Category Archives: Artificial Intelligence

I give you ONE wish

Here are the rules:

You get one wish.

It will come true the moment you utter the sealing spell “that is my wish.”

It must be specific, that is, enactable by an omnipotent being (me). Meaning, it cannot be vague, “I wish for world peace.” (What would that mean? And how would any omniscient, omnipotent being apply that to the Universe?)

It can apply to any era in the history of the Universe; to any aspect of existence, any land, sea, creature, peoples or culture.


For thought fodder here are a few that you might consider. If multiple folks pick similar wishes then I’m sure they will eventually come true. (OK, this might not be possible, but, hey, we’re all living in a material, I mean, virtual world, right?)

  1. I wish that the physics of matter made it impossible for life to evolve.
  2. I wish that altruism balanced aggression in the natural order.
  3. I wish all planets that could harbor life, did harbor life.
  4. I wish that humanity was not alone in the universe and that we would discover this tomorrow.
  5. I wish that telekinetic power was possible.
  6. I wish unicorns existed today.
  7. And elves, flying dragons, 2nd law of thermodynamics defying physics existed too.



My Google – search me?

I’d like a personal Google.

I’d like my own big bucket where I could throw everything (digital everything) and MyGoogle would allow me to find it through search.

Yeah I can search my gmail accounts. But what about all the wordpress posts and comments? Aeon, Medium, Ello, fadebook, twitter, instagramOfCoke, etc.?

I have oodles of software code I’ve collected/written over the last 20+ years.

I have hundreds of tech-specs, whitepaper’esque documents.

I have thousands of pictures and home-movies.

MyGoogle would let me either dump all of this into a big-ol’-bucket — someplace — and let me search it all. I could add very specific “” to that bucket for content that MyGoogle wouldn’t have access to except through the front door.

I’d even PAY to have a MyGoogle. It would be nice if I could keep much of my data private and locally stored. Like my own GoogleDrive cached right here on a simple 10terrabyte server, like maybe a MyGoogleDataSafe.

Hey Google! Make it so.

A robot could do that

Automation engineer son having a Saturday afternoon beer in the back yard of his parents home. His mother is on her knees digging in the well manicured flower and vegetable garden.

Son: “Mom, you know there are robots that can do that for you.”

Mom: “Mm, hmm.”

Son: “I mean we could have one delivered that would tend your garden, do your shopping, do your washing.”

Mom: “Why?”

Son: “To save you time. So you could do the things you want to do.”

Mom: “Like what?”

Son: “Oh, I don’t know…”

Mom: “You mean like tend the laundry, shopping in town and cultivating my garden?”

Son: “Uh…”


Sing it with me: “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone. They paved paradise and put up a robot factory…”


Never to the stars

Humanity will never reach the stars.

Why? Well, yeah, why? Humanity will very soon be able to exist fully in virtual reality. Once we have perfect simulation of reality, then our imaginations of what might be in the Universe will greatly exceed what is actually there. Our stories will be much more alluring and billions of times cheaper to explore and investigate. As soon as we can “think” we’re exploring the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe, while being immersed inside VR tanks, or suits or neural implants, then why would humanity spend the time and money _actually_ exploring those spaces?

The scientific community would, one suppose, continue to pursue exploration and discovery, building bots that traveled as fast as they might to other star systems. But the billions of commoners who were more than happy to just sit back and imagine they were on another planet, eating exotic foods, speaking and interacting with bizarre aliens — why would they ever want to risk actually traveling to such locations?

They wouldn’t. And the funding for such actual excursions will dwindle as VR sims become more and more real. The economic reason for exploration of other star systems will fail to compare to the economic reason for delivering an even better virtual world here. And face it, the human imagination is nearly inexhaustible. It’s unlikely that the universe can beat us in the extraordinary portrayal of diversity of life and systems. (Unlikely, not impossible.)

If humanity lives through the next fifty years (no CMEs that destroy civilization, no plagues, no nukes, no asteroids or super volcanoes) then by the time we could actually GO to Mars, we won’t have to, or want to — at least not to experience it. We’ll be able to do that right in our Almost-There-Capsules.

This is one of the solutions to the Fermi Paradox. And, really, humans are almost there.


The Problem with Star Wars

The problem with Star Wars and Star Trek and many other “Star blah blah blah” type story lines is this: where are the robots?

No, I’m not talking about the cute comic-relief characters, nor am I talking about the droid-wars robots.

Here’s the thing, Space Is Hard. Even Elon admits this. Biologically based creatures die — really easily — in space. They die if they don’t eat, don’t get liquids, don’t get enough to breathe, get squeezed or stretched or ripped. Biological creatures are fragile. A biological military force, or agents, or workers or what-have-you would be a society’s LAST resort. The first thing a sentient species would do when they start exploring space is to build up the biggest, baddest, smartest, most versatile space-force using ROBOTS they could.

People? We’re not gonna use PEOPLE — hell no!

Look, Humans suck at space. Right now about 1 out of 20 rockets we launch BLOW UP! And that’s good. That’s the best we’ve gotten so far. Imagine if 1 out of every 20 commercial flights that took off from airports just today BLEW UP!  About 100k flights occur everyday. Imagine if 5000 of them exploded in the last 24 hour. Hell No!

So, between our really really bad track record for sending rockets into space and our super-duper track record for flying airplanes, we have a long way to go.

Now, let’s examine our robotic and computer track record. We’ve got some amazing technology there. Robots are going to be replacing humans for most manual labor, and most complex logistics and management in the next 20 years.

Let’s think about this. Humanity will have an amazing robotic work force and superior artificial intelligences in just another generation.

But we won’t have a reliable means of space travel for at least two or three generations.

By the time we can blast around the solar system (or galaxy) in a Millennium Falcon humans will have constructed an incredible robotic space-force. And with that space-force we would be sending ROBOTS out with vast AIs in our space craft to do our exploring, and our patrolling and our space war fighting. We wouldn’t send frail, easy to puncture organic HUMANS! Hell No!

Extraterrestrial Sentient Species in our galaxy would be even smarter than us. They would have even better robots and artilects. They would never use their biological selves to do the work robots would do so much more effectively.

That’s the problem with Star Wars and Star Trek. Their story lines rely on bags of animated organic chemicals and not robots; which is just — implausible.


Humanity is a mushroom

You’re all aware of the kingdom that is fungi which, in many cases, reveals itself as mushrooms. But mushrooms are just the last step in the growth stage that is mycelium. It’s mycelium that is the true creature, the organism that is a fungus. Mushrooms are the small fruiting nodes of a vast and long lived mycelium.

Mushrooms popup, often overnight, using the fuel and structure that the mycelium may have been building for months if not years.

Humanity, like mushrooms, are the fruit of animal evolution that has popped up, seemingly overnight (evolutionary speaking).

Here’s why this is an important analogy. Without the multi-billion year establishment of an immense base of evolutionary progress and of a multi-billion year process of oxygen generation and just as importantly, the deposition of enormous caches of easily harvested energy (fossil fuels), humanity, like mushrooms, would not have had the vast body, like mycelium, from which to spring forth.

Imagine an abbreviated story of humanity.

  • At 500my after accretion, cyanobacteria evolves and starts producing oxygen.
  • 500my later, life emerges from the sea and begins to evolve.
  • 500my later, life has evolved into all the myriad species we see today.
  • None of the extinctions occurred. All of the most efficient paths to evolving a sentient, environment manipulating being (humans) were taken and approximately one and a half billions years after Earth formed, humans evolved to where our own species (us) were about 100,000 years ago on our own planet.

Then what? Then humanity bumbles along as we did for 80,000 years.

If a Holocene equivalent period doesn’t show up, if ice ages, and volcanism continue to limit humanity’s expanse. If they don’t get a really-nice-window-of-pleasant-weather, they might never progress past a primitive but intelligent species.

But let’s say on this other Earth, a Holocene does arise. Humanity discovers and optimizes farming using grasses and draft animals. They figure out chemical reactions (soda, potash, lime) and build cities and sailing vessels. They progress, as a species and a society, up to about our own 1600ce. This agricultural based mushroom of humanity is small, low and not that impressive.

Then things change. There is no access to vast, nearly free energy sources. There is no coal, oil or natural gas. The technologically funded agricultural based population explosion never happens. No coal for textile mills or steam engines or steamships. No oil for autos, trucks, airplanes, ships, fertilizers. The mushroom that our human species spawned — through the leveraging of the massive quantities of fossil fuels — never happens for this other humanity.

BUT! Humanity is resilient, tenacious and creative. This other human set keeps at the growth of technology that we had, say, between 1400 and 1700. Within a few thousand years, this other humanity eventually discovers nuclear power, the silicon circuit, space travel, artificial intelligence, advanced medicine. It takes them much longer to do so but, if they survive all the plagues that will continue to befall them for the duration of their societal evolution, then they will get to where we are today — eventually.

AND, if they survive, might actually be wiser, more tolerant, more homogeneous a species than we will ever be.

Maybe our mushroom like explosion of technology and population is our down fall.

OR, maybe that is the ONLY WAY that a species like us can ever hope to evolve. To take the long road, without fossil fuels to spring us quickly from wood burning homesteads to colonizing Mars, would doom any species to extinction due to calamity.

Maybe intelligent sentience can only arise like we did, like a mushroom.

Computer Art?

There are many beautiful, intriguing, curious, mesmerizing displays of color, shapes, terrains and entities that we see everyday: sunsets, the full moon, the Milky Way, a landfill, a bucket of Legos spilled down the steps, a bamboo forest, etc. These exist. They are not art. The just “are”.

When a computer,
• on its own,
• with programming (neural network) that it has created,
• that has been established to be a fully standalone, conscious, sentient being,
• and that computer deigns to photograph, paint, sculpt, describe or capture in anyway
• a scene as mentioned above or extracted from its own internal or external vision of existence,
• that expresses some reflection or nuance of itself –
• then that computer will have made art.

Until then? What a computer might create is just an extension of its creator. Or, is, like a sunset, a thing that contains beauty or strangeness – but is not art.