Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#51
Old 12-31-2017, 09:33 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Home of the haggis
Posts: 28,729
Next time around, people will skip oil and go directly to nuclear power, because the instructions on how to do so already exist.

But I don't believe that civilisation will crash. It's too widespread.
__________________
Quartz
#52
Old 12-31-2017, 09:34 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Home of the haggis
Posts: 28,729
Quote:
Originally Posted by guestchaz View Post
I couldn't tell you for the life of me where to find let alone process the raw materials to make a computer, or a saw, or a bolt or any of the stuff that makes present day civilization possible.
But you know where to find a book that will tell you.
__________________
Quartz
#53
Old 12-31-2017, 09:57 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 19,693
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
Next time around, people will skip oil and go directly to nuclear power, because the instructions on how to do so already exist.

But I don't believe that civilisation will crash. It's too widespread.
Yeah, thats my view. Part of me wonders what human life would've been like without fossil fuels. I am sure tech progress would've been much slower but there would've been far more research into wind, tidal and solar energy (with solar, you don't need photovoltaics, you can just use solar concentrators to boil water to power generators), and eventually we would've discovered nuclear power and that would form the backbone of technological society.

And yes, I agree civilization can't really crash after a certain point. If it is spread to endless solar systems and exists in multiple formats including ones we can't fathom, I don't see how a virus or meteor can destroy it. Supposedly when a society reaches level 2 of the Kardashev scale, it becomes immortal. Perhaps by that level you learn about time travel, creating new universes or traveling to other universes within the multiverse to avoid the heat death of this universe.

I look at all the stuff Russia went through in the first half of the 20th century. Massive civil war, WW1, flu pandemic, Stalinist purges, great depression, Stalinist famines, WW2. It caused tons of death but Russian civilization survived. Humanity is more resilient than people give it credit for.
__________________
Sometimes I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion

Last edited by Wesley Clark; 12-31-2017 at 09:59 AM.
#54
Old 12-31-2017, 10:06 AM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Posts: 843
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
Hmm. Not to change the subject ó well, not to change it much, and I figure the tangent is relevant ó but: what about a machine beating the Turing Test?
Software that shows conversational intelligence is nothing but software that shows conversational intelligence.

When I said, "Mankind's values cannot be inherited, continued or bettered by AI, which lacks human beings' will and ambition to make dreams come true.", I answered the OP request that we should speculate. This is my two cents, take it or leave it.

I'm not planning to debate this issue. To satisfy people's curiosity, I will only mention that my standpoint is somewhat similar to that of Ian Bogost, who says that "in most cases, the systems making claims to artificial intelligence arenít sentient, self-aware, volitional, or even surprising. Theyíre just software."

Successful speculation involves extrapolation; unsuccessful one falls prey to overestimation.
#55
Old 12-31-2017, 12:10 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2011
Location: boise idaho
Posts: 1,803
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
But you know where to find a book that will tell you.
Maybe, but even so, that doesn't mean I'll be able to use that knowledge. Much of the technology we have today depends on other technology that depends on other technology and all of it depends on processes for manufacture that I may or may not be able to reproduce. OTOH I may get lucky and fall in with a group that includes a miner, a metallurgist, a machinist, etc. (I don't think that's likely, but not out of the realm of possible). I guess it depends on the level of collapse we are talking about between now and 1 to 100 million years from now.

As far as the OP, 1 million years from now, I think we will be much the same as we are now physically. Maybe a little different in stature, maybe a few less teeth, possibly a slightly elongated skull, but not really all that different. 100 million years from now, all bets are off. Would we even be human as we understand the term today? My guess is we would be Homo something something something sapiens
__________________
"I find your lack of candy disturbing" Darth Desserticola
#56
Old 12-31-2017, 12:34 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 38,878
Quote:
Originally Posted by UY Scuti View Post
Software that shows conversational intelligence is nothing but software that shows conversational intelligence.

When I said, "Mankind's values cannot be inherited, continued or bettered by AI, which lacks human beings' will and ambition to make dreams come true.", I answered the OP request that we should speculate. This is my two cents, take it or leave it.

I'm not planning to debate this issue. To satisfy people's curiosity, I will only mention that my standpoint is somewhat similar to that of Ian Bogost, who says that "in most cases, the systems making claims to artificial intelligence arenít sentient, self-aware, volitional, or even surprising. Theyíre just software."

Successful speculation involves extrapolation; unsuccessful one falls prey to overestimation.
I agree that is the state of AI now, and for longer into the future than many people consider. Not only that but I don't think AIs will ever be 'human' in the sense we consider it because they'll be machines, not subject to the inherent failings of our biological brains. But that doesn't mean that machines cannot one day be as inherently worthwhile as humans, likely to be a mix of our original biological intelligence enhanced by technology, and possibly exceeding our own valuable humanity. Or a horror of unspeakable proportions, hard to say which way it will it go.
#57
Old 12-31-2017, 01:20 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 2,451
Quote:
Originally Posted by guestchaz View Post
It might work for a while, the scenario you describe. I see some assumptions in there though that inject a big chance for failure, making it not as simple or easy as you describe. What you are talking about requires a lot of specialized knowledge that the vast majority of us don't have. I know that when I push this button on my computer it does that, and I can even vaguely tell you why. I couldn't tell you for the life of me where to find let alone process the raw materials to make a computer, or a saw, or a bolt or any of the stuff that makes present day civilization possible.(hell a standard screw was pretty expensive{difficult} high tech not all that long ago relatively speaking). The saving grace for your scenario is the ability to salvage from the remains of what was until that specialized knowledge is regain in a more general way amongst those who remain. Given the nature of information storage and retrieval today, given the somewhat disposable nature of manufactured items today, I'm not certain that salvaging from the remains of today's civilization is a very viable strategy. I could be wrong though.
Well, if there's 10,000 remaining salvageable tablet computers in the world, and 1 of them has a copy of wikipedia on it, you could transfer that single digital file to all the tablets if you were a 'priest of Android' so to speak.

The tribe that does this could lock all but a few tablets for use in a vault, powering them ultimately by DC-DC converters directly (removing the internal battery and powering it directly from a solar panel)

The tribes doing this would after a few centuries have a huge advantage if all the competing tribes descended back to the stone age.

And that's just one way. Obviously lots of other equipment would survive the disaster, and some of it would include the "gigs of storage, super portable, tiny" advantages of a tablet.

Even just knowing the scientific method lets you work out from whatever knowledge level you end up at how to proceed from there.

And what if the big disaster happened 20 years from now? With the tablets of 2037 all be waterproof, solar powered, and have batteries that don't degrade? Or be so cheap and common we use them instead of paper in almost all situations? I could see that.
#58
Old 12-31-2017, 01:27 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 15,432
Quote:
Originally Posted by UY Scuti View Post
Software that shows conversational intelligence is nothing but software that shows conversational intelligence.

When I said, "Mankind's values cannot be inherited, continued or bettered by AI, which lacks human beings' will and ambition to make dreams come true.", I answered the OP request that we should speculate. This is my two cents, take it or leave it.
See, my two cents is that youíre glossing over entirely too much, there.

I have values. I have human values. Iím a human being who, brimming with will and ambition, routinely displays ó during conversations ó that he wants stuff.

You handwave, in general, the significance of showing conversational intelligence. But Iím saying that, in particular, showing wants and values is a subset of showing conversational intelligence. Iím saying that passing the Turing Test means responding the way a human with wants and values would. Iím saying its behavior would have to be indistinguishable from that of a wills-stuff-and-has-ambitions human, or else youíd spot the phony when it failed to converse like one.

Quote:
I will only mention that my standpoint is somewhat similar to that of Ian Bogost, who says that "in most cases, the systems making claims to artificial intelligence arenít sentient, self-aware, volitional, or even surprising. Theyíre just software."
But thatís just it: for purposes of this discussion, I donít care whether it actually is sentient or self-aware or volitional or whatever. If it responds the way a human with sentience and and self-awareness and volition would, then it doesnít matter whether it has those; what matters is that it acts like it does ó and, again, if it doesnít so act, itíd fail the test. But an AI that behaves the way a human one would, as if motivated by human values, would (a) AFAICT pass the conversational test regardless of what was or wasnít going on behind the mask, and (b) instantiate those values.
#59
Old 12-31-2017, 06:47 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: California
Posts: 38,499
Quote:
Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
Well, if there's 10,000 remaining salvageable tablet computers in the world, and 1 of them has a copy of wikipedia on it, you could transfer that single digital file to all the tablets if you were a 'priest of Android' so to speak.

The tribe that does this could lock all but a few tablets for use in a vault, powering them ultimately by DC-DC converters directly (removing the internal battery and powering it directly from a solar panel)

The tribes doing this would after a few centuries have a huge advantage if all the competing tribes descended back to the stone age.
Except they probably rapidly end up illiterate, and can't actually read what's on the tablet. So it just becomes an object of ritual veneration until it finally breaks.
#60
Old 12-31-2017, 09:32 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2011
Location: boise idaho
Posts: 1,803
I don't know if I agree fully with Der Trihs either. I think though if you're talking a civilization collapse of that scale, you're going to lose a lot of current tech. One of the ways is simply through lack of people, both with the knowledge of how to maintain the current level of tech, and just from simply not having enough hands to do the work needed. A lot of tech will remain viable for various amounts of time depending on what the tech is. The lower level the technology, the more viable it is for a longer time. It's pretty easy to make plow shares and spear points out of whatever already refined metal you have around you. Its also pretty simple to rig up a water wheel or wind mill to provide some sort of useful energy, but building and maintaining an electrical generator of useful size and capacity is a different thing altogether. There is going to be some loss of technology. I do agree though that it should be possible to limit that loss with what we have around us already and to regain that lost technology pretty rapidly, maybe within 3 to 5 generations for the loss cycle to finish and recovery to at least begin. I don't see us reverting completely back to pre-industrial levels of technology even though I think it would be a close thing.

ETA your essentially indestructible tablets of 2037 will be mostly useless as soon as the internet collapses from lack of maintenance of the infrastructure that supports it since cloud storage seems to be the current trend.
__________________
"I find your lack of candy disturbing" Darth Desserticola

Last edited by guestchaz; 12-31-2017 at 09:36 PM.
#61
Old 12-31-2017, 09:53 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 19,693
Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Trihs View Post
Except they probably rapidly end up illiterate, and can't actually read what's on the tablet. So it just becomes an object of ritual veneration until it finally breaks.
Possibly but I doubt it. The written language has so many benefits that adults who can read are going to make sure they pass that skill onto their kids, and that both digital and paper books teaching people how to read are everpresent. Saying humans will forget how to read is like saying humans will forget how to purify water. It is too important a skill to our survival to forget.
__________________
Sometimes I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion

Last edited by Wesley Clark; 12-31-2017 at 09:54 PM.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:03 PM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: mike palmer drummer andouille sausage alternative purple rhymes w2 only elvira gulch transdermal vitamins steam cycle washer hard bruise portabella mushroom poisoning usps pink slip portabella mushroom poisoning humvee ignition switch bastard out of carolina rape scene can you be put to sleep for a root canal end piece of bread where to buy eyeglass screws what does wop stand for how long is horse penis can you vote if you turn 18 after election day a few extra pounds meaning glass with wire in it the angle of the dangle is proportional to the heat of the meat a fifth of whiskey bit side of tongue