12.13.2005

 

Fascinating future timeline

Move over to machines - Peek into a reassuring past and an unsettling future

The British Telecom’s futurology department has put out a timeline listing future events and when they will happen. Here's the top 10:This list has some problems. For example, if robots are superior to humans in 2030, then they will be beating humans at soccer in 2030 too. Once robots have the right to vote, humans become irrelevant (because the number of robots will quickly overwhelm the number of humans, and robots will likely vote for robot leaders), so it seems unlikely people will give robots voting rights any time soon. But it does make you think.

Comments:
I'd like to know who they are paying in their "futurology" department. They sound like a bunch of morons.
 
I believe Hans Moravec at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University makes the best predicts for robots.

I wouldn’t be surprised if mining, transportation and manufacture of all goods is completed by 2020. This would make British Telecom’s predictions laughable as by then we’ll all be live in a Technocracy using Energy Accounts instead of money.

And please, why would AI want to vote? Unless you specifically programmed it to want to vote.
 
I imagine Data (of STNG fame) would want to vote. But he also wanted to go to school, have a career, make friends, and procreate.

You're right, though, unless someone specifically programs a want to vote into the robot's firmware (or includes some sort of random, evolving thought structure) the robot will not want to do so.

Maybe I could create a virus that causes all of the robots in the world to vote for me as world leader/UN president/etc. muhahahahaha. I might be 90 years old at the time, but it would be fun.
 
BT predictions are notoriously bad. Thought I thought I saw Ian Pearson make some sensible predictions recently; I forget where.

Danila Medvedev has a great presentation on prediction, and I think he cites some super-bogus predictions from BT targeted for the year 2005.

Who's good at prediction? NISTEP didn't do so bad. In 197x, they had: "Possibility to a certain degree of working at home through the use of TV-telephones, telefaxes, etc. (forecast: 1998)" Allrighty; that's not so bad. "Acquisition of observation data from unmanned probes around Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and outside the solar system. (1999)" Okay. "Development of optical communication technology that can realize substantial savings in the use of copper. (1999)" Mmm-hmm. Specific, useful, pretty accurate, and roughly 30 years in advance.

We have some reservations about their more recent projections for 2030, but it's a fascinating read, nonetheless.

-- Lion
 
"2050s: Humanoid robots beat England football team."

I've got a Furby that can do that NOW. :)
 
I suspect AI already vote.

Surely, there must be some resources, somewhere in the world, where machines automatically negotiate for access to some supply of resources, in competition with humans.

Someone told the machines to maximize something, and they told the machines what resources are available for bartering with.
 
Regarding robots voting, whether they want to or not, I suspect it'll become irrelevant. They might stage a vote for the sake of some sense of legitimacy, but if they decide to take over the world, who's going to stop them?

Another model for how people will react when things smarter, faster, stronger, etc. than ourselves take over: there was a comic book called "Miracleman" in the late 80s through mid-90s that followed the superhero genre to its logical extreme. The title character started as a stereotypical crime-fighting superhero, and ended up as god-king of the Earth.

One of the most memorable scenes for me was after he announced he was taking charge. He was explaining to a group of world leaders the details of his new economic system, when Margaret Thatcher started protesting that they simply couldn't allow this sort of meddling. The new world emperor just blinked at her and said, "Allow?" And then he turned back and picked up where he had left off, leaving Thatcher crushed.

My point is that when robots surpass us, how we humans prefer to run things is going to become irrelevant. I only hope they deign to keep our interests in mind.
 
That list is ridiculous, it's unbelievable that things will happen so fast(virtual divorce before 2012? We'll barely be approaching photo-real real-time humans by then, not to mention the ai side of the equation.)
 
Are we talking about voting like in a representative democracy? Do y'all really think that this style of democracy is going to last through these transformations? That we're going to go through the Singularity and then we're going to elect a Congressperson from the Fourteenth District? What's the sense of it?

Artificial intelligences are already participating in determining political outcomes throughout the world. They participate by deciding what articles we read, by taking automated polls and reporting the answers, by administering forums where we discuss political issues. As they come to have actual opinions on those issues, there are innumerable ways in which those opinions may obtain the force of policy.

It's not as simple as "giving the vote" to robots, though. That doesn't make any sense. Robots are not like humans. Humans have a particular locus of identity around which revolve a certain usually-pretty-standard collection of information processing modules. Robots might have similar configurations, or they might have different ones. They might be half as smart as your average human at identifying faces, but twice as smart at reading emotions, or vice versa. There will be robots which are superior by orders of magnitude to any human at any task. There will be lots of dumb cute robots. Should a robot be allowed to vote which is as smart as any human, but designed from the bottom up to have a rabid, insatiable, life-long obsession with profitably trading stocks? (It would vote for whoever best helps its portfolio, right?)

The robotic revolution means a lot more than just "robots with human intelligence." It means that intelligence is no longer a quality or quantity which can be expected to attach especially to particular human minds. Intelligence will become free floating. The kinds of intelligence we now associate with humanity will be summonable for the cost of a regular home computer. Stretch your minds around it a little.

<3
 
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