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The future. Do we want to live in it?


Ssnake
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To be honest, I think that a Star Trek holodeck is so far detached from known technology that any discussion of it has no practical relevance for our lifetime. (True) 3D projection appears feasible (though not necessary practical); virtual reality is much, much easier to create (and, for now, looks much better). Both share the problem that no tactile interaction is possible.

Augmented reality, on the other hand, seems to have more potential (e.g. Microsoft's Hololens).

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I think I am discussing the practical relevance (not that I am not discussing the actuality of when and how it might exist, or how it would work).

 

Assume that it does exist at some point, say- 5,000 years from now, and that of course presumes the human race still exists, which I can't really predict. But assume it does: then I am talking about the practical relevance of it as it relates to us as a species if that were to happen. Of course there are technologies that might become available between now and then that I am not aware of, just the same way video games could not have possibly been imagined to the ancient Egyptians who have no frame of reference for something like that.

 

This may be the challenge of life: if the universe is set to extinguish the conditions for life billions of years from now, maybe life has to evolve to become godlike in order to vercome this apparent conclusion of the story. Everything up until that is the preparation for that.  Maybe that is what this is all about, after all our species compared to simpler organisms is comparatively godlike: we're not there yet, that stage of evolution won't happen in our time, but this is the whole story about life (and apparently Kubrick's message in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey to evolve- from the primitive ape like beings at the beginning of the film to the star child at the end). If not us, maybe a different species may get there after a cataclysm erases life on the planet and starts over again like it has done before. What I can't imagine is what near omnipotent being looks like or does with its time- the cosmic boredom of eternity is a kind of hell, maybe nothingness is actually a respite from that, and that's what some views about consciousness argue. An intelligent being which has solved all the existential problems in life suffers from eternal boredom. So it's always a no win situation.

 

In other words, we are talking about the possibility of a fundamentally different type of evolved life in the far future (or even in the relatively near future in some respects)- and that may mean at some point merger of life and technology as we've seen earlier in this thread. When the modern theories of evolution were first introduced to world, many people were horrified- not just because of where we apparently came from, but the implication that we are not a fixed species and we're not done evolving, as all things that came before, we're a bridge rather than a finished product. We see this happening now: the average height of humans is taller, the average life span is longer, but they are also less physically robust and with weaker jaws not suited for battle and for grinding tougher food as more primitive hominids- but which has the advantage of supporting a larger braincase since the smaller jaw muscles allow for more wiggle room in skull development to allow for larger brains. Where is this going? Already technology profoundly shifted human relationships and things like this, it has taken over our lives and appears to be on the verge of merging with life itself to the point where the distinction becomes less pronounced.

Edited by Captain_Colossus
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We seem to have a different understanding of practical relevance. If the problem won't arise in my lifetime and there's not even a hunch of how that technology (in our case: Physical, animated 3D projection) might work like (IOW, indistinguishable from magic, per Arthur C. Clarke's words), it's a theoretical problem to me.

Giant meteor strikes, even though very unlikely during my lifetime, would therefore not be a theoretical issue (it is very much a real problem for which we have not yet the technology to deal with) because asteroids are real, and enough of them have come close enough to Earth in the past decades that it is more of an issue than just a very remote possibility.

Autonomous killer robots may also be a quite real issue. Unethical and dangerous, for sure, but the necessary technology components exist and it seems to require only a sufficiently ruthless and potent actor to make them a reality. Self-replicating, probably not so much ... unless we're talking about highly toxic nano dust or something.

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Yes. I'm not talking about how practical it to build technology beyond my understanding of how it could possibly work, but rather if someone else did it and it more or less functioned like in Star Trek- if that happened, then the practical effects on the human race would look like such and such or this or that. If technology got to the point that solved the problems of hunger, poverty, disease, people may just start fighting one another just to stave off the boredom, like the gods in mythology which war with one another, there's simply nothing else to do. Only the most primitive animals seem immune to boredom, they live in the moment rather than really paying attention to the past or the future- you can hold them captive and they seem none the least content. As beings become more sentient, there's a problem with this. If you could give people holodecks, that could create a very decadent type of culture. Human beings would become nothing but miserable and spoiled. To this extent, there are symptoms of this now in more affluent societies being brought on demand anything they can think of.

 

I haven't seen the animated film Wall-E, but I came across this clip, and what does it show- assume the future where there is nothing left to do but consume:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1BQPV-iCkU

 

 

Schopenhauer was known to possess such an acumen for the human condition expressed in the most articulate way. Basically life necessarily operates between two poles: want and boredom. It's in us to desire- that is a basic reality of life, to want. However, the curse of this all is once the object of desire is obtained, something else is desired, this apparently is how life moves and evolves. If a sentient race ever evolved to the point like they show in the movies where they are they appear to be very enlightened and passionless and completely rational and omniscient and this sort of thing and what have you- likely they would be bored out of their skulls for lack of anything to do. Perhaps they would start to hang themselves. The lack of want would extinguish life, no one would desire- if reproduction for example were just a passionless activity, who would bother with it? That's why it exists the way it does as an irrational desire or compulsion, that is fundamentally why people want to do it, not because it's just simply rational to create the next generation. Just as poor people, once they recognize their condition, of course don't want to be poor, they want more- security, stability in their economic situation, very rich people don't have this problem but the opposite: their wealth gets taken for granted, comfortable and boring. If someone could have whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted it, life becomes boring- if someone's favorite food just prepared itself and flew into their living rooms, or they could attract anyone they wanted with their wealth, all these things lose their significance.

 

 

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  • 3 months later...

https://www.oculus.com/experiences/rift/744866972281509/?utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=oa_fb_paid_20170327_gif_4p&utm_medium=socialads

 

 

we are headed into a nigh permanent condition of being plugged in; i imagine at some point someone is going to experiment with technologies that just feed your mind experiences; say you want to have vivid dreams or something, the distinction between unplugged and plugged reality will be such that people's brains will begin to prefer the latter over the former; for the same reason smokers have a difficult time with quitting not simply because of the chemical, but the habit itself of lighting up and holding something to the mouth or when people get 'addicted' to any habit, their brains physically rewire themselves to adapt the habit and get the sense that life is missing something without it. if the virtual world becomes better than the real world, who wants the real world?

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displays like oculus rift will just keep getting better.

 

at some point they'll put a camera or two in the front of it and allow you to see your surroundings at the same time as using the headset. the technology to do that is already there but i don't think current hardware speeds can handle it; they can barely handle VR by themselves at the moment, but it will come soon, perhaps within the next 2 or 3 generations of VR.

 

i think that VR is likely to become very important in computing in the near future. the headsets are going to shrink and shrink until you can get a moderate vr experience in something as small as google glass. it will be connected with IOT (internet of things) and when you walk around wearing it, anything you look at i.e. shops or streets will have relevant information displayed for you, controllable with retina tracking. retina tracking software is already being used for games ala trackIR, it's only a matter of time before it's miniaturized and put into a small, walkabout VR headset. i think we'll see this kind of product realized in the next 10-15 years. even though it all already exists, for some reason people have really slowed down the pace of making these kinds of products into a reality.

 

i do agree we seem to have plateaued when it comes to game development/graphics/cpu/gpu improvements. maybe we're approaching the limits of how far this hardware can be developed. as far as graphics engines are concerned, i have a feeling that developers have started to rely more and more on prepackaged graphics engine solutions rather than develop their own. obvious economic reasons for that but it kind of paints a pessimistic future since we probably won't see any revolutionary new game or graphics engines in the near future.

 

remember when steve jobs introduced the ipad, it was heavily derided as a useless gadget and many expected it to fail. now everyone has a tablet - and it didn't take long.

 

star trek style technology will happen someday, if we manage not to blow up the planet with nuclear or worse weapons in the next few hundred years. much of the technology already exists in its very basic forms.

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  • 3 years later...

the future is always now. when you to get the future, you do not think to yourself 'i am in the future', much the same way in the opposite direction, that is, when you were ten years old, you did not think of yourself as being in the past at that time. pick any time and date you want, you only experience now, the future is forever not happening, because even if it did happen, then by definition it would no longer be the future the moment it happened

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Captain_Colossus
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On 10/19/2016 at 12:00 AM, Ssnake said:

It's like the video phone. Everybody saw it in "2001" in the late 1960s and thought it would be the next big thing ten years later. Except that nobody was willing to pay for such a gadget. There's still some demand for it (video chat in Skype comes to mind), but it really doesn't offer a "killer advantage" that would everybody want it so much that it would eliminate "non-picture" phone calls. Again, video chats also have their disadvantages (taking a phone call at five in the morning, the endless potential for mooning prank calls, ...)

Year two of the pandemic, and they are telling me that video conferencing is now the future that has finally arrived. But I'm also reading that people are tired of Zoom calls and are beginning to hate them. They don't look good except with killer bandwidth and killer equipment, you have lag, digital artifacts, distortions... and having 16 people constantly stare at you for hours also seems to create quite some psychological stress. So.... still not convinced that we're completely switching over from voice calls to video, or that it'll even be what we use most of the time in 25 years.

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6 minutes ago, Ssnake said:

Year two of the pandemic, and they are telling me that video conferencing is now the future that has finally arrived. But I'm also reading that people are tired of Zoom calls and are beginning to hate them. They don't look good except with killer bandwidth and killer equipment, you have lag, digital artifacts, distortions... and having 16 people constantly stare at you for hours also seems to create quite some psychological stress. So.... still not convinced that we're completely switching over from voice calls to video, or that it'll even be what we use most of the time in 25 years.

If this is the price to pay for me to not have to waste 2h+ a day in a crowded tube, bus or highway and then work in my own little farm, then I love to hate zoom and teams calls.

 

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Not saying that there are no advantages to it under specific circumstances. I love working from home, and have done so the last 25 years, just like my mother did in the 1960s and 1970s. I just don't see videoconferencing replacing voice calls as the default mode.

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there is a basic double bind. it is the strangest thing- it seems hard wired into reality, and you could not design a better trap if you tried.

 

take the analogy of a planet plummeting through space. it cannot be diverted nor stopped. the basic fear instinct because of the pucker factor is to cling to the planet, although it does nothing at all to solve the problem to cling to something which is inherently on a suicide mission eventually reaching its conclusion. but it's our tendency to cling on to the ride.

 

you can't do anything about it. that might sound defeatist, but there is no problem with this at all. when you see this, you see it's quite common that society beats us all with this notion that there is something wrong with all of this. the present, the past, the future and so on. the world should be improved. it has a lot of bad things about it. for example compulsory love. because the world lacks love. you must love. you what you can to add to the net well being of everything. well that is supposed to sound like something we ought to do under various humanisms, take your pick; they often all command us to love everyone, and we might even agree we should that. but we don't. that is not how love works, you can't be cajoled or convinced to do that which you do not do already, much like when you eat something you really like to eat, it's good to you already, you don't need to convince yourself you like it. as a result of course society is neurotic, it saddles itself with constant feelings of guilt in this commandment to behave in certain ways, that is, to force a situation to happen which isn't already happening.

 

as long as we think that things aren't optimal as they are already, as long as we think something needs to be done to improve it, by definition it will never get there. it needs something that is lacking as long as we think that. we never arrive there as long as we think we aren't there already. it never ends.

 

so if we see that, we might try it the other way. let us not desire that things should be improved. however, it is the same dilemma: trying to do something in the negative sense, it returns to the same problem, in this case we would desire not to desire. as long as we desire not to desire, by definition, we merely fasten ourselves to desire. so we're rather stuck, because we can't do something, we can't not do something to achieve those ends, it is always a carrot just beyond reach.

 

we can stop being concerned with it because we realize everything is in its place as optimal already. no matter how terrible or tragic things may seem, there is no way it could be better. fine, how can try to do that given all the above? you can't. you can't do anything about it. as long as you're trying to do it, then by definition you aren't doing it. i am going to go against conventional wisdom- is does imply ought. is and ought are the same situation, much the same way what we call 'free will' or determinsm are the same situation. i think everything that ever happens and that ever will happen was already implied from the very beginning when it all came in with a cosmic bang although, we fight this tendency to believe that

 

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