hand in saving your life. We don’t tend to thank tools for saving us – nor the operators of tools such as ultrasound devices and ultrasound techs. So, I won’t hold my breath, but I’ll be happy if AI or ultrasound tech saves my life.

In the future, it might also be a question if you should thank AI, if it attains intelligence to be treated as a sentient being.

Lessons Learned in Government – Meaning of Words

I’m going to straight out state something that many people will disagree with – and then I’ll back it up.

The United States of America will never be a racially or sexually equal country.

I say this as a veteran of our armed forces. I say this thinking that the United States of America is probably one of the best countries in the world. No matter what I would like to think about my country – the facts and the symbolism are there. Even if we are the best country in the world there is always room for improvement.

And it all started in the beginning.

The basic problem is that when we started when the Constitution was written we were a divided nation. The whole “United we stand, divided we fall” idea is necessary in the United States of America because we are and always have been divided.

I’m not going to go over the whole Constitution of the United States of America here – just a bit – just the beginning to prove my point.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

If I read this now – as a member of the 21st century it seems to hold together. However; while some of the signers may have meant it the way I read it now, some most certainly did not.

In 1776 the only people who had the right to vote were white property owners. This requires we amend the Constitution to reflect what they really meant.

“We the White, Male, land owning people of the United States, in Order to form a more….”

This change in scope from decoding word meanings to actual implied meanings is the split in the United States of America in 1776 as well as it is the split in the United States of America in 2016.

In a recent meeting of NPI celebrating Donald’s winning of the office of President of the United States of America, Richard B. Spencer – head of NPI, said:

“America was, until this past generation, a white country”

“designed for ourselves and our posterity.”

“It is our creation, our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”

He isn’t correct – and he is not incorrect. His words are chosen carefully. The word posterity weaves in with the Constitutions preamble I quoted earlier in this article. It matches the change – the literal meaning of the constitutions “We the White, Male, land owning people of the United States,…” that was the de facto of early United States of America’s history.

A lot of things have happened to who votes and who “People” refers to in the Constitution. This document shows the many changes to who a voter was over the history of the United States of America.

This highlights of the document are:

  1. 1870 – African Americans granted citizenship nearly 100 years after our country formed and 101 years before I was born.
  2. 1920 – Women are granted the right to vote
  3. 1924 – Native Americans granted citizenship and the right to vote (but this wasn’t enough)
  4. 1940 – Congress recognizes Native Americans have the right to vote
  5. 1943 – Chinese immigrants have the right to citizenship and vote
  6. 1971 – 18 year-olds are permitted to vote – this is the year I was born

Antonin Scalia who was a Supreme Court Justice in the United States of America indicated that you could not change the meaning of the words in the Constitution to their modern usage. The word people meant something different to the signers of the Constitution than after the hundreds of years of modifications to the voter, i.e. the “People”. That the words don’t mean something different because of the current time or interpretation, they only mean and permit what was voted upon by Congress at that time of the vote. He said people need to vote at the ballot box and have Congress enact laws or amend the Constitution. That there is no law preventing treating women different from men, only that women have the right to vote.

Antonin Scalia wasn’t 100% wrong, either. The problem is words and their meanings.

What do the words “We the People” mean to you? The point is; however, more than just the meaning of words. Do amendments about the vote cover equal treatment or do they just cover the right to vote?

The point is that the United States of America started out – not as a consensus, but as a ruling minority over a majority of other people – people of different religions, different skin colors, different historical origins.

No matter your interpretation of the words, the white supremacists are given power by the historical fact that this country was originally a White, Male, Landed country only. That George Washington owned slaves even after the revolution. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. People (capital P in the Constitution) owned people.

The Lesson Learned here is that whatever new country that comes in to existence, either by revolution, creating a new home in the vast oceans, or in the depths of space – consensus needs to be created at least once – in the creation of that country. And that consensus needs to be on the definition of the words level for that constitution, that charter, that founding document(s). There can be no ambiguity.

We are quickly coming on an era where “people” whatever it means, may not be the only self-controlled entities on Earth. Our constitution is being stretched to cover all people of biological origin. What will it do to the first codops (computerized doppelgangers), the first AI, or the first cyborg?

What we do to those three categories of people will determine if codops, AI, and Cyborg have to fight biological humans for their rights. The time to be thinking about these formerly science fiction problems is now – before it is too late.

One final note:

Often, when a government is torn in two because the foundation is not built on consensus – you have to not only write and pass a law once, but you have to do it several times in order to say, “Yes, I really mean it this time.” This seems to apply the strongest in terms of rights to vote than on any other topic.

Humanity Struggles with what Science Fiction Figured out – Decades Ago

I wish everyone had been a science fiction fan as I was throughout childhood. It would have been a vastly better preparation for the present than the classical public school education that I had participated.

So, cloning. Cool stuff. I live in a house with two clones. Identical twins. In essence, identical twins share the same DNA and therefore – would be no different than two clones born at the same time.

There is this article (and video) about cloning.

CJ Cherryh knew about these problems. She figured them out with her understanding of the universe. She wrote a series about the process of cloning to reproduce a specific individual.

Back to my identical twins. They may share a huge percentage of their DNA, but they behaviors are vastly different. Despite having the same DNA they experienced everything differently – from the very beginning of their lives. Even during gestation my wife experienced a Subchorionic Hemorrhage which diverted resources from one of the twins. This resulted in her esophagus didn’t grow all the way through and a fistula formed connecting her stomach to her lungs. She experienced surgery at 12 hours old to repair both of these problems.

That wasn’t the end of her problems; however, she had two holes in her heart and as a result of the holes a pulmonary stenosis.

Everything was fixed in the (nerve wracking) end – to the point that she doesn’t need clearance to do gym in school. She has Goretex in her heart. (Say it like in Seinfeld if you remember – damn I’m old. I’m laughing hiding real pain – Deadpool).

Both identical twin girls were born at nearly the same time. The one with the list of problems was in and out of the hospital for the first 6 months of her life. The other twin was in the hospital for a lot less time – she was still born a little premature – and needed more development to occur in her lungs.

All these macro differences and micro differences – resulted in very different personalities. There was the obvious – one twin with the surgeries always weighing a little bit less – by less than a pound – made for significant differences in facial features. However; there were thousands of micro differences in the twins.

It was always odd – that when they were little and just walking that they would always go in different directions. Tastes in food are (sometimes vastly) different.

Coming back to the point though, in terms of human cloning. Each and every small difference in the raising of a clone from the original’s life experiences will likely result in differences in behavior between the clone and the original.

And this point was made decades ago by C.J. Cherryh.

And all these ‘problems’ of human cloning. A clone is a separate individual – as different from the original as a sibling is different – or a twin.

Not all science fiction is as edifying as this series by C.J Cherryh. But the combination of different experiences – like with my twins – may change you – and your outlook about the future – just as it has changed me – and others.

To Create a New Country – Seasteading

There are many layers to creating a new country. In this article I only want to discuss the mechanics of creating a new country on Earth using existing technology. A qualifier about using existing technology does not mean that the specific items already exist – only that existing technology could easily create specific items that are necessary. First we initialize our new country with a location – or rather locations. There can be many locations for the new country; however, two locations will be primary. The first location will be in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Anywhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean as long as it is outside any international borders. If you have guessed already the second facility would be in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. No specific location; however, there will be more on the location. Unlike just about any other country in the world the location will not be fixed. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs indicates that the lower levels need to be satisfied before we can really move in to the upper levels.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Now, satisfying the item of sex will be problematic and certainly has never been done in any society – with a few exceptions where women can’t say no and older men basically marry children – which is a horrific way to live.

  1. Breathing – given the stable atmosphere of the Earth there being enough oxygen should not be a problem. Note; however, that if it becomes a problem there is no better place than in the middle of the ocean to split water molecules and increase the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere locally.
  2. Food – there was an article a long time ago in either Popular Science or Popular Mechanics about a ocean based city that was fully independent of imports for food. The process that was described was in two parts. First, disturbing the nutrient rich sea floor underneath the facility. Second, exchanging or pumping the water from the sea floor to the surface. This way, you can live in even the most ‘dead’ zone of the ocean and create a nutrient rich zone for sea life. Harvesting the life would not be difficult and potentially vast cages could be produced to keep the sea life from being poached by other sea life and to ease the process.
  3. Water – obviously desalinization would be the primary source for water. Secondary would be recycling the water within the system similar to a spaceship instead of the mostly wasteful processes humanity uses on land. In addition, plumbing designs will have to be easily maintainable and not require the use of harsh chemicals. Harsh chemicals would damage the recycling of water supply, the “ship’s” plumbing and poison humans and the greater environment.
  4. Sleep – would be guaranteed safe in individual modular home environments.
  5. Homeostasis – the design needs to properly regulate temperatures and protect from the environment.
  6. Excretion – Now, you might not think this is the most important item on the list; however, it is. In many third world nations there is a lack of bathrooms. Women, have to risk their lives (and sometimes lose them, or be raped) in order to go out to the bathroom at night. Each module would need to have its own bathroom. It should be noted (in case you don’t already know) that nearly twice the population of the United States of America poo in public due to lack of facilities.

So, from this we draw our specifications for a module. A module is for 1 person. If a family moves to the floating city they will bring 1 module per person. A module will be approximately 1,000 square feet, with a small bathroom. A typical family home in the USA is between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet. If a family of three moves to the seastead with three modules they will have 3,000 square feet and three bathrooms. Each module will have dedicated cubic feet for foam material that will ensure that no single module can sink even if punctured. Each module will contain heating and cooling elements to regulate temperature to temperatures tolerable by humans. All entrances will be securable with a locking mechanism. All modules will be able to attach to other modules in any direction. All modules will be able to support the weight of 10 modules on top of them. Custom modules in the future may be able to support larger numbers of modules to create skyscraper buildings inside the seastead. All modules will have energy connections, water connections (waste outgoing, clean incoming), and some solar panels for energy generation. Yes, some modules may be completely occluded from the sun in their final configuration; however, all modules need to generate energy to reduce the reliance on any kind of central energy generation. Solar panels should be removable so that they can be utilized in the final configuration. There would be additional modules for non-living areas – in order to support living modules significantly above water.

Connections will have to allow space between the modules of varying widths. Some units may be quite close to each other. Some might be far apart for large walkways, gathering areas, or malls.

An additional requirement is that all units be equipped with a computer and screen, and that networking be part of the connections to the modules. It should be noted that this would be combined with the marketing and commercial design of the new (undiscovered) country.

Specifically, stores are for the most part a huge waste of space. Specific industries it might be required – say for clothing. Buying items online isn’t very difficult. However; buying clothes (and shoes) online has more difficulties – even with an easy return process. It is much more efficient to be able to quickly go to a store and quickly try a few things and then be on your way.

Transponders will be built in each segment. In cases of emergency the structure of the seastead can change – extending the modules away from each other; however, still connected but better able to withstand giant waves or severe weather.

While the structure of the modules will be relatively static; there will be people who control the configuration. The present Earth architecture is always static. The modularity of the seastead will allow for changes and chaos in the most basic of environment.

One of the core concepts of the society is that only living things change. Even a living thing can be dead if it ceases to change.

Specific modules will need to be developed for critical city services.

To continue with the model of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. The second level is : Safety.

  1. Security of body – requires a police force, fire department, hospitals, educational infrastructure.
  2. Employment – within the seastead – the city – there will be 100% employment. Everyone will do something of value. In the world, in a single company, in a single country – there are always things that need to be done, but that go not done. Everything will be done in the floating city. Even people who do not have any physical capabilities can perform virtual work.
  3. Resources – is a harder question at this time. There should be a guarantee of enough resources for people to survive and thrive. Resources of a larger amount – to start a new endeavor, etc, would require effort, charter, explanations of what the project of business would do – for you as the owner and for the society as a whole. Beneficial projects that are within the resources of the society should almost always be approved unless they present a danger to the society.
  4.  Morality – is an even harder question to answer. I would leave this to the people who live on the city.
  5. Family – is an arbitrary distinction. A family could be anything. Whatever people define as a family should be protected – no matter what form it takes.
  6. Health – Healthcare will be provided to everyone, as much as it can be. I remember long ago Rush Limbaugh had a skit about everyone being on a cruise ship. If you would help pay for everyone’s health care. He made it look crazy. It isn’t crazy. In fact it is a requirement. If you have one person come on board your city and they are sick – it could spread to everyone. Impacting the number of lives on board the city. Impacting the quality of life for everyone on the city. Even genetic diseases and cancers affect society in general. People who are crippled by disease become more of a burden on everyone in general – so we need to do everything possible – free healthcare, free medicine, free whatever they need – in order to ensure that individuals do not experience negative outcomes through illness, disease, or human foul play. In addition, no one should ever go to work sick. Talk about disease vectors. If you do actually get sick stay home. Medical care should come to you. This way the chances of disease transferences in a centralized location are reduced. Whenever I go to my children’s doctor I see the well and sick side waiting rooms. This should never happen. The chances of disease spreading when people go to a central location are vastly increased.
  7. Property – ownership is an important concept even if it is illusionary. We don’t own anything beyond the end of our lives – at least not yet. Ownership also has perils. Hoarding situations would not be tolerated on the city. It presents a health risk to everyone, and in specific the ability of a person’s individual unit to stay afloat. In the broader aspect the ownership of the city and the assets of the city are to be democratically assigned with rules that ensure the stability of the city.

Beyond that on Maslow’s Hierarchy – institutions and systems cannot be created to ensure humanity’s peace of mind. The ground work can be laid to allow people to do what they need to make their lives peaceful, successful, and happy.

An additional note on sanitation, health, and excretion. Individual units need the ability to process excrement and liquid waste. This removes the need for a vast network of pipes and giant sewage processing plants – which would be costly, heavy, and expensive.

Once a design is finalized it could be used as a basis for building a space colony.

To Build a New Country

I am more than a little upset by the recent outcome of the United States Presidential Election, and the Senate, and the House of Representatives.

Not; however, just for the reasons that the candidates that I would have preferred lost. It is the fact that in our two-party system, with the parties set diametrically opposed on virtually every issue, that no matter who one half the country would be disenfranchised.

It seems that we live in two United States of America.

However; it doesn’t have to be that way. There have been and can be more than two major political parties. I looked up Abraham Lincoln’s election and saw four political parties. Republican, Southern Democratic, Northern Democratic and Constitutional Union.

It seems somewhat of a long-term idea that if we get 4 parties – and perhaps the president of the US would be the result of a partnership between parties if no single candidate can get the appropriate number of electoral votes.

This whole electoral college idea has always bothered me. It was created because of the technology of the time. Still, while I believe this electoral college system needs to go – that doesn’t alter the results of the current election. Even if we go to the popular vote, you see half of our voting public split – with one half to be disenfranchised.

There are other options. Technology is an awesome concept. It can level all playing fields. Ultimately, we no longer need to be tied to the land in order to be a country, anymore. If we are disenfranchised enough, why not leave – buy boats, sell homes, and then become a conglomerate fleet of free people unified in the beliefs of what is moral adrift from any existing governmental institutions.

It could be done. And then when forming the government of this place – this Tanelorn, perhaps we could use a document of the lessons learned from existing democracies. What went wrong? Why does it appear to continually go wrong?

A shared design of these boats so that they can interlock and form an artificial island that can direct its travel would be an incredible reality – as well as combining that with a governmental system that actually works.

Therein lies the rub. I suspect the engineering of such a place while significant would be minimal compared to crafting a real working government. A government that is not riddled with the wrongs of the past, like the United States treatment (ongoing) of Native Americans. Like the Tuskegee experiments. Like Woodrow Wilson removing black people from serving in government positions or those black people that remained employed by the government not being able to share working facilities and bathrooms with white people.

When you dig in to the history of the USA – there are a lot of dark things in its past. They were allowed or sidestepped the constitution, the bill of rights, and every governmental safeguard.

There needs to be a place that has not had these dark things happen. That does not ever allow these dark things to happen. I believe that we could make such a place.

The Necessity of Planning – and not following the Plan

Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential. – Winston Churchill

There it is. A quote. Obey the quote.

Well, don’t do that. In this age of memes the fact that is lost is that detail is important. Saying a single independent statement doesn’t mean anything without a structure, evidence, and an explanation of why that meme is something other than just a sequence of words.

I have done a lot of interviews for project management jobs. I have had discussions with many people in the project management field. People talking about planning and then staying on that plan. The importance of dates and hitting dates and finishing projects under budget and on time or early.

They all miss the point of planning. Planning in essence has two components. Estimating time and costs is one of those two. Estimating tied up with planning is where these problems are introduced about following the plan. The second core function of planning is understanding the major risks in a project and anticipating them.

I know, you are going to say “That’s risk management”. Yes, it is; however, long before you get to risk management there are major forks in a project that have to be addressed long before discussions of risk management. In addition, as with many parts of project management – Risk Management has to occur at the same time as planning.

Still, though, all of the above are just words strung in sequences. Let’s take a trip on the beginning of the first generation ship.  During the selection process Juno is the asteroid selected for this generation ship. It is chosen symbolically as well as for the physical characteristics – it was the generation ship in the series Eon by Greg Bear.

Sequence of Events – Version A

During the planning process it is outlined that remote drone diggers will be sent to Juno. These will work to hollow out the interior of the asteroid. Creating tubes from several points on the surface digging down to the center of Juno. Then, digging a sphere in the center outward for the volume for humans to live.

Sequence of Events Version B

During the early planning phase of the generation ship – many scientists are invited to consult on the steps in the project. During a brainstorming sessions one of the scientists raises the question – that Juno and many other larger asteroids that are relatively spherical in shape may have an iron or metal core.

An intense and lively debate is subsequent to this potential. A team is set up and an alternative plan is formed should the digger drone units run in to iron or any other metal in the core of Juno. Other possibilities are introduced that there might be streaks of metal in sections of Juno as well.

Additional drones are developed to melt metal that may not be required. However; since it is unknown if there is a metal core in Juno everything needs to be prepared if the drones run in to metal as they drill to the core of Juno or at the core.

Convergence.

In sequence A – if there is no metal core then all is well. In sequence B, if there is a metal core or not the plan will work either way. Melting units are sent – while causing additional costs – in preparation for the worse case scenario that the digger drones run in to metal. They do run in to metal – and instead of halting the project and incurring massive costs and time loss – the project is able to continue to hollow out Juno for use as a generation ship.