[FoRK] Making robotics a priority

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Wed Jul 13 10:52:57 PDT 2011

On 7/13/11 9:01 AM, Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo wrote:
> In the history of humankind, that's a pretty short experiment to base your opinions on, don't you think?
> Remember that we're talking about the large picture of planetary carrying capacity based on nonrenewable resources which we are chewing through at a rate that is showing no signs of decreasing. I see nothing in the historical record to suggest that increasing our ability to increase our consumption of nonrenewables does anything more than allow us to use them up more quickly.
> When we discuss anything to do with "the economy", we are refering directly to our present economy; one which is based entirely upon consumption.

Of (info) bits.  And electrons.  And, indirectly through food, sunlight.  Mostly, and more and more.
An economy based mainly on consumption of information would be ideal from a planetary carrying capacity point of view, don't you think?

All of my income and much of my budget is about information already.  Renting/paying for lodging is mostly about information since 
buildings are more or less permanent.  Other than a couple pounds of electronic gadgets per year, there's little that I consume 
beyond food.  And running shoes, they wear out regularly.  Just about everything else (clothes, furniture, vehicles, kayak, tools, 
etc.) lasts years, often decades.

> I'm not sure that's a Good Thing.  And I see nothing in technology that will change the fact that a consumption-based economy has a distinct endpoint when it is faced with a finite quantity of things to consume.

Information consumption can easily approach infinite bandwidth in human terms.  We're unlikely to run out soon.

> sdw's "hope" seems to be that we can convert ourselves to electronic bits and squirt ourselves out into the universe, BEFORE we use up all the resources necessary to accomplish that feat. I don't buy that we can run that fast. A preponderance of our resources are not being directed towards that end in any case.

We won't be bits anytime soon, but we'll work mostly with bits.  And we will get off planet when we focus on it.  And robotics / 
nano / AI helps with that.

> By the way, it's not that I cannot envision scenarios like that. I just don't buy that we're on a track that will get us to any of them.

Because we haven't been investing in robotics / AI / nano (much, enough).

>             ...ken...
> --- On Tue, 7/12/11, Gregory Alan Bolcer<greg at bolcer.org>  wrote:
>> From: Gregory Alan Bolcer<greg at bolcer.org>
>> Subject: Re: [FoRK] Making robotics a priority
>> To: fork at xent.com
>> Received: Tuesday, July 12, 2011, 11:32 PM
>> History has shown that despite the
>> irrational fears, automation has been
>> the thing that has freed mankind to pursue more
>> intellectual pursuits
>> through the resulting leisure time.
>> Greg
>> On 7/12/2011 8:11 PM, Stephen Williams wrote:
>>> More robotics / AI / automation. Didn't I make that
>> clear?
>>> Stephen

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