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The next great technology & change?


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8 hours ago, cantab said:

That incident recently with the Tesla being "summoned" and crashing into a multimillion dollar airplane made me think about AI. While it's true a human might make that mistake, I think most people would be more cautious driving around an airfield, because we know planes are expensive. The AIs we currently have are being "trained" on narrow tasks, they don't have the lived experience that a person does, and I wonder if that might limit AI in some respects. It's not that Tesla's AI didn't recognise an airplane, it's that it doesn't know what an airplane is. All it knows is that there's stuff it's allowed to drive towards and stuff it's not allowed to drive towards. Just what level of safety can such a narrow mind have? There have been other examples of the Tesla autopilot veering towards cyclists and stuff.

To get an AI that can replace a human, might we not have to essentially raise it as a human? Is anyone attempting that? Would such an experiment even be considered ethical?

A problem would immediately arise of collecting a sufficiently large dataset, and then thoroughly cleaning it. Anything short of going through it with a toothbrush can result in the AI developing a weird bias, either unintentionally or, worse, intentionally (e.g. poisoning the data to tech the AI to ram any vehicle with Pennsylvania plates), it would take a lot of testing to even identify that bias, and then you'd have to start the whole process all over.

The problem seems that humans have a lot of built-in "brakes" that prevent us from doing something potentially harmful. We develop this over a huge period of time, and we're usually able to override impulses from an ill-trained neural net of our own. Whereas our AIs don't have that, and so, in the same place, if an AI decided it wanted a donut it plausibly could rob someone in the street for a donut if something clicked in its brain.

Our AIs are sociopaths.

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2 hours ago, DDE said:

Whereas our AIs don't have that, and so, in the same place, if an AI decided it wanted a donut it plausibly could rob someone in the street for a donut if something clicked in its brain.

Reminds me of those scaly things killing off all of humanity (thus all potential bearers of mutants) to “police the mutants” as instructed by the humans in X-Men.

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On 5/11/2022 at 3:55 AM, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

The examples given (largely focused on the US/West) are:

  • Factories
  • the Railroad 
  • Electricity 
  • the Automobile, and finally, 
  • the Microchip

Each new technology had a massive impact - a transformative impact - on not only the economy, but also society and how humans use our time and interact with the world. 

I know this is not a complete list, but I personally think the washing machine is missing. 

Imangine a world without the washing machine. How many extra hours of a day is needed to do the laundry? Albert Einstein will spend his time washing his shirt rather than thinking about the loophole in Newtonian Physics. Many men and women will stay in the house washing clothes instead of working to boost the economy and develop cutting-edge techonlogy. Without the washing machine there would possibly not exist Microchips or the ISS till today because their developers and engineers need time to wash their socks and trousers and their effective time for calculation is low. Also there would not be a game called Kerbal Space Program and this forum wouldn't exist. 

So the next game-changer may be something that lets a country pioneer. But it may also be something that benefits the entire population of 7 billion (including the current population sunken in poverty). That seems like a big word but maybe it eleiminates the need to do something completely mechanic and involves little creative thinking. What can you think of? A machine that can clean your skin/teeth/etc. automatically so you don't have to spend half an hour taking a shower and getting dry?

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10 hours ago, cantab said:

That incident recently with the Tesla being "summoned" and crashing into a multimillion dollar airplane made me think about AI. While it's true a human might make that mistake, I think most people would be more cautious driving around an airfield, because we know planes are expensive. The AIs we currently have are being "trained" on narrow tasks, they don't have the lived experience that a person does, and I wonder if that might limit AI in some respects. It's not that Tesla's AI didn't recognise an airplane, it's that it doesn't know what an airplane is. All it knows is that there's stuff it's allowed to drive towards and stuff it's not allowed to drive towards. Just what level of safety can such a narrow mind have? There have been other examples of the Tesla autopilot veering towards cyclists and stuff.

To get an AI that can replace a human, might we not have to essentially raise it as a human? Is anyone attempting that? Would such an experiment even be considered ethical?

And then there's adversarial inputs against image-recognition AI. Get an object, put a specially-designed sticker on it, and the AI is fooled into thinking it's a completely different object. It's a mistake no human would make. Of course we make our own mistakes, they're called optical illusions. But we live in a world designed for what human vision can and can't do. Machine vision that's unlike our own - which means ALL currently existing machine vision - will always struggle in that environment. Redesigning our world for the machines, well, it might happen some day, but I don't think that would be a good thing.

Ten years ago I though self-driving cars were just round the corner. I learned to drive feeling like I was learning an already-obsolete skill. But now, self-driving cars outside of limited geographic areas seem further away than they were in 2010.

Cars encounter planes very rarely so its not something its easy to train for, you also don't want the car to freak out about them. 
But in general cars should not drive into anything. It does not need to know that an piano is, just that it should not impact it. Same with shopping carts who it probably know about. 
And yes you can push shopping carts away with an car its not an AI need to do. 

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24 minutes ago, AllenLi said:

Albert Einstein will spend his time washing his shirt rather than thinking about the loophole in Newtonian Physics.

So, without the washing machine he could be doing two useful things at once: washing his shirt and thinking about the loophole in Newtonian Physics.

And would save a lot of electricty.

Makes sense.

26 minutes ago, AllenLi said:

Many men and women will stay in the house washing clothes instead of working to boost the economy and develop cutting-edge techonlogy.

So, twice as less people would be getting me with useless phone calls (the "sociological surveys", "tariff plans", and so on), and I would have at least a minute in shops to watch the goods on the shelves before a ninja in uniform cries in my ear "Good morning! What do you want?!"

Makes sense.

***

So, down with washing machines, go manual washing!

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I listened to a podcast a few years back which looked at time use surveys and concluded that washing machines made much less difference than you might think, basically people wore clothes for longer before washing them, used detachable collars, dark colours to hide dirt etc.

The thing that really made a difference was pre prepared food. The average food preparation time for a household in the 60s was around 4h a day, now it is 45m.

We were willing to be a bit grubby but not too starve.

The BBC did a great series called "50 things that changed the modern economy" that I had to re-listen to to write this

 

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One slightly different approach to "the next big thing" could be an overhaul to our IP laws.

Currently, the whole system makes a mockery of the whole concept of "supply and demand" as there is an infinite supply of each "IP unit" that can be replicated as needed to nearly everyone.  But modern economics is built on artificially limiting that supply, and typically intentionally damaging (see any Intel CPU, or most microelectronics in general) said product to allow different prices for segregated markets (another example is that it is cheaper to make "loaded" cars with all options than to build "base" models without them, at least until you add leather interiors).  Compare the price of "officially licensed" and "legally branded" products to their exact knock-offs (often made with less volume efficiency) and you get the idea of the price of all that IP.

On the other hand, alternative methods are few and far between.  Copyleft is making progress, largely because software is the most extreme example of the above effect, but rarely directly provides the support for programmers and other IP creators that the corporations hoarding their IP can.  Purely socialist economies haven't done so well, but it isn't clear that a system that privatized commodities (or production in general) and socialized the IP might not work.  It would run into tremendous international legal issues (to the point of banning discussion as politics), so could only be done by a country capable of working  outside of the current international legal system (through either ostracism or political power/size).

I really don't think 3d printers could niavely perform such a feat, although perhaps something like kickstarter and similar could evolve to match "microfactories" that print molds and whatnot and quickly do small runs of specific products would be a thing.  Getting crafters to figure out "all the steps in between" would probably be interesting, and lead to even more gripes about failed projects than currently on kickstarter.   It is certainly a far more political/legal issue than a technological one, although certain technologies (like software is now) might speed up the process. NOTE: an idea very similar to kickstarter was floated on rec.arts.sf-lovers way back when the internet was new and established authors thought the whole idea was crazy that people would fund sequels to otherwise unprofitable works that were a favorite of a small amount of readers.  Or perhaps Patreon would be a better model if relatively few people shouldered the burden of getting otherwise unprofitable books written and published.

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2 hours ago, cubinator said:

I think the pandemic has catalyzed a bit of a societal shift. I think maybe the thing to come first might be a change in the way we conduct ourselves, before any particular object.

Has it? I'm not that sure. Barely three months after an omicron wave, I'm seeing undiminished crowds, next to no masks (<1% use on public transport), and the subway is removing free sanitizer stations. People are in a rush to return to normalcy. The only holdout I can still see are people (not) at work, and that's only because of a very clear lack of need for in-person attendance in my industry - and because the office admin is yet to return all the chairs that they've taken away to enforce social distancing.

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4 minutes ago, DDE said:

Has it? I'm not that sure. Barely three months after an omicron wave, I'm seeing undiminished crowds, next to no masks (<1% use on public transport), and the subway is removing free sanitizer stations. People are in a rush to return to normalcy. The only holdout I can still see are people (not) at work, and that's only because of a very clear lack of need for in-person attendance in my industry - and because the office admin is yet to return all the chairs that they've taken away to enforce social distancing.

I say "catalyzed" because I'm aware it's not a total upheaval, nor is it a complete reason for any future society being the way it is. It's an experience that moves things slightly in another direction for the future, even in the case you've observed of people working from home more. That and other pandemic-related experiences will be an influence on decisions people make from now on.

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as far as great plagues go, this one was kind of meh. think of all the changes that happened because of the spanish flu (i cant think of any). thats about what we will get out of this pandemic. 

the only thing different this time was we had biotech to roll out a vaccine in less than 2 years. just goes to show there is not a virus on the planet that cant be nuked from orbit provided you want to spend the 2 years and the millions of dollars it took to develop the vaccine. that really doesn't save us from future pandemics, unless we can make the lead time shorter. 

Edited by Nuke
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  • 1 month later...

I've had a bit of time to ponder this and I'm starting to think that the major disrupter and source of increase in productivity is going to be in AI / Robotics and Automation. 

Sure, these things all exist currently - but the potential is only just now being scratched. 

Drones in warfare are likely already driving innovation in this space that was previously the realm of hobbyists and logisticians (warehousing has been a leading innovative sector for robots, AI and automation). The military use will likely lead to far more robust AI, anti-jamming / hacking tech and proof the 'delivery swarm' idea Amazon started working on a few years ago 

Of course - while in some ways this is going to increase productivity... There are whole lot of people who will be displaced (economically) by this. 

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If you think about it, AI, automation and robotics are decades away from ubiquity and yet have some of the highest potential for being the game changing tech that both enhances productivity and disrupts the current norm. 

Self driving vehicles are in the infancy.  Drone and robotic logistic warehouse workers are being fleeted with massive upgrades in performance every year.  Home use robots are hardly present (roomba) but growing in popularity.  3D printing of houses have started. 

The aspects of daily life that might not see innovation in this area are few. 

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3 hours ago, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

I've had a bit of time to ponder this and I'm starting to think that the major disrupter and source of increase in productivity is going to be in AI / Robotics and Automation. 

Sure, these things all exist currently - but the potential is only just now being scratched. 

Drones in warfare are likely already driving innovation in this space that was previously the realm of hobbyists and logisticians (warehousing has been a leading innovative sector for robots, AI and automation). The military use will likely lead to far more robust AI, anti-jamming / hacking tech and proof the 'delivery swarm' idea Amazon started working on a few years ago 

Of course - while in some ways this is going to increase productivity... There are whole lot of people who will be displaced (economically) by this. 

I think the economics of this have not been studied enough to make it clear.

How is AI supposed to produce a vibrant society and economy if 99% of the people are out of the job?

It seems like in business circles, AI is discussed from a cost savings point of view- this is what is really meant when they talk of “efficiency”, even if there is an increase in physical productivity. And both it’s creators (i.e. companies working on it) and it’s users (businesses) are treating it exactly as one would treat utilization of cheap foreign labor instead of looking at it as an entirely new socioeconomic problem.

Of course, if we define “productivity” as “how big is the number on my spreadsheet” and not “how are the humans doing”, it will probably result in an increase.

And I am skeptical of the viability of self-driving vehicles. All it will take is a single accident- let alone multiple- and we will see a 737 MAX style movement to end or heavily restrict its use. While they aren’t too vocal/aware right now, I imagine we will see a movement to at least restrict its use from truckers themselves. The reason why I don’t see them asking for a total ban is that they likely understand how a shortage of trucking capability exists/existed, and supplementation by automated trucks would increase business revenue and result in an increase in their own paychecks. But such trucks will still have to contend with opposition following any accidents involving them.

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47 minutes ago, SunlitZelkova said:

if 99% of the people are out of the job

That's one of the things I'm pondering - because in the context of the question I originally asked the technology cannot replace people, but instead, 

  • The concept of 'cycles' or game-changing technological inventions that effectively brings on a new age of development and prosperity (although and albeit via massive disruptions and disenfranchisement of the prior beneficiaries) 

Note that disenfranchisement of the prior beneficiaries is analogous to the number of farriers and blacksmiths and wainwrights prior to the automobile becoming common.  Their specialty may have become anachronistic - but they could still work. (And it was far from a flick of the switch transition) 

Fundamentally people must still be able to work for there to be an economy in the first place.

47 minutes ago, SunlitZelkova said:

I am skeptical of the viability of self-driving vehicles. All it will take is a single accident- let alone multiple- and we will see a 737 MAX style movement to end or heavily restrict its use. While they aren’t too vocal/aware right now, I imagine we will see a movement to at least restrict its use from truckers themselves. The reason why I don’t see them asking for a total ban is that they likely understand how a shortage of trucking capability exists/existed, and supplementation by automated trucks would increase business revenue and result in an increase in their own paychecks. But such trucks will still have to contend with opposition following any accidents involving them

 

This is one of the things contributing to my current belief.  Especially, trucking. 

The covid crisis laid bare the flaws and risks inherent in our logistics systems.  One of the most important things within the US is trucking... And yet we have a trucking shortage. Or rather a driver shortage and an inflexible system w/r/t where drivers are needed and where they can afford to live.  Someone will solve the problem and one solution is legislation that says 'only authorized autonomous vehicles are allowed on the interstates'.  Musk has even said that if the only vehicles on the road are automated and in the same system... Accidents are unlikely.

The US has a precident for 'making this work' and it is the advent of rail.  Legislation that absolves any corporation involved with transportation from liability (simple negligence) can make this happen in a decade, especially if it's profitable 

 

Edited by JoeSchmuckatelli
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2 hours ago, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

The US has a precident for 'making this work' and it is the advent of rail.  Legislation that absolves any corporation involved with transportation from liability (simple negligence) can make this happen in a decade, especially if it's profitable

What the US government of the 1800s was willing to do for “da money” (albeit with the thinking that this would go back to the average Joe (no joke intended)) is very different from the US government of the 2020s. Even just one accident would be extremely traumatic. I don’t think the public has the appetite for profit over life anymore*.

And in contrast to the 1800s where “bad things happen but life goes on”, raising one’s voice and trying to effect some sort of change- sometimes just for the sake of change without thinking it through- is the norm today.

It will be interesting to see what happens though. What constitutes culpability in an accident can be very complex, I wonder what exactly Musk was thinking.

Let’s say a guy changes lanes in an abrupt manner that a human might have been able to catch, but due to some flaw in the system an accident occurs and he nearly dies. Did he cause the incident or did the AI? From my personal point of view, it could be either, and these sorts of cases are what will be a major impediment to the large scale rollout of autonomous trucks. For cars it will be even tougher.

*In this very specific case however. We accept the death toll of automobiles because they are convenient for the majority of us and they of course create economic benefits through transport and what not. I think it is because these are being caused by humans that these are accepted, however. I.e. if a human does it is acceptable because we are only human. We can’t go around banning and regulating everything where humans cause accidents- it would simply be infeasible as it would cover almost everything that goes wrong. But accidents caused by a machine itself? That’s the fault of the machine, and the machine will never truly be able to learn from its mistake- accidents will continue to happen.

It will depend on just to what extent the issue is considered to be- is it a one time bug or is the system inherently flawed? The Space Shuttle was a flawed design so it was retired- and arguments were made to keep it flying on the basis that it’s benefits outweighed any loss of life. They failed.

There is that argument that many go back to. A self-driving car is driving down the road. A kid runs out into the street, chasing after a ball or something. Does the self-driving car swerve into pedestrians and run them over, swerve into oncoming traffic and cause an accident, or hit the kid? If a human did this, that human alone would be responsible. In these sorts of accidents, the car, train, or aircraft is merely a tool- the human did it.

But with a self-driving car, that car- and by extension all other cars- will be responsible. Each of those terrible choices is a series of victims who will blame the car- after all, all they did was drive down the other side of the road, walk on the sidewalk, and play in the park. The occupant isn’t culpable because he wasn’t driving.

And if the car gets blamed it could spell doom for all of the cars. People blamed the Hindenburg and now we don’t get to see cool zeppelins gracing the skies, despite Graf Zeppelin having had an excellent safety record. 737 MAX was rightfully blamed and calls for it to be decertified continue. But aviation is established and that human factor is still present- with modifications pilots should be able to prevent future accidents. But can the system that caused the accident be trusted to not cause another accident? Especially if there was no particular bug.

As I said above, it is these sorts of things that pose a very serious challenge to automation of cars and trucks. It is by no means a guaranteed thing, IMO.

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24 minutes ago, SunlitZelkova said:

will be interesting to see what happens though

All excellent points - and I agree with you about this... 

(inevitable butt)

However - you would be surprised what the power of legislation can do to reign in one big money maker for the Plaintiff's Bar: simple negligence. 

 

Ordinary or simple negligence is a failure to use that degree of care which an ordinarily prudent person would exercise under the circumstances to avoid injury to another.

It is simple negligence that governs the vast majority of automotive accidents. 

I don't think it likely in the short-term... But if the economy gets sorely bogged down by the inability to move goods from the ports, factories, warehouses and distribution centers efficiently and there is an economical solution via automated trucking at risk from the general rules of simple negligence... Congress might act. 

Even something as simple (and offensive? ) as a rebuttable presumption that AI is not at fault for accidents occurring on certain designated and improved Interstate Highways would preserve the profits of investors and influence growth in the sector, chilling tort liability for most cases. 

 

 

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@SunlitZelkova I apologize if this response seems a bit off topic. But my immediate thought regarding the risks, responsibilities, and accountability regarding accidents between robotic vehicles and pedestrians is that in the larger scheme society itself is to blame for mixing large, fast motor vehicles and pedestrians together in the first place. And further to blame for prioritizing that motor vehicle traffic over the walkability of their own neighborhoods.

Our cities and towns are built for cars and mega-corporations first and second (reinforcing each other), with actual people coming a distant third at best. It is physically dangerous for people in my area to go to the grocery store, bank or work without doing it in a car. Zoning laws, suburban sprawl, increasingly expansive roadways, and lack of public transportation create a vicious cycle which all reinforce the forever spiraling misery. And changing any of them is considered "too expensive" and "ineffective" because all must be addressed simultaneously before any change has a chance at improving the situation.

Neighborhoods should be built internally to prioritize walking, biking and small personal mobility solutions with lanes that are not only protected from motor vehicle traffic, but as the first and foremost intended users for those streets. Then, secondarily, public transit should be provided for travel within the city to support frequent destinations of daily need such as supermarkets, financial centers and main streets. Whatever roadway is then left over can then be set aside for personal motor vehicles and trucks as need requires where it does not interfere with the accessibility or safety of the first two categories of travel.

So if you were to ask me what I think the "next big thing" should be, I would say it should be ditching car culture altogether.

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I wouldn’t say I am a bonafide “public transport supporter”, but I do agree with the sentiment.

Also I can’t tell if the top of the picture in the tweet is visible while imbedded as I am on mobile, but it says “I don’t want self driving cars”.

2 hours ago, HvP said:

I apologize if this response seems a bit off topic.

I don’t think it really is. This thread doesn’t specify that it has to be something already in the works in some form, so even things that people have thought up but not yet seriously pursued are on-topic too.

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A sapient species (biological or not) has three types of activity.

  1. Make food. Either produce it yourself, or take it from others if possible. Expand to occupy enough room for that.
  2. Protect your food from being taken by others. Make weapon for that. Expand to occupy enough room to hold others away.
  3. Miscellaneous, when you already have enough food to eat, and enough room to sleep in a safe place.

Any activity belongs to one of the three.

Thanks to the chemical and mechanical industry, the first type is solved for the developed countries.
The farmers are just ~3% of US population, a marginal minority, lol.
Most part of food making is the fertilizer and fuel production, done by highly automated factories, where hhumans don't have a lot to do, due to the enormous amounts and conditions of technological processes.

Nuclear and high-tech weapons allow the developed countries be protected from being robbed. The armies are relatively small, less that a per cent of the population.
Their production is also limited and highly automated, due to the fine and dangerous nature of the technological processes. Also not so many people are involved.

Both food and weapon industries need resources, which are mined and refined by highly automated factories as well, and also not so many people take part in it.

Thus, since the mid-XX century technological revolution, just few people are required to provide many with vital resources.

Due to the further automation, miniaturization, and recycling, the amount of people who really produce food, weapon, and resources for them, will keep decreasing.
And as we know, even Foxconn (known for its... specifically optimized labour conditions) was replacing its cheap workers with robots.
Together with draconically increasing "ecological" requirements, which lead to a highly "ecological" industry, and together with coming global overpopulation conflicts, this makes the cheap outsource labour force of the less developed countries less preferrable than domestic production for the enough large and high-developed countries.

Though, due to the automation, the domestication of industry won't significantly increase the employment, so still just a minority of people in developed countries will be providing the total population with everything needed, like now.
So, the increasing part of the population will be economically excessive. They can produce more food, but they can't eat more than they can.
Thus, making more food will just mean economical collapse of the food production chains.

An intentional decreasing of the excessive domestic population wouldn't solve the problem, as empty land will attract neighbours from the overpopulated and less developed regions, which don't need the local elite, they have their own.

So, the way how it works now in the developed countries is "take your food and entertain yourself in any way you wish, just stay indoors and don't riot".
As most people either can't make goods, or wouldn't sell any good they had made, and/or wouldn't have enough goods made and sold to become an experienced goods maker, they mostly provide "services".

This artificial employment state they call "service economy" and convince the unused people that it's very progressive, and how much wonderful and important they are.
Actually they just get excessive food for free and entertain each other with thought-out "services", invented for that posts and professions, and being ensured via blog chatterboxes that you:

  • need a special person to bring your food from the bar two meters away (and paid for that), like you couldn't bring the tray yourself;
  • need to make a colored pokemon-style hair-do, every week another (by random persons calling themselves "stylists");
  • need special specialists in wines and coffee (sommeliers and baristas) to cosplay old-school aristocracy with servants, like the packing labelling and the quality control is not enough to ensure that the bottled aromatized alcohol solution is what you are expecting to feel by sniffing with wise face, or like you indeed can distinguish coffee grains from two different civette poops;
  • need a random person to listen to your whining, while you are lying on a couch (to hide from you his/her yawning);
  • need series and movies full of amateur introspection, to make the introspection your lifestyle and provide the previous number with patients;
  • are so much unique and individual, like if others consider you not interchangeable with 99% of other faceless uniques around.

The same with overgrown bureaucracy, creating office workplaces and entertaining everyone with either bureaucratic trips, or doing these trips for others for money.

Of course, the toys, the games, the cosplay games, and the amateur arts (by people whose hands should be tied behind to prevent them from arting, in the name of Apollo and muses).
Ridiculously cheap, bright, beautiful, attractive. Costs nothing, keeps humans entertained and occupied.

***

The opposite clown party are the simplifiers and downshifters, who reject the "excess consumption" and focus on making lamps from empty bottles, preferrably found in a dumpster, and eating the food stolen from pigs (whom it would be otherwise be delivered to, after being written off in the food shop).

They blame the ugly world of overproduction and overconsumption, and worry about the ecology.

They dream for a simple and plain life in a village, when everyone grows his food and makes himself new boots when the greatgranny's ones are too old even for them.

This life position has a right to be, but there is a problem.
When everyone is a peasant, the first peasant who screws the peasantry and puts a gang together, becomes a boss and makes other peasants work for minimal food, giving him everything on top of  that.

So, the pastoral and idyllic Victorian-style communities can exist only when they are protected by the ugly society of overproduction and its army, who doesn't need their harvest, and treats them as a harmless curiosity.
Otherwise, poor and angry neighbours would cut them in a month and take their land, just to repeat their way and reproduce their problems a century later.

A kind of them are/were the willingly socially deprived groups like hippies.
While being sure that they stopped the Vietnam war by protests and slogans, and so on , they are just a decoration for serious people.
(The Vietnam war was a civil and ethnic war, growing from the medieval, and US just joined it at the side of one of the parties.
After the parties had willingly-unwillingly redistributed the spheres of influence and came to agreements, the US was looking like they are the only who keeps fighting against everyone else, like they have to take charge of everything.
Thus, the lobbyist groups who were interested in the war cancelling, were sponsoring all those hippies and making the police refrain from excessive violence.
Otherwise all those hippies-schmippies would in a week populate Alaska and start panning for gold from Yukon to finance the war).

***

Of course, all this festival of life, called "post-industrial era", "service economy", and other loud and empty words, is just a card house for unemployed excessive people, who think they are doing a job, while they are mostly get excessive resource shared by the productive economy, and so-called "money" to redistribute them in an orderly manner.

Some countries just are honestly starting to stop this theater of absurd by introduing the unconditional basic income.
"We are too tired to keep pretending that we need so many barbershops and other blah-blah, but the hi-tech economy doesn't need you and a million of your neighbors, but produces enough foods and goods for everyone.
So, take this money and entertain yourself, just don't cause troubles."

The obvious sign of this entertainment crysis is the "light drugs" legalization.
While the plain and simple people say "Look! We did it! Now we can get loaded when we wish to.", it's obviously just a contstatation of the fact that while "a half" of people can entertain themselves with arts, sciences, roleplaying, and others, the another part is so untalented that can just watch sitcoms and smoke pots.
So, it's just a "Just sit at home and be easy", and nothing more.

***

So, the further progress in the developed countries will be dedicated to the mass calming and feel-happying.

As most of people won't have job and salary, this will make the "trading economy", "market", and so on very narrow and specialized activity, while most part of population will eat Excel sheet, but tasty, cheap, and a lot of.

Currently you can't distinguish production of Samsung, Toshiba, and other brands in a shop, because they are almost same.
You can't use more than 10% of options, you can choose any color, and the main part of a TV set, a microwave, and a washing machine is a videodisplay with virtual buttons.
They can't add anything more, so they compete mostly in commercials, rather than in goods.

And the cheapest way to make a gray concrete wall look nice and attractive is to colour it with cheap noname LED lamps, making a storehouse look like an elvish palace.

Thus, the further way is: unification, customization, and virtualization of the life space.
The exact example is the diner from the Cloud Atlas- A Fabricant's Life Cycle Clip (HD) which I can't link due to its age rating or so.
A totally dull concrete  room, being colored and animated when used.

This means a need in mass-production of cheap vandal-proof virtual hardware, and augmented reality for everyone.

Everyone will be living in a concrete Emerald City with magic colored glasses on eyes (technically - maybe not glasses), watching the augmented reality around.
An offline human would see flat walls and gray clothes, and no captions, won't be able to pay, to call, and so on. With no gain instead,

The sensors, including the cameras and microphones will be at every thing, always connected to the internet of things.
It will be necessary to provide the co-existence of the real and virtual part of the augmented reality in real time.

As a side effect, the crimes will almost disappear, because:
1) nobody has anything to steal;
2) every crime will be investigated in a minute by tracing the videorecords;
3) every thing will have a RFID label, so if you took a chair from a cafe, you'll receive an SMS, reminding you to return it back from your room;
4) only overagressive, mentally unstable persons will do the crimes against other people, to be helped by a duty psychiatric brigade, and wear a collar with tranquilizer, or be hospitalized for life in a comfy mental clinics.

Thus, the advantages are just too numerous to be rejected, and the coming epoch will be the epoch of the reality augmentation.
AI and others are just tools for that.

***

All this needs a lot of energy. And the only endless source of it is the oceanic deuterium and fusion powerplants.

Though, while the combustion energy source can provide enough, the fusion development will keep being under development, right like now.
Then it will suddenly appear in several years and replace other sources at once.

Until that they will keep selling the "green powah" myths and techs to everyone, to make you drop your current, totally intact, car and buy one more cuz it's green(tm).
Of course, they will be telling: "Look, electric car saves your money!", from pure forgetfulness forgetting to add that the gasoline price mostly consists of taxes rather than resource cost.

Edited by kerbiloid
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9 hours ago, SunlitZelkova said:

How is AI supposed to produce a vibrant society and economy if 99% of the people are out of the job?

It seems like in business circles, AI is discussed from a cost savings point of view- this is what is really meant when they talk of “efficiency”, even if there is an increase in physical productivity. And both it’s creators (i.e. companies working on it) and it’s users (businesses) are treating it exactly as one would treat utilization of cheap foreign labor instead of looking at it as an entirely new socioeconomic problem.

Of course, if we define “productivity” as “how big is the number on my spreadsheet” and not “how are the humans doing”, it will probably result in an increase.

An alarmingly many process improvement and business optimization projects boil down to "X, would you like to get some people fired?" At least one IT consulting guy proudly described to me how the biggest benefit from their projects is not the main IT solution they deploy - especially if it's to do with machine learning or robotic process automation - but an employee surveillance system they throw in as a bonus, helping look for people in the process chain that perform unproductive tasks, and then purge them.

9 hours ago, SunlitZelkova said:

All it will take is a single accident- let alone multiple- and we will see a 737 MAX style movement to end or heavily restrict its use. While they aren’t too vocal/aware right now, I imagine we will see a movement to at least restrict its use from truckers themselves.

A counter-precident: taxi drivers have ultimately lost to Uber, with - from subjective experience - a corresponding drop in safety and professionalism.

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7 hours ago, SunlitZelkova said:
I wouldn’t say I am a bonafide “public transport supporter”, but I do agree with the sentiment.

Also I can’t tell if the top of the picture in the tweet is visible while imbedded as I am on mobile, but it says “I don’t want self driving cars”.

I don’t think it really is. This thread doesn’t specify that it has to be something already in the works in some form, so even things that people have thought up but not yet seriously pursued are on-topic too.

The problem with this is the price of entry:

Self-driving car: someone needs to pay for a bunch of hardware and software development, total cost: similar to the expenditures of a mid-sized business

Profit: could be similar to the cost of a full-time driver per-vehicle and still save the customer money(less the cost of hardware)  For each car/truck on the road

Reformatting urban infrastructure: cost of all existing urban infrastructure  to be reformatted+ costs of demolition + costs of construction, total cost: more than the GDP of the entire US for a large town/small city

Profit: value of the re-formatted infrastructure - a hefty percentage because the layout is new and the specific property values are unproven  For that one urban area.  

 

One of these can be afforded by a single medium to large business(or even a focused start-up) with a potentially huge profit margin once it is working.

The other is outside of the fiscal capabilities of any individual, small group, or even the US government for each re-formatted urban area, and most of the projects will likely end up having a loss of total value, at least in the short-term.  And that is without the on-going costs of public transportation or the problems of 'nail houses/properties'(where the owner refuses to sell or move out) 

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I'd say fusion power. World leaders need to delve deeper into this. Imagine a reactor core able to make clean energy from a glass of seawater/some relatively uninteresting moon rocks? Obviously, it's more complicated than that. But fusion would eliminate so, so many problems we encounter nowadays to do with climate change and such.

Want to power a house? Small fusion reactor!

Want to power a city? Big fusion reactor! 

Want to power an interstellar ship? Somewhere in the middle!

Even better, there's already research projects on this sort of thing. All it takes is for one mega brainiac to make a breakthrough and BAM! Half the world's problems are solved!

The good things don't stop coming; there is no possible way to have a catastrophic and super-deadly meltdown. In most if not all fusion reactors, if something bad happens, the reaction will just fizzle out and stop.

I'm sure there's a few cons, but I can't find any online. Can anyone inform me of some of fusion's pitfalls?

 

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