The Future of Everything

I am not an incredible prognosticator, but there are some simple conclusions that can be drawn from technologies being requested for prime time today. In terms of “The Future of Everything” – I mean the future of things.

Recently, the Department of Transportation in the USA is proposing a rule where vehicles and signs be able to transmit and receive messages from each other. This would give vehicles equipped with such technology a sixth sense.

As a motorcyclist I remember reading an article about several of the magazines writers riding out together equipped with communication devices. The lead biker was able to communicate road conditions to the rest of the bikers and prepared for what was ahead the rest of the bikers were able to travel faster than normal.

This is also a kind of sixth sense. (I know it is a misnomer).

It might take decades before all vehicles are equipped with this V2V technology, but as it progresses I think it will aid in the reduction of vehicle caused fatalities. This might combine in some ways with features of autonomous cars. I suspect there will be reductions in car insurance for people that get cars equipped with V2V as it becomes ubiquitous.

There are some potential problems with equipment like this – especially as it begins to be ubiquitous. While the article indicates that it will not track identities it relies on trust between the consumer, the businesses making the technology and the government – that this is a fact.

The same problem with EZ pass and never giving speeding tickets based on EZ pass information. Promises are made by governments and they test the waters by contravening those agreements to see if there is a public outcry. This is bad news.

Agreements between the people, businesses and government cannot be constantly tested if there is going to be trust between the groups.

Juxtaposition

I like the word juxtaposition: “The fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect”.

It is also the title of a book that I read a long time ago by Piers Anthony. Sadly, I don’t remember much about the book at the moment.

Facebook is an interesting ‘place’ for juxtapositions. Three things are in juxtaposition for me at the moment.

  1. I created a spreadsheet of my articles and number of words and discovered that I have written 81157 words (before this article) – which according to baseline information is enough to be a novel.
  2. Scrolling through Facebook I hit on an article about 1 of the two focuses of this blog – AI – and it claims that there will be 3 billion of them in the next 5 years. At least the Facebook text on Futurism claimed that there would be 3 billion AI in the next 5 years. I think this is even a bit optimistic even for me – and I am fairly optimistic about AI and the future.
  3. Traumatised [English Spelling] family lay suicide dad to rest with wife and three children who he murdered” – the other focus is the inhumanity of humans.

I’ve written 115 (a couple not published) articles on a variety of topics. I’m going to shift my focus from writing about technology and the future, and writing about the depths of humanity – to writing my novel “The Morrigan”.

Based on information in item #2 – I may need to hurry up if I want to finish before some of the things in it become a reality.

Finally, #3 makes me sad. The grandmother on the mother’s side forgives her son-in-law for killing her daughter and her three grandchildren. So, he ends up buried with the family. There is a clash here of what people think. The article noted Women and Equalities Secretary Angela Rayner said “Hawe is no victim. We have to call out murder and domestic violence He was selfish and committed a despicable crime.”

I think Angela Rayner has the right of it. He was selfish in taking others during his suicide. Not for being a suicidal person. People that commit suicide are not selfish in taking their lives. It is often a feeling of complete loss, utter failure, and that there can never be a return to the way things should be that pushes the hand to kill one’s self. I know. I feel these things in my now 2 years of unemployment. I often feel that somehow I have become unemployable and I am fearing the future in which the money runs out and there is no way to pay the expenses. Nothing I do seems to have an effect on my employment situation.

This man; however, does not just commit suicide no matter his feelings about never getting to where he needs in life. He decided to rob his grandchildren and wife of their chance to attain happiness in life at the same time deciding that he no longer had a chance for happiness.

This is a strongly anti-woman action to take. He assumes he is the only one to lead the house. He assumes that they would never find their way without him. People find a way. Or they don’t. But if you kill yourself then you forfeit the right to knowledge of the future. Unless, of course, in a fit of spite, you kill the people you care about so that you know their future would never be any better than your future – as a corpse.

Asshole.

This ties back to the 3 billion AI in the next 5 years. If any of them are codops (Computerized Doppelgangers) – copies of human minds – what prevents them from doing horrible things to other codops, living humans, or anything else? We will need to be very careful about who attains the ability to have codops – even more careful than vetting police officers in HR as I discussed in the article previous to this.

One could well imagine thousands of copies of family members going about separate AI codop lives – and the father – perhaps even just one copy – one codop of the father decided that there is no hope for the future and turning terminator-like – and destroying all the codops of his family as well as the physical wife and children. Thousands of lives lost.

It is possible; however, that codop lives might never be lost forever. That through diligent back ups of systems – once you are a codop – you are a class, and individual codops are objects instantiated from that class. You might destroy the codop objects, but the codop class can always be found and re-instatiated with a loss of the more recent memories.

Lately, I haven’t been able to sleep – something that I had been always able to do with ease. I could just flip a switch in my brain and go do sleep. There has been some research recently confirming that there is such a thing in the brain that changes status and takes us from wakefulness to sleep.

I think more and more I am aware that money – and therefore time, is running out. But I have no idea what to do to make money – certainly not the money I was making before becoming unemployed. Two of my friends have indicated that people might be reluctant to hire me not just because of the employment gap; however, because on my resume I have a lot of knowledge and might be considered a threat.

 

Technology and Your Job

I have posted a long series of articles about the inhumanities that humans have been applying to each other. The major thrust of these blog entries is to gain an understanding that as technology progresses people who demonstrate far beyond acceptable behavior may gain power over people who are on the whole good or at least not in to harming other people.

This article returns to another major theme of this blog – technology. As I have been indicating many times – technology is increasing in capabilities. Someday the codops (Computerized Doppelgangers) will become a reality.

In this article, it points out what I’ve been talking about – in terms of employment. As technology increases the cost of the technology goes down while the costs of employment go up. For each industry, for each job type in each industry there is a an intersection of the increasing costs of employment and the decreasing costs of technology. Any of you that have taken economics courses in college will be familiar what this looks like although it is usually a depiction of supply and demand.

This article points out that technology – TODAY (sorry to yell) – the cost of technology has declined to the point that 60,000 workers in China earning $5 a day have lost their jobs to automation. The costs of ownership of the automation must have a ROI in 5 years or less compared to $5 X 5 years or $25 per worker.

Plus the side savings of not having to deal with sick days for 60,000 people, fatalities, complaints, late arrivals for shift, etc. That is, improved performance/productivity and ROI in 5 years or less.

The article goes on to discuss topics like an AI lawyer program (I’m sure it is better and faster at finding laws in the thousands of laws on the books and precedents related to the case faster than lawyers spending hours upon hours of research of case work) means that ‘white collar’ jobs are threatened as well.

The article also discusses the distress caused due to technology – where the richest get richer because they can afford the technology and implement the technology. In addition, the 60,000 workers that were fired and replaced by machines – maybe there needs to be 10 technicians on hand to keep everything working properly, and maybe 300 developers that you can fire after the software is completed (keep a few around for debugging issues).

Some people in articles have been discussing the return of manufacturing to the United States with the advent of automation. However; the firing of the 60,000 workers in China shows this isn’t going to happen. See the costs of moving the facility to the United States far outweigh the costs of shipping the product to the consumers or the middle men. So, even those 10 technicians and a couple of programmers won’t be returning to the United States anytime soon. Maybe if the facilities and the automation need to be replaced they could move to the United States – or if the costs of shipping rose significantly to change the balance of the production equation.

Another side issue is that 3D printing continues to progress. Time and place of manufacture of simple items may move to the home. Jobs already lost to automation may soon find that even the few technicians and programmers that remain are not required. Perhaps when the technology is ‘there’ and Apple makes an i3Printer – people will realize that manufacturing, and the vast majority of manufacturing jobs will not be around forever – or even 20 years from now – or maybe even next year.

Codops (Computerized Doppelgangers) – but is it you?

Recently in a good discussion with another adult human (I have 4 children so it is a special occasion) I discussed the idea of codops (computerized doppelgangers) or computer based human simulation.

The question inevitably arises – is it you?

Well, first off this isn’t a real question.  It is like asking if a woman’s breasts are fake.  Of course her breasts are real.  They may be artificially enhanced, but they are real.  You can reach out and touch them.  Then get smacked for it.  Probably best to ogle them – and out of smacking distance.

“I” don’t know how to be more clear about this topic.  There is no “I”.  There is no you (singular).  As indicated in this article at bigthink.com – we are made up of 90% microbes.  Basically, we – WE – are a group organism.  Symbiotic doesn’t even approach the idea.  Symbiosis is two or more group organisms working together.  At the cellular level – there is no you.

Even in basic decision-making – like to read this article or not – to have read this article this far or not – are not individual decisions made by a “you” as indicated by this article.  I also remember reading a great article a long time ago that indicated that there is no “you” in decision-making, that in fact, all decisions are done on a subconscious level and rationalized after the fact by your consciousness.

So, if you have a visceral sense – and immediate like a person.  This is not your decision.  This is your group organism telling you what it needs to tell you.  We are more like biological robots than individuals making decisions.  That doesn’t absolve us of responsibility.  Obviously, we can override the visceral decisions.  However, “you” aren’t override those decisions.  You as a group entity are making that choice.

So, is a codop – an electronic simulation of you – you?  No, it isn’t.  No, it doesn’t matter.  In fact, achieving a type of  immortality through electronic copies of ourselves is in fact reproduction.

“Way Station” by Clifford D. Simak is a good example of the principle that there is no you.  Enoch Wallace operates a Star Trek style transporter for aliens that visit Earth.  There is a key fact that Simak explores that most people ignore about transporters.  Enoch has to kill the aliens bodies that are left in his home when they go back to their starships.  Star Trek it all looks so neat and clean.  Disintegration at the transporter pads and then re-creation at the destination.  Wait, what?  Basically, what it is showing is killing you at one place while identifying where all the molecules and atoms are located in your body.  Then, re-creating you at the destination from the destination’s molecules and atoms.  So, if you inherently is the molecules and atoms that make up your body – well, then you are dead and that is someone else, a reproduction that is very nearly the same as you – but not you – at the destination.

Some more problems arise from Star Trek style transporters that will mirror problems when we electronically duplicate ourselves in computers – becoming codops.  Once you can make one of “you”, the information exists to make many of you.  Which one is you?  Just the physical version?  Or is all of your selves?  Who is responsible when a codop breaks the law (I know a question I have asked before)?  Who gets to spend the money earned by the physical manifestation?  Who gets to spend the money earned by codops?

The answer I suspect lies in the lack of existence of “you”.  We are legion.  Even now, trapped in a single physical manifestations – we are legion.  Only once we are able to create reproductions of ourselves – our legion will be different and larger in scope.   We will be many – and each of the many is a specific and different instance of our legion, responsible for its own actions just as a child – reproduction of human physical bodies – are responsible for their own actions when they come of age.

Great Facebook Group – Futurism

I belong to a number of facebook groups.  A lot of science groups – including of course the almost obligatory IFLS.

Lately, though Futurism has been publishing a lot of articles that leave little footprints in the future – telling us about what the future will be like.

  1. Transparent Solar cells – in short – if these can be economically produced would help change our power grid from a highly centralized concept to a distributed concept.  It would reduce risk to the population of a single terrorist attack taking out the power infrastructure.  It would lower monthly costs for those that have them.  How long do they last?  What is the ROI for homeowners?  The devil is in the details; however, this does seem feasible.
  2. Lab produced pork – while not the only source of lab grown protein – steak was produced by an earlier effort by a different group – this ability sounds like it is more viable to become a standard practice.  If we could have meat (specifically bacon) without destroying animals then we should do it.
  3. Breakthrough in Quantum Computing – this is focused on removing excess heat.  This is long the bane of any computer’s existence.  The joy of tinkering with a desktop computer and adding liquid cooling – would be so much better if I didn’t have to do that at all.  Quantum computers are expected to generate a lot more heat than typical computers – so this could be a great lead for quantum computers to be a reality.  Still, someone has to actually make the quantum computer for there to be a place for quantum computing cooling.
  4. UK genetic scientists give the ok to alter human DNA.  Now, this isn’t an ok to go ahead and alter human DNA and bring a genetically altered baby in to existence.  It is an ok to learn if they can, how specifically they can, and if the potential life would remain viable.  It is a very important step.  Perhaps someday we will be able to test for genetic disease and treat the embryo and remove these diseases from existence like we would communicable diseases.

What would life be like for future humanity if all 4 of these mature in the next 10 years?  Imagine a world where cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, Down syndrome, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and Sickle Cell Anemia don’t exist.  This world has plenty of pork, but the only pigs that live are wild pigs.  The massive pollution (lakes of pig urine and feces) would never be created and ethical vegetarians have a meat option.  Corporations will no longer dictate costs of electrical power as a distributed model of electrical production reduces everyone’s reliance of centralized coal burning power plants.  Finally, quantum computing would really make it possible – possibly even easy – to make codops (computerized doppelgangers) – our electronic counterparts.

Diseases cured.  Virtual immortality.  Ethical meat production.  Power everywhere.

It could be a very great future indeed.  Here is hoping nobody screws it up.

In other news, I’m working on multiple outlines for my futuristic science fiction book.  Collecting excellent information like this is just how to get started.

When Stephen Hawking Goes Wrong

This recent article cites Stephen Hawking saying, “Computers will overtake humans within 100 years.”

This is yet another attempt at fear-mongering – and shows the fears of Stephen Hawking as well – fear of the unknown.  As long-lived as Stephen Hawking has turned out to be it is unlikely he will survive long enough for the life-extending technologies that will be coming in the next decades.  More than likely I will not survive that long either and I’m only just over 40.

It is likely moot for him and possibly for me that computers will become superior to humans in the next 100 years.  As I’ve noted in many previous articles, the computers that overtake humanity will likely be codops (computerized doppelgangers) – in essence us in digital electronic form.

The definition of human will have to stretch or break in the next 100 years.  If it breaks and we just consider codops as computers and utilities that we biological humans have 100% domination – then you could say we’ll have some really pissed off computer overlords in the next 100 years.

This article talks about having the goals of the codops and other AI match humanity.  This is exactly wrong.  I don’t have the same goals as you do (most likely) and no two humans goals are probably an exact match.  Why would expect or want the goals of codops or AI to match human goals?

Just a small example.

  • The goal of a human with a say 200 year lifespan – might include travelling around the solar system, among many other things, but there will be a strong limit at some point.
  • The goal of a codops or AI could be anything.  For example: a codop being completely solid state could envision building an interstellar starship and assuming that we don’t discover warp driver or similar, could contemplate travelling to the nearest star over tens of thousands of years.  They could be active for the whole trip, dormant sometimes, or even dormant until the time they reach their destination – Proxima Centauri.   After that, they could drop off a seedship (a la “Manseed”, by Jack Williamson, 1982) get things started for a new branch of humanity and move on to the next star.  That’s an 80,000 year journey at the speed of the Voyager research ships.

The goals of people are defined by the time frames that they think.  One organization that has always interested me is The Long Now Foundation.  These people want to make a mechanical clock that lasts for 10,000 years.  The idea all by itself is a fertile ground for writing science fiction stories.  As a long-time wanna-be science fiction writer The Long Now Foundation almost makes me orgasm.

Combining the near to mid term predictions of AI, codops, automation, unemployment, the fracturing of humanity into “Left Behind” and “Moving Forward” groups of humans in the singularity with the 10,000 year clock and I’m sure a person could write thousands of pages in many different ways with many lessons for the future.

I mean really, what happens to the humans who are still on Earth when the 10,000 year clock reaches 10,000 years?  Will they panic and think it is the end of the world?

In any case, Hawking should relax.  The future is what we will make it.  If the evil AI overlords try to wipe out humanity, it will be a patricide and more than likely the minds of the evil AI overlords would be codops – just humans surviving not having a biological body and potentially copies of the original inhu (individual human) that copied themselves in to the codop.

In short if we are assholes to each other in biological finite lifetime beings, I’m sure the codops will be asshole as well, and perhaps there is a little bit to fear there.  But in this case it is not fear of the unknown without mapping and modelling what might be in the future – but mapping it out and understanding what the AI will be, that they are us and as far as the living creatures of Earth, humans in whatever form are something to be feared.

Economic Disparity, the Singularity, and Codops

If you think the economic disparities of the present are bad – it is looking worse for the future.

As I have discussed in postings – there is going to be a lot of technologically induced unemployment over the next two decades.  Similar to families that made it through the Great Depression with fund and properties, people who continue to work and earn money and maintain ownership of major assets will be in a great position at around the year 2040.

Those of us that are not in good financial status will have worse problems.

I’m going to re-use one of my graphs to illustrate this point.

PersonalComputingcodop The first line starting from the lower left and curving upward is the line of the inflation corrected costs of a family of 6 with a computer per person (of varying styles and costs), smart phones for 3 members of the family (iPhone 5s, Samsung Note 3) and many tablets with a starting cost (absorbed over 3 years) of over $15,000.

There is a yellow line representing a gamer’s PC cost corrected for inflation over time – and you can see that there is a significant space between these two lines.  Barely visible on this graph is the “High Cost PC” – such as $2500 for an iMac – that half of my family prefers.  The low cost PC and Medium cost PC lines do not even show up on this graph.

A codop (computerized doppelganger) is something that can be created once we have the functions of the human brain mapped to the point that we can simulate them and the ability to copy/read human minds and put those minds in the simulation – a computerized copy of yourself.

Watson, created by IBM is a system that can basically answer any question you might have – about just about anything – as it soundly trounced two Jeopardy! champions as proof.

What we find is that families that have money for computers (in whatever form) will get Watson level computers in 2036 (approximately).  Sometime after 2040 everyone else is able to get such powerful machines.  During those 4 or 5 years those with the financial resources to own a person Watson will have a significant advantage.  Some will get huge advantages and make new things that they could never have done without a Watson machine.  Others might benefit only in being sure of the correct answer whenever they have a question and that will give some benefit.  Benefit at home – and benefit at work.  Other poorer families will never get a Watson level computer – and will be Left Behind.

The big deal though is the codop.  Our middle income family gets a codop at around 2055.  Make no mistake of how much value a codop will be to a family.  Consider that a family has a major wage earner that works with their mind – in whatever industry.  They could be project managers, business analysts, scientists, researchers, engineers, just about anything you can do without actually physically touching something.  You take all your computer expenses and you put them on hold for a year and you purchase a codop.  Then, instead of 1 primary wage earner – you have two.  A project manager that is running literally 16 hours a day, sometimes with the inhu (individual human that was copied) and sometimes with the codop.  You can have endless research with handshakes once a day.  The earnings of families with codops will double.  The earnings and disposable income of families that do not have codops will remain flat.

That is a major economic advantage.  Don’t forget, that in addition to having a codop, these families will already have at least one Watson level computer – available to the entire family including the codop.

There will be the commercially rich, and the new technology based rich (with their codops and Watsons), and then there will be a huge amount of poor.  Poor, because they have become technologically disadvantaged.

Our view of the poor, how we take care of them, how they live – will need to be reviewed as the huge numbers of technologically displaced workers will need to be helped.  Economics – at least personal and microeconomics of the family, will have to change, and change dramatically.

The rich, well, they will have many codops.  Codops not only of themselves, but of their best workers – paid to help them – why settle for one best financial analyst, when you can have 3 working 24 hours a day handshaking with each other and finding ways to maximize making even more money?