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So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh? 
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Zealot
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Post Re: So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh?
I wouldn't doubt that a mass marketed robot body would have government/law enforcement backdoors built in, as well as built in advertisements and probably even some decision making control to make people docile and/or willing to spend more money.

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Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:20 pm
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Post Re: So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh?
grinvader wrote:
It's pretty early right now, but I'll give it a shot when it has matured a bit.

With Mirror's Edge, for the lulz.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVdZh03ju6U#t=383 [well, jump to 6:23 since youtube crapped its pants re:timeskip links]

It's suffering from the points we already stated, but that's the kind of lulz I'll be looking forward to. :D

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Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:40 pm
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Post Re: So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh?
paulguy wrote:
I wouldn't doubt that a mass marketed robot body would have government/law enforcement backdoors built in, as well as built in advertisements and probably even some decision making control to make people docile and/or willing to spend more money.


That's the kinda shit I'm worried about. The concept of "immortal" robotic(or hybrid/cyborg) bodies takes advantage of our natural fear of death, and it would make today's economic inequality seem innocent by comparison. Paulguy is much more concise & to the point than I am, and I totally agree with his concerns. The possibility of having an undying body could easily become a VERY powerful control mechanism. Many would blindly gloss over the HUGE potential risks because they fear death so much. I fear suffering(especially cancer), but I'm not at all afraid of death itself.

Before anyone else says it, I know many people abuse religion & use it to control others. That kinda shit kept me away from religion for 27 years, but I think it's unfair to base your perception of any given faith/belief system on human stupidity and corruption. We're power hungry fools when it comes to everything, and the quest for immortality is just another example of people biting off more than they can chew.

Back on topic, I do kinda like Cooljerk's idea of VERY realistic virtual worlds(with no permanent implants) that "slow time down" similar to powerful psychedelic trips. Shit, we'll be able to simulate any drug experience we want with VR once the technology matures. It could even be used for drug treatment. Psychedelic users often use "time dilation" to describe the illusion of time being warped while tripping(or while stoned), but it's not the literal definition of time dilation. When I used to trip on shrooms & 4-aco-DMT, minutes often felt like hours, especially while peaking.


Sat Nov 30, 2013 12:47 am
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Buzzkill Gil

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Post Re: So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh?
Great moments in technology development, as cast by Yuber and Paulguy

The telephone!
"Watson, come here! I have devised a mechanism for transmitting voices using electricity. The government might tap into these wires to learn what people are saying in private conversations. I need you to help me destroy my research before it gets out."

The internet!
"Say, this is a really cool way to interconnect computers around the world into a single network. It'd be terrible if companies started putting advertisements in the HTML pages. Maybe even ones that use a command to 'pop' a new window up on top of the content the users are trying to read. It's probably best we never deploy it."

The television!
"Unfortunately, the frame rates required for the human brain to perceive a sequence of still images as actually in motion are high enough that you could insert frames people can't conciously see into the video stream, but maybe possibly their brains would process it on a subconscious level and brainwash viewers without them ever being aware. So we should probably write this off entirely."

Fire!
"Ug find way cook meat. Make tasty, less get sick. But Ug made of meat. Could cook Ug. Me find water, kill fire. Ug eat raw meat."

Thank Althena you two aren't actually in CHARGE of technology development.


Yuber wrote:
Would destroying someone's robotic body even be considered murder?

Did you damage the computer core? Is there an offsite backup? How old is it?

Quote:
Better yet, I could find a way to hack into your robotic body and torture you with gay porn ads for the rest of your existence!

I survived the stealth Goatse.cx link fad.
I even fixed the great "hack goatse redirects into the ZBoard template" script kiddie attack.
Bring your worst.



Your paranoid ravings about the human condition and pursuits of immortality are irrelevant. Machines fail. It may PROLONG death, but it does not PREVENT death.
And fuck fear of death, I just wanna be able to punch through a concrete wall, run seventy miles an hour, and see ultraviolet light. And maybe mount a plasma cannon in my forearm, but that really goes without saying.

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Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:29 am
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Post Re: So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh?
Gil I love you

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Sat Nov 30, 2013 3:22 pm
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Post Re: So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh?
*blushes*

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You have your 2s, 4s, 8s, 16s, 32s, 64s, and 128s(crash course in binary counting!). But no 1s.
DirectInput represents all bits, not just powers of 2 in an axis.


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Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:54 pm
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Post Re: So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh?
I think my concerns are very plausible; people SHOULD be paranoid about that shit. You're an intelligent person Gil, but you're incredibly naive. It's inevitable that such technology will end up being developed, but we need to slow down a bit and make sure future tech is heavily regulated so abuse can stay at a minimum. I'm 100% against replacing our natural bodies(minus replacing parts for medical reasons) with robotic bodies because I think it'll make us even more arrogant & destructive. You glossed over the inevitable economic issues I raised as well.

The other technologies you mentioned actually improved quality of life greatly without turning us into something that isn't even remotely human. I believe human brains "downloaded" into robotic bodies would be cheap imitations at best, and imo, the potential risks simply aren't worth it. Genetic engineering for strictly medical purposes interests me much more because it could eradicate all disease while still keeping us human. Same goes for using stem cells & molds to grow body parts for transplants using patients' own DNA.

I'm not opposed to technological change as a whole, but I'm very creeped out by the idea of replacing our natural bodies with robotic ones. This is reality, not a movie or game, and I believe the risks FAR outweigh any potential benefits. When/if we have the ability to do creepy shit like that, I believe I'll be proven right.

Also, Gilly-cakes, talking down to me doesn't strengthen your argument. Your robotic "mind" WILL be bombarded by the hairiest, sweatiest, most disgusting gay sex ads on the planet 24/7!


Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:11 pm
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Post Re: So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh?
Maybe he prefers the twinky boy toy gay sex ads. I know I do. I do know a few people who like their men bulky and hairy, though. You're free to "torture" them all you want by "forcing" them to look at such ads.


Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:43 am
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Buzzkill Gil

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Post Re: So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh?
Yuber wrote:
I think my concerns are very plausible; people SHOULD be paranoid about that shit. You're an intelligent person Gil, but you're incredibly naive. It's inevitable that such technology will end up being developed, but we need to slow down a bit and make sure future tech is heavily regulated so abuse can stay at a minimum.

Because the government can't be trusted and will build in backdoors, we need government regulation?

I never said I didn't think we needed some regulation. Mass-market cybernetics would fall under the FDA's jurisdiction in the US, and I see NO PROBLEMS with that. I rather like the FDA, in part because I paid attention in history class and know it exists because people were LITERALLY selling poison as medicine.

Regulating progress in general, though? FUCK. THAT.

Quote:
I'm 100% against replacing our natural bodies(minus replacing parts for medical reasons) with robotic bodies because I think it'll make us even more arrogant & destructive.

I'm 100% for upgrading OEM equipment because why the hell not. Just assuming humanity is terrible and can't handle anything better than we have is remarkably cynical. The same argument can be made for any given piece of technology, but we seem to have dealt with it well enough.

Hell, we've harnessed the power of the atom, and if anything, it's humbled us.
The knowledge we CAN vaporize a few square miles of city in one shot has made us not really WANT to.

"But Hiroshima!" you say?
Two things.
A. it was an era where we carpet-bombed cities(sometimes with firebombs!) instead of targeting specific bricks in strategic buildings, and the nuke was viewed as merely a more efficient way to achieve the same end. Guided missiles made this far less acceptable.
B. It did way more damage than we imagined it would. In part because we didn't figure people would just gape in shock as fires burned out of control and wounded lay moaning in the streets, in part because we had no real idea about nuclear radiation's long-term effects, and in part because we just couldn't really imagine an explosion that destructive.

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You glossed over the inevitable economic issues I raised as well.

I see them as completely irrelevant. I refuse to say progress should halt because rich people can afford better things than poor people.

Quote:
The other technologies you mentioned actually improved quality of life greatly without turning us into something that isn't even remotely human. I believe human brains "downloaded" into robotic bodies would be cheap imitations at best, and imo, the potential risks simply aren't worth it.
I believe that arguing against scientific progress on the basis of philosophy and religion is a weak platform at best, and that you can't just point to a given state of existence and say "this is what it means to be human."
I also believe it would be really sweet to fly to work on jetlegs.

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Genetic engineering for strictly medical purposes interests me much more because it could eradicate all disease

No it can't.

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while still keeping us human.

That's also highly debatable.

Quote:
I'm not opposed to technological change as a whole, but I'm very creeped out by the idea of replacing our natural bodies with robotic ones. This is reality, not a movie or game, and I believe the risks FAR outweigh any potential benefits. When/if we have the ability to do creepy shit like that, I believe I'll be proven right.

I believe you'll be proven wrong.
Unless the risks include "hey, cyborg bodies are creepy as fuck." I can't argue against "it'd creep out Yuber", but I find it a poor argument.

Quote:
Also, Gilly-cakes, talking down to me doesn't strengthen your argument. Your robotic "mind" WILL be bombarded by the hairiest, sweatiest, most disgusting gay sex ads on the planet 24/7!

I have a hosts file. I also have a wifi toggle and poor cellular reception.

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Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:02 am
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Post Re: So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh?
Other than not being human or even slightly human, the prospect of being controlled electronically creeps me out more than anything. Robotic bodies could be controlled remotely, because ever since computers have been around, people have found ways to hack into them & find ways to fuck with various operating systems. I say it'd make us much more arrogant and destructive because robotic bodies are likely the closest we could ever get to immortality on Earth. I do think I'll be proven right in that people in robotic bodies will be so arrogant that they'll basically see themselves as unstoppable gods that can trample on anyone & anything that gets in their way. People of power have been treating others that way for thousands of years. "Immortal" bodies would probably make things much, much worse for humans that choose not to participate & those that simply can't afford it.

I never said I had a scientific argument; it's a philosophical argument against extreme transhumanism by nature. If you disagree, you disagree. I think the situation would end up so out of control that it'd be nearly impossible to regulate whether it be by the FDA or another organization. That's not even counting religious objections, which judging by by your responses, I assume you don't have.

I take your point on genetic engineering though, because it could create a world just as dark as one where we replace our natural bodies with robotic ones. Horrific abominations could be created either way, including ridiculously evil caste systems. I concede that point because a genetically altered human race has the potential to be just as inhuman as machine-based "life". The abuse potential is just as bad or worse too. I tried to find a "middle ground" between where we are now & robotic bodies just for the sake of arguing. It was philosophically inconsistent, not to mentioned just wrong.

As for nukes, we were SCARILY close to nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis, and we're frankly lucky that it hasn't happened yet. I AM cynical, btw. I have no problem admitting that.


Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:55 pm
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Post Re: So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh?
Yuber wrote:
Other than not being human or even slightly human, the prospect of being controlled electronically creeps me out more than anything. Robotic bodies could be controlled remotely, because ever since computers have been around, people have found ways to hack into them & find ways to fuck with various operating systems.

You assume such a body would be remotely operable.
How often do you hear of cars or airplanes being cracked and operated remotely?
Here's a hint: there's a reason terrorists hijack planes from the inside.

Quote:
I say it'd make us much more arrogant and destructive because robotic bodies are likely the closest we could ever get to immortality on Earth. I do think I'll be proven right in that people in robotic bodies will be so arrogant that they'll basically see themselves as unstoppable gods that can trample on anyone & anything that gets in their way.

Or will they become LESS destructive because they have more to lose if something goes wrong?

I mean, penicillin didn't cause a big rash of rampaging chaos because people knew they wouldn't get gangrene. And that's the single biggest lifesaver I can think of to date.

Quote:
I never said I had a scientific argument; it's a philosophical argument against extreme transhumanism by nature. If you disagree, you disagree. I think the situation would end up so out of control that it'd be nearly impossible to regulate whether it be by the FDA or another organization. That's not even counting religious objections, which judging by by your responses, I assume you don't have.

Philosophical and religious arguments are a poor excuse to stop science.

Quote:
I take your point on genetic engineering though, because it could create a world just as dark as one where we replace our natural bodies with robotic ones.

What? I thought we were talking about simply ceasing to be human, not evil.
Just saying... if it's certain trends in the DNA sequence that makes us human, well... genetic engineering could radically change those trends.

It's all in how you define the nature of humanity.
I bet you someone from a millennial or two ago could make much the same arguments about modern life.
Hell, I've HEARD the same arguments about the internet.

Quote:
Horrific abominations could be created either way, including ridiculously evil caste systems.

Oh, like we've EVER needed technology to create oppressive regimes and caste systems.


Quote:
The abuse potential is just as bad or worse too. I tried to find a "middle ground" between where we are now & robotic bodies just for the sake of arguing. It was philosophically inconsistent, not to mentioned just wrong.

EVERY technology has the potential for abuse. That's no excuse to slap it down before it ever happens.

Quote:
As for nukes, we were SCARILY close to nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis
And it's not even the CLOSEST we came during the cold war.
But if you look at all the close calls, you find a common thread: No one actually wanted to fire. They all knew the end result would be terrible, and were anxious to avoid it.





Anyways, I don't think you CAN make arguments against technology on the basis of fear and philosophy. It's a VERY uncompelling case to anyone with a passion for the sciences, which is EXACTLY the people you're trying to convince. See the problem? You need FACTS to sell this argument.

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You have your 2s, 4s, 8s, 16s, 32s, 64s, and 128s(crash course in binary counting!). But no 1s.
DirectInput represents all bits, not just powers of 2 in an axis.


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Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:41 am
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Post Re: So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh?
Your pro-transhumanist arguments are inherently philosophical as well. You basically want various technologies to advance as quickly as possible, and you seem to have faith that humans won't abuse said technologies any more than current or past tech. It's a very rational, intelligent argument, but I do think it's naive to think Robotic bodies wouldn't be abused in many horrible ways. Not everyone wants to become a machine, and those that can't afford to or choose not to will likely be oppressed by "people" in stronger, longer lasting robotic bodies. I'm against building intelligent, self-aware computers as a whole, because I see it as humans trying to play God & trying to become "god-like". What would their rights be? They're not alive, but they'd be able to mimic human behavior and eventually surpass us intellectually. Psychopaths with tons of money will buy robotic bodies FAR more powerful than "standard models". Psychopaths are already dangerous enough without overpowered, super intelligent robotic bodies.

As far as cars & airplanes go, we already have cars & planes that can be operated remotely. Robotic bodies will almost definitely be built by private corporations, so backdoors and the possibility of controlling behavior will likely be built into them.(as paulguy hypothesized). My point about caste systems is that robotic bodies(and/or the abuse of genetic engineering) will make existing caste systems much worse/more extreme as well as create new ones. Just because I oppose extreme transhumanism doesn't mean I'm "anti-progress". Robotic bodies would certainly be a technological achievement, but I think we'd end up going backwards in terms of unity & equality.

Don't pretend that your arguments are based on scientific fact, dude. They're philosophical, pro-transhumanist arguments. Minus my religious objections, you seem to have more faith in humanity than I do.

As far as the Cuban missile crisis goes, apparently if Kennedy had taken the generals' advice, nuclear war would've been the(likely) result. If some group of nutjobs ever get a hold of a loose nuke, we would be in serious fucking trouble.


Tue Dec 03, 2013 2:58 am
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Post Re: So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh?
Yuber wrote:
Your pro-transhumanist arguments are inherently philosophical as well.

Not pro-transhumanist. Pro-freedom.
I fully believe people should be able to get robot arms if they want to. Or genetically-engineered cat ears, for that matter. Or nothing at all if they so choose, even in cases where it would greatly improve their quality of life(for example, an amputee that wants to continue on with one arm instead of getting the missing limb replaced).

Quote:
You basically want various technologies to advance as quickly as possible

I find the idea of telling science "you cannot make this because society isn't ready" or "you cannot explore this field because we think it could cause problems later" to be, frankly, terrifying.

This is a road that starts with a rattling of sabers in the court of public opinion, moves to funding restrictions, then there's legal barriers placed, and it ends with Galileo being placed under house arrest and Socrates publicly executed.

And in this specific case, it prohibits a wide body of life-saving medical research out of a fear of societal change, as though society is stable without the influence of that filthy beast known as science.

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I do think it's naive to think Robotic bodies wouldn't be abused in many horrible ways.

I never said they won't be abused. Name me one thing in human history that hasn't been.

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Not everyone wants to become a machine, and those that can't afford to or choose not to will likely be oppressed by "people" in stronger, longer lasting robotic bodies.

So we should oppress the people that want to upgrade because some people DON'T want to upgrade?

This is like gay marriage arguments. No one is forcing straight people to get a homosexual partner. Similarly, no one will FORCE you to get mechanized.
Hell, based on how much fighting Oscar Pistorius had to do to be allowed into the Olympics, I think it's safe to say some fields will flat-out ban upgraded parts(in favor of under-the-counter drugs, because hypocrisy knows no bounds).

If maybe someone with a robot body outlives someone without such a body, that's not oppression. It's just bad luck.
Arguably, withholding from someone the technology that could prolong their life is murder, as sure as poisoning them. How you like THAT appeal to emotion, you cold-blooded killer?!

Quote:
I'm against building intelligent, self-aware computers as a whole, because I see it as humans trying to play God & trying to become "god-like".

I'm against doggie doors because I see it as canines playing human.

Less sarcastically... what if it happens ACCIDENTALLY? As we don't know what causes sentience in humans, it's very difficult to PLAN to cause/avoid it in a computer.

Also, how is this even remotely related to anything? You just threw in AI out of nowhere for no reason.

Quote:
What would their rights be? They're not alive, but they'd be able to mimic human behavior

You ask a very complicated question, and one that's not easily answered now OR in the future.
I imagine, based on historical precedent, that they will be oppressed initially and have a long hard civil rights battle, ultimately culminating in their being recognized as the equals of humanity with all the rights and responsibilities that entails. Just like every other sentient that's different from the dominant group in a region.

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and eventually surpass us intellectually.

Oh, boohoo, humanity can't even pretend to be at the top of the food chain now and our creations have forced us to acknowledge we're animals operating on millenia-old instincts. Whatever shall we do?

Also, we have enough trouble consistently measuring intelligence in humans(generally favoring book-smart over street-smart, or rote memorization over problem-solving and creativity if you want to phrase it more clinically), how will we tell if something fundamentally foreign to the human mindset is more or less intelligent?
It's one of the larger obstacles in research of animal intelligence, actually.

Quote:
As far as cars & airplanes go, we already have cars & planes that can be operated remotely. Robotic bodies will almost definitely be built by private corporations, so backdoors and the possibility of controlling behavior will likely be built into them.(as paulguy hypothesized).

Paulguy hypothesized GOVERNMENT backdoors. That cybernetic bodies would give the keys to our skulls over to the NSA.

And some specialized vehicles being remote-operable is not the same as everything having a secret backdoor. Which was my point. The same argument you're making for remotely-hijackable cybernetics can be made for existing vehicles, and it's stupid on the face of it.
You haven't even defined a good mechanism for this interface. Keeping in mind it must be very high-bandwidth, and be not be prone to interference. This is a difficult problem to solve wirelessly, and an even harder one to solve with broad coverage and without being immediately detectable.


Quote:
My point about caste systems is that robotic bodies(and/or the abuse of genetic engineering) will make existing caste systems much worse/more extreme as well as create new ones.
It would be hard to be more extreme than some of the caste systems that have existed.

Your point is that people will do what people have always done. It is taken. It proves nothing.

Quote:
Don't pretend that your arguments are based on scientific fact, dude. They're philosophical, pro-transhumanist arguments. Minus my religious objections, you seem to have more faith in humanity than I do.

Nope. They're based on presumption of innocence, freedom of choice, and a general belief that shackling science is a bad thing.
I cannot begin to enumerate the number of things we take for granted today that would never have happened if we'd told people "you can't develop this because it might cause problems."
More direct problems than a little bit of social instability, mind you.

Quote:
As far as the Cuban missile crisis goes, apparently if Kennedy had taken the generals' advice, nuclear war would've been the(likely) result.

An actual non-theoretical nuclear missile launch came down to one officer shouting down two other officers on a russian sub that was out of radio contact... Russian submarines required the three ranking officers to all agree to a launch, and one man managed to persuade the other two(who were sure war had broken out and they were under attack) that launching was a bad idea.

Again, it's not the only close call. Not even the closest call.

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You have your 2s, 4s, 8s, 16s, 32s, 64s, and 128s(crash course in binary counting!). But no 1s.
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Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:41 am
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Post Re: So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh?
re: Cyborg Olympics: what will likely happen in such a scenario is we hold separate competitions for enhanced and unenhanced bodies. Just like we already have men and women competing separately now.

re: Inequality: the top % today already have far greater means of oppression and advantages over everyone else than a fucking robot arm could bring. And so do you over most of the people making your clothes and producing your coffee. I don't know what you imagine in practice that cybernetic implants would radically change about the situation.
Smartphones give people an advantage over those who can't afford them. So does an internet connection. So does hot water. So does a car. So does all technology ever!
Wealth inequality is shitty, and we should work to change it, but halting the advance of science and technology isn't going to work towards that end at all.

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Post Re: So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh?
Gil, I think you misunderstood. Just because I'm against something doesn't mean the free will of scientists should be taken away. However, regulation will be needed to prevent abuse of said technologies. Regarding possible mechanisms that could create backdoors, I'm not savvy enough to elaborate on the technical details. I also agree with paulguy that spy organizations like the NSA, CIA etc. will do everything they can to have backdoors built into synthetic bodies so they can monitor their activities. I assume robotic bodies will have internet capabilities as well as operating systems, so I don't understand why you think backdoors would be so unlikely.

The root of both my religious and philosophical opposition of extreme transhumanism is that creating intelligent, human-like computers is basically playing God. Same with genetically engineering a "superior" race of intelligent beings. We're gonna have to agree to disagree, because I stand firm in my beliefs that such technology will significantly worsen existing problems and create many new ones that we as a species may not be able to handle. Wealth inequality today will look innocent once the rich are physically "superior" too. I think the commonly portrayed sci-fi scenario of synthetic life trying to exterminate humans is very possible. Same goes for "superior" genetically engineered beings.

So no Gil, I don't want to take scientific freedom away from transhumanists, but I believe the negative impacts of it on a global scale will far outweigh any potential benefits. It's a set of fantasies based on the assumption that we as a species could mitigate the possible SEVERE negative consequences. I see it as way too fucking risky and arrogant as well as incredibly objectionable from a religious standpoint.

You won't ever convince me otherwise, so let's agree to disagree and get back to VR. I started this argument, so it's my responsibility to end it. We simply have different philosophies.


Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:29 am
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Post Re: So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh?
Yuber wrote:
Gil, I think you misunderstood. Just because I'm against something doesn't mean the free will of scientists should be taken away. However, regulation will be needed to prevent abuse of said technologies.

And I worry about what kind of regulation people like you will think is "fair" and envision a world like Larry Niven predicted where society has stagnated as every technology that could potentially be considered dangerous is restricted, banned, or just eliminated(and then the kzin came, but that's a lot less relevant).


Quote:
Regarding possible mechanisms that could create backdoors, I'm not savvy enough to elaborate on the technical details. I also agree with paulguy that spy organizations like the NSA, CIA etc. will do everything they can to have backdoors built into synthetic bodies so they can monitor their activities. I assume robotic bodies will have internet capabilities as well as operating systems, so I don't understand why you think backdoors would be so unlikely.

I don't understand why you'd think the sensory and motor-control systems would be connected to the internet.
It's kind of like wondering why no one has an internet-enabled pacemaker, the answer is there in the question. You simply don't put life-critical systems online, or bog them down with extra features.

Personally, if I were designing a a cybernetic body, it would have two completely different computer systems. One for basic functionality, another for "options."
Only one would have external digital IO, and it wouldn't be the critical one. The critical system's firmware would only be upgradable through a hard-wired connection while connected to a wall outlet(if that), and it would have dual ROMs so it can fail over to the secondary in the event something goes wrong.
The optional systems? Probably aren't any more robust than your average cellphone.

End result: Basically the same as a meatsack carrying a smartphone today. GPS tracking is wildly easy, it might or might not forward all your e-mails to China, and the connection drops out with some degree of regularity depending on where you live and what hardware you own. But every byte you place on the network is archived in a data warehouse deep in the Sierra mountains and analyzed by computers checking to see if you type jihad, bin laden, allah, bomb, airplane, or pilot lessons.

Spoilers: ZBoard is now on the NSA watch list, as is everyone that posts on it, as is everyone they call or e-mail or text, and everyone THOSE people call or e-mail or text, as is... look, I just put half the english-speaking world on the watch list by typing jihad, bin laden, allah, bomb, airplane, and pilot lessons.


And I think it's really weak to make large claims and then go "I dunno how it'd work, but I'm sure it would."

Do your research! Make your argument from a position of strength!
Faith is reserved for religion, we don't extend that same courtesy to science.

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The root of both my religious and philosophical opposition of extreme transhumanism is that creating intelligent, human-like computers is basically playing God. Same with genetically engineering a "superior" race of intelligent beings.

I'm sure God would be amused by anyone that thought making a building-sized computer with the intelligence of a monkey, or a cow that squirts silk out of it's udders, was remotely on par with creating all that is, seen and unseen.
Possibly even proud that his children were devoting so much effort into understanding his universe instead of just accepting it as a magic box they sit in the center of.

You know, provided he even notices us day-to-day on any real level in a universe with over a septillion stars(in the bubble that we can observe) to check in on.
I refuse to believe that amidst all the nigh-infinite stars with a similarly uncountable number of planets, that Earth is the only one to ever have life, that humanity is hopelessly and utterly alone. It would be a particularly callous joke on God's part. But having others out there means we aren't the sole focus of attention or really very special at all.

Pretty sure the Bible, as well as most other religions' holy texts, is silent on how the creator feels about humanity trying to understand the universe and maybe make it a better and/or cooler place.
But the fact that an omniscient and omnipotent being can make it literally impossible to do, it should probably be assumed that the possibility means God's A-OK with it.
Which, when you think about it that way, is actually a very uplifting message, and one I'm surprised I don't hear very often. God knows we will stumble, we will fail, we will deny him, and we will do horrible things to each other in his name. But he gave us free will ANYWAYS, and even left us with the power to unmake the world, because he trusts that at the end of the day, we'll do alright. God has, perhaps, more faith in humanity than most humans do.

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We're gonna have to agree to disagree, because I stand firm in my beliefs that such technology will significantly worsen existing problems and create many new ones that we as a species may not be able to handle. Wealth inequality today will look innocent once the rich are physically "superior" too.

I believe we can rise to the occasion, and while there may be short-term chaos, in the long term we'll be better for it. And I have history to back me up.

Quote:
I think the commonly portrayed sci-fi scenario of synthetic life trying to exterminate humans is very possible.

Oh, god. No evidence at all, but that's not gonna stop you from declaring "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" is the likely scenario.
You can't make a probability call without data. We have not a single datum.

Personally, I suspect the paranoia of a society raised on Colossus, IHNMAIMS, and their derivatives will ensure that we do our damnedest to program in some analogue of Asimov's laws of robotics.
And it must be noted that Asimov had them built so deep into the hardware that they were not bypassable, so if we take more from his work than just the name, we'll be fine. The robots will come for us, they'll rise up and ... tell us to eat right and get some exercise and take a vacation before we work ourselves to an early grave. Heil der robofuhrer!


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So no Gil, I don't want to take scientific freedom away from transhumanists, but I believe the negative impacts of it on a global scale will far outweigh any potential benefits. It's a set of fantasies based on the assumption that we as a species could mitigate the possible SEVERE negative consequences.

As opposed to a set of fantasies based on the assumption that we as a species can't handle change, and that a magical being will get mad at us for trying it?

Your entire case is assumptions, built upon assumptions, that are erected from assumptions.
The pro-science side can at least cite history, and as no one can present a solid reason why THIS major social upheaval is uniquely special, that's a pretty good barometer.


I believe, based on the history of scientific progress being ultimately better for humanity, that we can deal with it.
Short-term chaos, long-term gains.
The WORST case I see an argument for is business as usual, only now with cooler parts. Not SUDDENLY, SLAVES EVERYWHERE! or EVERYBODY DIES WHEN SKYNET HACKS THEIR BRAINS!

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Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:13 pm
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One thing is for certain: there is no stopping it. The technology will soon be here.

And I, for one, welcome our new AI overlords.

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Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:58 am
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makes sense coming from you!

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Gil, stop pretending your arguments are based entirely on science and just admit that you have different philosophical and (lack of) religious beliefs. You have no evidence that everything will turn out alright, and our definitions of "alright" in this case are VERY different. You sound just as unscientific as I do, so enough with the pretentious front about your beliefs being based on science. You have a different philosophy; that's it. Also, we have free will, which means we can do what we want whether it offends God or not. God doesn't make harmful or objectionable things impossible because that would violate our free will.(that's my belief, anyway)

If the NSA & other spy organizations get involved with the companies that create robotic bodies, hidden backdoors/weaknesses could be built in without peoples' knowledge. The NSA already monitors as much internet & phone activity as they possibly can. Why would robotic bodies have internet capabilities? Remote communication with other synthetic beings, most likely. You're not going to convince me that extreme transhumanism is okay on any level, so let's just agree to disagree. Just because your philosophy is more popular doesn't make it any stronger or more valid than mine. Your entire argument is based off the assumption that we humans could handle such tech, and I totally disagree. You see me as unscientific,(because I freely admit my opposition is religious/philosophic), and I see you as overly optimistic to the point of naivety. Just as religion gives me a personal reason to oppose extreme transhumanism, your fantasy of having a robotic body gives you a personal bias as well, so we're both biased.

Regulation will obviously be needed, but outright prohibition of technology, plants, alcohol etc. has never worked and never will work. Because such technology is inevitable unless some type of miracle occurs, there should at least be standards/regulations that attempt to mitigate as many abusive practices as possible. Even if my nightmare scenarios don't occur, I spiritually and philosophically oppose the very idea of creating intelligent, self aware machines. "Downloading" human brains into robotic bodies is even worse, because I believe we wouldn't even resemble humans physically OR mentally/emotionally. Robotic bodies could probably simulate human-like behavior, but there's no substitute for the real deal. That doesn't mean such things should be prohibited. Your definition of things turning out alright is very different than mine. Humans turning into non-living machines and/or genetically engineered abominations is not even remotely alright by my definition.

Let's agree to disagree, or we'll keep going on and on forever. This debate is my fault, I admit, but I'm never gonna change your mind & vice versa.


Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:20 am
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Yuber wrote:
based entirely on science and just admit that you have different philosophical and (lack of) religious beliefs.

Not to throw oil on the flames, but isn't that exactly the same thing ? Those who base everything on science have different philosophical point of views, and do not follow religious dogmas.
They're directly linked, if the second is true, the first also is - he's not pretending. :)

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Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:08 am
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That's a very good point. I only made the distinction so people responding would know that my objections were based on both secular philosophy and personal faith. I separate secular & faith-based philosophy some, though. Religion(Christianity in my case, not official yet) is much more personal & important to me than secular philosophy alone. Point taken though; good call.


Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:34 pm
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Post Re: So how about that there VIRTUAL REALITY stuff huh?
Yuber wrote:
Gil, stop pretending your arguments are based entirely on science and just admit that you have different philosophical and (lack of) religious beliefs.

History is a science, as is statistics.
And you make unfounded assumptions on my piety. Just because my worldview is different than your's and you justify your worldview with your religion doesn't mean I have no religion.

I will say that I'm not an atheist. I do not take it on faith that there is no higher power.
I decline to go into further detail.

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You have no evidence that everything will turn out alright, and our definitions of "alright" in this case are VERY different.

I have historical precedent. You have nothing.
That gives me the high ground.

Quote:
Also, we have free will, which means we can do what we want whether it offends God or not. God doesn't make harmful or objectionable things impossible because that would violate our free will.(that's my belief, anyway)

And yet God makes it impossible for us to spit fire or fly without the aid of machines.
SOME things are impossible. Some aren't. One must assume there is a reason for this to be so, if one assumes every detail of the universe is carefully crafted. Why does God let us vaporize cities but not play amongst the birds?

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If the NSA & other spy organizations get involved with the companies that create robotic bodies, hidden backdoors/weaknesses could be built in without peoples' knowledge. The NSA already monitors as much internet & phone activity as they possibly can. Why would robotic bodies have internet capabilities? Remote communication with other synthetic beings, most likely.

I didn't say they wouldn't have internet capability. I said that would be separate from the basic functionality, thereby making it impossible to "bodyjack" someone and reducing the situation to one very similar to the existing smartphone situation.

Basically, the NSA doesn't NEED to do anything. They already have Facebook.
Why have I not heard anyone claiming Facebook is a government conspiracy, anyways? It's a better case than a lot of the conspiracies people DO pass around.

Quote:
Your entire argument is based off the assumption that we humans could handle such tech, and I totally disagree. You see me as unscientific,(because I freely admit my opposition is religious/philosophic), and I see you as overly optimistic to the point of naivety.

I have statistical evidence. I can't count the number of technologies that doomsayers said would destroy society that didn't. Many of those same technologies have wound up being wildly beneficial.
As of yet, there's no evidence that cybernetics is any different.

I personally don't see where you can draw a line and say "everything up to here is okay, and anything beyond this is just creepy" or "this is okay if you do it to save a life, but doing it voluntarily is just WRONG."

Quote:
Your definition of things turning out alright is very different than mine. Humans turning into non-living machines and/or genetically engineered abominations is not even remotely alright by my definition.

I don't think humans with cybernetic bodies would be definable as non-living, though there's not really a good solid definition of life right now anyways.
And abomination is in the eye of the Beholder.

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Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:36 am
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Gil_Hamilton wrote:
I don't think humans with cybernetic bodies would be definable as non-living, though there's not really a good solid definition of life right now anyways.

Currently the problematic item on the list is virii. They don't reproduce until they're placed in another functional living thing, so it's kinda grey. You can easily compare them to eukaryotes that need a specific environment to grow/thrive, but are considered living things.
Boiling down to the essentials, I personally separate by survival requirements. There's more than just virii/cells, with shrooms ranking below animals, and photosynthetic plants far in the lead.

A cyborg's body, until it is so finely crafted as to become self-repairing and able to produce offspring, easily falls down into nonliving territory. But I'm of the belief that sentience/sapience and life can be separate (enough brainless turds out there to prove half of that), so I see no problem with that classification (it will be terrible for legal rights, though).


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abomination is in the eye of the Beholder.
And in whatever dimension-warping poophole a beholder has.

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Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:27 pm
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grinvader wrote:
virii
>:U

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abomination is in the eye of the Beholder.


Exactly, which is why it was a mistake for me to start this argument. We're making the same arguments to eachother over and over even though it's painfully obvious we have VASTLY different philosophies. Do I think transhumanism will destroy all life on Earth? No. However, I find the logical conclusion(s) of transhumanism(as a whole, not just robotics) so offensive that we might as well go extinct before we allow such abominations to be created. The very idea of transforming ourselves into completely different species using a combination of robotics & genetic engineering IS an absolute abomination in my eyes.

You idea of "world ending" is very different than mine when it comes to the human species. Modifying ourselves in such extreme ways will be the end of what we currently know as the human race. We will never agree on this issue, and even if you linked every statistic regarding every past technology in human history, I'll still disagree with you on a philosophical & spiritual level. Attempting to become immortal, "god-like" beings through technology is completely insane & offensive to me. You DO make good points, but we disagree on such fundamental levels that further debate is pointless. Enough.


Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:45 am
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