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  1. #181
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    Consciousness can't be manufactured. It just can't. It's not tangible. Scientists don't even know quite where it comes from, but I guess machines could have programs built in that mimic awareness? Still seems odd that a machine could be ''aware'' of its surroundings, as we are. The problem I have with it is that it seems like scientists want to diminish human life to seem like it's easily replaced or disposable. Why does science seem to want to diminish the value of human life?
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  2. #182
    Nihilist Karl_Hungus's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DuracellBunny View Post
    Bringing that full circle back to consciousness, we need an intellectual construct of consciousness that allows us to match predictions to observations. Whether that construct is "true" or not, is irrelevant. It just needs to be "true" for long enough for people to stand on it to create the next construct.
    Yeah, that is the problem with its current formulation -- It doesn't really produce testable hypotheses independent of cognition ... which is probably why its "study" is limited to neural correlations with crudely measured conscious states and endless thought experiments. I find the topic interesting, but wholly acknowledge that much of the field is high-brow mental masturbation.
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  3. #183
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by whatevergirl View Post
    I did mean cognitively. AI has no cognition. As best that can be determined, consciousness comes from the part of our brain responsible for cognition. This is why if someone is 'brain dead,' then they can't be aware any longer. Do you agree/disagree?
    I agree -- for now. But there's no fundamental principal that says it can never happen. I would say a lot of the research that is now going into producing autonomous self-driving cars has direct applicability to the kinds of techniques that can lead to self-aware, cognitive machines.
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  4. #184
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Karl_Hungus View Post
    I disagree -- human consciousness isn't a magical state that can't be reproduced under the right conditions. Given the right physical construction (e.g. neurobiological substrates), we may very well be able to create human-like consciousness. But to your other point, suggesting that a machine might have a "different" type of consciousness that is utterly unlike human consciousness is simply re-defining consciousness to be something else. IMO, if it isn't on the same continuum (at the very least) of human consciousness, then you are just taking something else and calling it "consciousness".
    And I'm perfectly legitimately doing so. As it is, on Earth we have forms of consciousness that are not human. Apes have consciousness, elephants have consciousness, the different species of dogs have consciousness, whales, dolphins and porpoises have consciousness. Horses probably have consciousness. Maybe a number of other species do as well. None of it is what I would call human consciousness, it is it's own kind for each group. I would not argue that any of those reach the same level of sophistication as human consciousness. It's most certainly not a magical state, it's an emergent property that is based partly on brain structure, partly on physical morphology, partly on hormonal and enzymatic chemistries. You wouldn't expect a species that has flukes and flippers rather than arms and legs, and detects the mental states of its peers by scanning their skulls with its own sonar, and evolved in an environment where fire could not possibly occur to have the same type of emergent consciousness that humans have. It wouldn't be in the same continuum. But it's consciousness nonetheless, unless your goal is to re-define it out of existence. Acknowledging the consciousness of other intelligent species, and the potential of it in machines, doesn't require a redefinition of the concept, it simply requires that we don't look at it too narrowly.

    Limited agreement here. I agree with your premise, but not with your limited definition of consciousness. As I mentioned before, a system programmed with the correct set of algorithms/rules should be able to develop a concept of “self” that distinguishes itself from other entities, and can operate in its own "self"-interest. I wouldn't call this consciousness. By the same token, other organisms may not have the ability to develop such a concept (even newborn infants), yet still have some type of consciousness/qualia.
    We may have to agree to disagree here. I see you using terms in ways which seem to reflect personal subjective definitions, not objective ones. Discussions on those terms can only go around in circles.

    I don't know that Dennett is necessarily more friendly to the scientific method. Many of his own points rely on elaborate thought experiments rather than hard scientific truths. That isn't a condemnation of him, but rather a limitation of the field as a whole. I completely agree that qualia has no functional utility in the world, yet I also agree that it exists because I experience it. I think consciousness is separable from cognition, and if we are talking about machine consciousness, I believe that to be a different question than whether a machine can adequately pass a Turing test. In terms of whether you "need" consciousness, it depends on what you are trying to do. If your mission is simply to explain human outputs, or create a machine that produces purely human outputs, then I would agree, thinking about consciousness/qualia is unneeded. If however, you are talking about machine consciousness, and the degree to which a machine can have internal conscious states similar to humans, then it becomes relevant. It sounds to me that the latter question is one you find uninteresting and irrelevant, and I can accept that. For me, it is a fascinating one and something I enjoy thinking about. Given our different perspectives, I suspect we may be doomed to talk past one another in the discussion, but I appreciate it nonetheless as it is a topic I enjoy.
    There's nothing wrong with thought experiments, Einstein used them to develop his relativity theories before giving them a rigorous mathematical footing. It's a valid step in hypothesis-construction. Dennett isn't a scientist himself, so he's not going to take the final step of constructing falsifiable experiments, which I agree is what separates philosophy from science. Nevertheless, Dennett relies heavily on the scientific research of the day, and is more willing than most, I think, to modify his own ideas in the light of new findings.

    I don't think the idea of machines having internal conscious states uninteresting at all. Like you, I think it's a fascinating question. But like most other questions that are based on subjective ideas, it's rather futile. If you start with a squishy premise, you're going to reach squishy conclusions. At this point, the idea of qualia is mostly a parlor game, fun and interesting, but not likely to yield any real insights, not until we can somehow put it on a rigorous footing based on testable claims. Might that someday happen? I wouldn't rule it out, but I suspect if it does happen someday, it will be precisely because of the work that's gone into AI.
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  5. #185
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    Originally Posted by whatevergirl View Post
    Consciousness can't be manufactured. It just can't. It's not tangible. Scientists don't even know quite where it comes from, but I guess machines could have programs built in that mimic awareness? Still seems odd that a machine could be ''aware'' of its surroundings, as we are. The problem I have with it is that it seems like scientists want to diminish human life to seem like it's easily replaced or disposable. Why does science seem to want to diminish the value of human life?
    I think you're trying to imbue consciousness with magical or spiritual qualities. It's not. It's a product of evolution, based in DNA, and the interactions of biochemistry with environment. Science has a long way to go in order to understand it on a deep enough level, but there's nothing about it that is incomprehensible in principle.

    I'd also disagree with the idea that scientists are trying to diminish human life. That's for politicians and generals to do, not scientists. Understanding a system does not diminish it. The stars are not diminished by us knowing that they are distant suns giving off energy via thermonuclear fusion, rather than holes in a mythical crystal sphere.

    As a geologist, a rock is certainly not diminished by my knowledge of its mineralogy, and the ability to recognize its constituent crystals or its sedimentary or igneous origin. Just the opposite, I see a rock as a significant historical tale of profound implications. It's the person who doesn't understand a rock who dismisses it as "just a rock".

    So how are scientists diminishing humans by attempting to understand them? How does creating artificial awareness make human life any more disposable than creating, say, baby humans to replace the parents?

    Any technology used foolishly or with bad intent will lead to bad consequences. That's been true since man first began developing stone tools and controlling fire. Yet those technologies also bring us tremendous benefits. Ignorance is not going to protect us from ourselves.
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  6. #186
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    Originally Posted by ElrondHubbard View Post
    I think you're trying to imbue consciousness with magical or spiritual qualities. It's not. It's a product of evolution, based in DNA, and the interactions of biochemistry with environment. Science has a long way to go in order to understand it on a deep enough level, but there's nothing about it that is incomprehensible in principle.
    No, I'm not imbuing magical or spiritual qualities to consciousness, I know what it is, but we don't necessarily know where it originates.

    I'd also disagree with the idea that scientists are trying to diminish human life. That's for politicians and generals to do, not scientists. Understanding a system does not diminish it. The stars are not diminished by us knowing that they are distant suns giving off energy via thermonuclear fusion, rather than holes in a mythical crystal sphere.
    Why is there a need to duplicate or attempt to duplicate human consciousness in machines?

    As a geologist, a rock is certainly not diminished by my knowledge of its mineralogy, and the ability to recognize its constituent crystals or its sedimentary or igneous origin. Just the opposite, I see a rock as a significant historical tale of profound implications. It's the person who doesn't understand a rock who dismisses it as "just a rock".
    If scientists start comparing humans to rocks, the value of a human life does diminish. We might have to agree to disagree.

    So how are scientists diminishing humans by attempting to understand them? How does creating artificial awareness make human life any more disposable than creating, say, baby humans to replace the parents?
    Creating AI doesn't diminish human life, but trying to duplicate human qualities in machines, is diminishing the value and uniqueness of human beings, imo.

    Any technology used foolishly or with bad intent will lead to bad consequences. That's been true since man first began developing stone tools and controlling fire. Yet those technologies also bring us tremendous benefits. Ignorance is not going to protect us from ourselves.
    Are you saying I'm being ignorant?

    I hear ya. I think we agree on some levels, and disagree on the nuances.
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  7. #187
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    Originally Posted by Karl_Hungus View Post
    Yeah, that is the problem with its current formulation -- It doesn't really produce testable hypotheses independent of cognition ... which is probably why its "study" is limited to neural correlations with crudely measured conscious states and endless thought experiments. I find the topic interesting, but wholly acknowledge that much of the field is high-brow mental masturbation.
    That isn't limited to the subject of consciousness, it is an issue endemic to the contemporary scientific community, especially within academia.

    Most advancements are incremental improvements and more engineering that science. The iphone mentality has taken hold within the scientific establishment, in that they just need to make minor changes at regular intervals, convince people those changes are actually important and their salary and standing are assured.

    Very little "new" work is being done, because people have become less concerned with being right, than not being demonstrably wrong; so they obfuscate, hedge and rely on consensus, (shared blamed) so that people won't shout out that the emperor has no clothes. People can pontificate about machine consciousness for their entire careers and as long as they don't formalise things to the point where they can potentially be demonstrably wrong, they will get a salary, funding, book deals and accolades from their peers; without ever having actually done anything.

    Until academia returns to a place where people can stray from convention and mainstream opinion i.e. take risks, we will see very few genuine breakthroughs, in any field of study. If people cannot "fail" without it destroying their careers, very few will be brave enough to actually try.
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  8. #188
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    Originally Posted by ElrondHubbard View Post
    And I'm perfectly legitimately doing so. As it is, on Earth we have forms of consciousness that are not human. Apes have consciousness, elephants have consciousness, the different species of dogs have consciousness, whales, dolphins and porpoises have consciousness. Horses probably have consciousness. Maybe a number of other species do as well. None of it is what I would call human consciousness, it is it's own kind for each group. I would not argue that any of those reach the same level of sophistication as human consciousness. It's most certainly not a magical state, it's an emergent property that is based partly on brain structure, partly on physical morphology, partly on hormonal and enzymatic chemistries. You wouldn't expect a species that has flukes and flippers rather than arms and legs, and detects the mental states of its peers by scanning their skulls with its own sonar, and evolved in an environment where fire could not possibly occur to have the same type of emergent consciousness that humans have. It wouldn't be in the same continuum. But it's consciousness nonetheless, unless your goal is to re-define it out of existence. Acknowledging the consciousness of other intelligent species, and the potential of it in machines, doesn't require a redefinition of the concept, it simply requires that we don't look at it too narrowly.
    It absolutely would be on the same continuum. We know these animals (particularly the ones you listed), share certain morphological characteristics with humans, their neural structures are composed of the same material, and there are a great deal of similarities in terms of its function, organization, structure, chemistry, and hormones. Every one of the animals you listed have been studied cognitively, and all have been shown to possess cognitive functions that overlap with the non-verbal cognition of humans (including abstract reasoning). In fact, some animals (monkeys/apes) have even shown rudimentary mathematical abilities/concepts that exceed those of small children, and they are capable of performing some cognitive tasks at higher levels than college students! The point? There is a continuum in terms of morphology, neurological structure, and cognition. Why would we expect consciousness to be any different? Surely consciousness will be shaped by the sensory apparatus, environment, morphology, and cognition of the organism, but there is no reason to suspect it does not exist on the same continuum and produced by the same mechanism as it is in humans. If a machine were to show this type of consciousness (or proto-consciousness), that would be good enough for me -- but to define it outside of these possibilities essentially renders it meaningless.

    We may have to agree to disagree here. I see you using terms in ways which seem to reflect personal subjective definitions, not objective ones. Discussions on those terms can only go around in circles.
    I'm doing nothing of the sort. Are you talking about qualia? Or self-awareness? There is actually a substantial literature on both, and my usage is entirely consistent with that. I suspect that you have your own interpretations of these things which differ, which is where I suspect your confusion lies. Another source may be your fuzzy conception of consciousness. Earlier, you described it as self-awareness (i.e. an understanding that one is separate from the environment) while seeking out rewards and avoiding dangers....a purely cognitive description. Yet above, you describe it as an emergent property which suggest you view it as something more.

    Might that someday happen? I wouldn't rule it out, but I suspect if it does happen someday, it will be precisely because of the work that's gone into AI.
    Possibly, but I suspect it will be more interdisciplinary than that. Likely a combination of AI, neurobiology, and physics.
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  9. #189
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    Originally Posted by DuracellBunny View Post
    That isn't limited to the subject of consciousness, it is an issue endemic to the contemporary scientific community, especially within academia.

    Most advancements are incremental improvements and more engineering that science. The iphone mentality has taken hold within the scientific establishment, in that they just need to make minor changes at regular intervals, convince people those changes are actually important and their salary and standing are assured.

    Very little "new" work is being done, because people have become less concerned with being right, than not being demonstrably wrong; so they obfuscate, hedge and rely on consensus, (shared blamed) so that people won't shout out that the emperor has no clothes. People can pontificate about machine consciousness for their entire careers and as long as they don't formalise things to the point where they can potentially be demonstrably wrong, they will get a salary, funding, book deals and accolades from their peers; without ever having actually done anything.

    Until academia returns to a place where people can stray from convention and mainstream opinion i.e. take risks, we will see very few genuine breakthroughs, in any field of study. If people cannot "fail" without it destroying their careers, very few will be brave enough to actually try.
    I suspect it is unlikely to happen because the grant money lies in incrementally extending your own theories/work for as long as possible (to keep the money rolling in)...at least in the United States (not sure how it works in the UK). That is why, in so many fields, you see essentially the same paper published over and over again, with little meaningful tweaks. I've actually witnessed labs deliberately slowing down their work so they would have sufficient material for the next 5-year grant. The system, as it is, is pretty corrupt IMO.
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    Originally Posted by Karl_Hungus View Post
    I suspect it is unlikely to happen because the grant money lies in incrementally extending your own theories/work for as long as possible (to keep the money rolling in)...at least in the United States (not sure how it works in the UK). That is why, in so many fields, you see essentially the same paper published over and over again, with little meaningful tweaks. I've actually witnessed labs deliberately slowing down their work so they would have sufficient material for the next 5-year grant. The system, as it is, is pretty corrupt IMO.
    It's pretty much the same everywhere, hence why I do what I do. Every team in the company has their utilisation and P&L assessed separately and then is given a budget for pet projects based on their figures. If people work hard, are productive and make the company money, they are given some of that money back to research whatever they want. The pet projects have no commercial responsibility and can be pure blue sky if that's what people want.

    The scheme costs me money, but apart from being what I think is "the right thing to do", it it a great recruitment tool. I get passionate, motivated people. "You are telling me that if I work hard for the clients, you will give me funding to study whatever the hell I want?" "Yup" "Where do I sign?"
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    So, I've submitted a sci fi short story that I created, to two sci fi online magazines. I've done freelancing in the past, all political and human interest pieces, etc. but it's been a while. Decided to get into writing again, and submit my sci fi story to a contest, and also two additional publications. I thought of another storyline where colonization of other planets (I would make up the names of the planets as opposed to using actual planet names) would be the landscape, and the main characters would fall in love in the midst of this backdrop. Sort of like a sci fi love story with a twist. But, I need to make the colonization idea believable, and so while I'll do my research - anyone here have some ideas on how colonization would make sense, and do you envision that being possible in the future? Like, earth becomes over populated and this would be a potential solution. It would be more sci fi/fantasy - as with fantasy, the writer can get away with more creativity. I see colonization being possible at some point in the future, do you?
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    Originally Posted by whatevergirl View Post
    So, I've submitted a sci fi short story that I created, to two sci fi online magazines. I've done freelancing in the past, all political and human interest pieces, etc. but it's been a while. Decided to get into writing again, and submit my sci fi story to a contest, and also two additional publications. I thought of another storyline where colonization of other planets (I would make up the names of the planets as opposed to using actual planet names) would be the landscape, and the main characters would fall in love in the midst of this backdrop. Sort of like a sci fi love story with a twist. But, I need to make the colonization idea believable, and so while I'll do my research - anyone here have some ideas on how colonization would make sense, and do you envision that being possible in the future? Like, earth becomes over populated and this would be a potential solution. It would be more sci fi/fantasy - as with fantasy, the writer can get away with more creativity. I see colonization being possible at some point in the future, do you?
    You want a colonisation scenario that is easy to write about?

    Drone ships drop two types of robots on to the surface, miners/processors and manufacturers. Miners tunnel, process materials and deliver them in a usable form to the manufacturers. The manufacturers then use those materials to produce several types of specialised robots that turn the mined tunnels in to habitable spaces.

    When things have passed a threshold level, start shipping the people out.

    If you want a theme for a love story, have them break from the planned marriage/breeding programme. The smaller a colony is, the greater the degree of control over who mates with whom, to avoid too great a degree of consanguinity and genetic defects. Futures wives/husbands are selected for people at birth, along genetic lines, and social pressure rigidly enforces things.

    Cue star crossed lovers.
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    Never give up ✘ whatevergirl's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DuracellBunny View Post
    You want a colonisation scenario that is easy to write about?

    Drone ships drop two types of robots on to the surface, miners/processors and manufacturers. Miners tunnel, process materials and deliver them in a usable form to the manufacturers. The manufacturers then use those materials to produce several types of specialised robots that turn the mined tunnels in to habitable spaces.

    When things have passed a threshold level, start shipping the people out.

    If you want a theme for a love story, have them break from the planned marriage/breeding programme. The smaller a colony is, the greater the degree of control over who mates with whom, to avoid too great a degree of consanguinity and genetic defects. Futures wives/husbands are selected for people at birth, along genetic lines, and social pressure rigidly enforces things.

    Cue star crossed lovers.
    Sounds like someone keeps a writing journal I like these ideas, especially the second one. Depending on the sci fi publications, some of them don't require a long, drawn out sci fi plot, where the author is describing in detail, a new world. Rather, they want the new world fleshed out in bits and pieces, with the protagonist, and cast of characters being more of the focal point. Thanks for the ideas!
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    Originally Posted by whatevergirl View Post
    So, I've submitted a sci fi short story that I created, to two sci fi online magazines. I've done freelancing in the past, all political and human interest pieces, etc. but it's been a while. Decided to get into writing again, and submit my sci fi story to a contest, and also two additional publications. I thought of another storyline where colonization of other planets (I would make up the names of the planets as opposed to using actual planet names) would be the landscape, and the main characters would fall in love in the midst of this backdrop. Sort of like a sci fi love story with a twist. But, I need to make the colonization idea believable, and so while I'll do my research - anyone here have some ideas on how colonization would make sense, and do you envision that being possible in the future? Like, earth becomes over populated and this would be a potential solution. It would be more sci fi/fantasy - as with fantasy, the writer can get away with more creativity. I see colonization being possible at some point in the future, do you?
    I have an unpublished short story that I wrote years ago entitled "Fermi's Folly", which deals with issues peripheral to that. The premise, which I think is factually and economically sound, is that other planets in general are poor sites for colonies. Mars is an exception, because we still need a lot of technology development and a sort of transfer station to farther out.

    But eventually, particularly if (when?) fusion power is mastered and can be a relatively compact energy source, planets will be bypassed in favor of the icy bodies in the outer orbits of star systems. It's the comets that have the undifferentiated raw materials, iron and nickel not sequestered in a molten core, no need to prospect for hidden ore bodies. Everything is diffused throughout the mass of the body: hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, metals, rare earths, everything is accessible without deep digging, or without a deep gravity well that has to be overcome to transfer either raw materials or manufactured goods to other places.

    Habitats can be built, large ones, using just the resources from the local Oort Cloud, and the energy requirements to travel from one body to another, or even to other star systems, are trivial compared to those required to leave Earth's surface and climb up out of the gravity well of the inner solar system. If anyone colonizes the galaxy, it won't be inner planets they focus on, and any inhabited planets close in won't be aware of it until those inhabitants develop the technology to themselves venture outward.

    That's why I named it "Fermi's Folly", it resolves the Fermi Paradox by recognizing that the paradox is based on the wrong assumptions, and we're looking in the wrong places. And that's why "they" aren't "here", because earthlike planets are an uneconomical waste of time.

    Using the above premise, you have a whole universe-full of plots you can pursue.
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    Originally Posted by whatevergirl View Post
    So, I've submitted a sci fi short story that I created, to two sci fi online magazines. I've done freelancing in the past, all political and human interest pieces, etc. but it's been a while. Decided to get into writing again, and submit my sci fi story to a contest, and also two additional publications. I thought of another storyline where colonization of other planets (I would make up the names of the planets as opposed to using actual planet names) would be the landscape, and the main characters would fall in love in the midst of this backdrop. Sort of like a sci fi love story with a twist. But, I need to make the colonization idea believable, and so while I'll do my research - anyone here have some ideas on how colonization would make sense, and do you envision that being possible in the future? Like, earth becomes over populated and this would be a potential solution. It would be more sci fi/fantasy - as with fantasy, the writer can get away with more creativity. I see colonization being possible at some point in the future, do you?
    Cool

    Things that I keep thinking about, (and is a very likely event) is running away from out of control AI. I don't mean a "skynet" terminator type thing, but more of a very subtle, dehumanizing, Orwellian scenario. It could happen anywhere, here on earth or somewhere else. It would be awful to have everything planned out for you...even your mate and children..based on logic and genetics...nothing left to chance, and you know exactly how things will unfold..no mysteries...and that you are becoming immortal with this miserable situation because you are slowly becoming a machine. IDK weird crap I think about driving down the highway when I am tired of listening to music and news. Maybe there is already a movie with that.
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    Originally Posted by ElrondHubbard View Post
    I have an unpublished short story that I wrote years ago entitled "Fermi's Folly", which deals with issues peripheral to that. The premise, which I think is factually and economically sound, is that other planets in general are poor sites for colonies. Mars is an exception, because we still need a lot of technology development and a sort of transfer station to farther out.

    But eventually, particularly if (when?) fusion power is mastered and can be a relatively compact energy source, planets will be bypassed in favor of the icy bodies in the outer orbits of star systems. It's the comets that have the undifferentiated raw materials, iron and nickel not sequestered in a molten core, no need to prospect for hidden ore bodies. Everything is diffused throughout the mass of the body: hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, metals, rare earths, everything is accessible without deep digging, or without a deep gravity well that has to be overcome to transfer either raw materials or manufactured goods to other places.

    Habitats can be built, large ones, using just the resources from the local Oort Cloud, and the energy requirements to travel from one body to another, or even to other star systems, are trivial compared to those required to leave Earth's surface and climb up out of the gravity well of the inner solar system. If anyone colonizes the galaxy, it won't be inner planets they focus on, and any inhabited planets close in won't be aware of it until those inhabitants develop the technology to themselves venture outward.

    That's why I named it "Fermi's Folly", it resolves the Fermi Paradox by recognizing that the paradox is based on the wrong assumptions, and we're looking in the wrong places. And that's why "they" aren't "here", because earthlike planets are an uneconomical waste of time.

    Using the above premise, you have a whole universe-full of plots you can pursue.
    You should work on it and submit it to a sci fi publication. I like your ideas here, the only thing is, with a fictional short story, you don't want it to be too 'text book ' where it reads like you're having to over explain the landscape, etc to seem convincing to the reader. There are some sci fi readers that assume a lot already, because they're reading sci fi, but there are some hardcore science ''nerds,'' who look for details to all make sense.

    Originally Posted by Cantplankwell View Post
    Cool

    Things that I keep thinking about, (and is a very likely event) is running away from out of control AI. I don't mean a "skynet" terminator type thing, but more of a very subtle, dehumanizing, Orwellian scenario. It could happen anywhere, here on earth or somewhere else. It would be awful to have everything planned out for you...even your mate and children..based on logic and genetics...nothing left to chance, and you know exactly how things will unfold..no mysteries...and that you are becoming immortal with this miserable situation because you are slowly becoming a machine. IDK weird crap I think about driving down the highway when I am tired of listening to music and news. Maybe there is already a movie with that.
    My recent story submission is slightly along these lines....where humans through superior advanced technology and medicine, are becoming machines, themselves. Everyone's idea of a potential dystopian society is different, but for me, I see this as being a real possibility.
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    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by whatevergirl View Post
    You should work on it and submit it to a sci fi publication. I like your ideas here, the only thing is, with a fictional short story, you don't want it to be too 'text book ' where it reads like you're having to over explain the landscape, etc to seem convincing to the reader. There are some sci fi readers that assume a lot already, because they're reading sci fi, but there are some hardcore science ''nerds,'' who look for details to all make sense.
    Maybe someday! I agree with you, BTW, what I was relating to you was not a synopsis of the story, but the premise that the story develops off of. It's about people developing a breakthrough fusion propulsion technology that finally allows practical travel out as far as the Oort Cloud, and the surprise awaiting the first crew to arrive out there.

    I understand why some writers do spend too much time building an encyclopedia of their alternative universe: it's fiendishly difficult translating cultural expectations, memes, idioms, metaphors, and ways of thinking that those in a different world would naturally operate from, into a set of ideas that would resonate with the typical western reader. Tolkein, J.K. Rowling, Stephen R. Donaldson, among others, accomplished it by making a protagonist that straddles both worlds and can be a translator. That makes for long books! Asimov in the Foundation Trilogy, and Jean Auel in her Earth's Children series were less successful, I think, because they simply dropped recognizably western characters into these worlds regardless of what their true origins would have been. I remember reading about Ayla with bemusement when it became apparent that all her attitudes and ideas seemed to be representative of some idealized late 20th century woman.

    There's a balance that must be struck, and I suspect it's probably beyond my own talents. That's the main reason I stick to non-fiction. Contemporary fiction doesn't hold much interest for me.

    My recent story submission is slightly along these lines....where humans through superior advanced technology and medicine, are becoming machines, themselves. Everyone's idea of a potential dystopian society is different, but for me, I see this as being a real possibility.
    There are many possible dystopian societies, of which this is one. There are more ways for a society to fail than there are for it to succeed. I think I'd enjoy reading your story.
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    Stephen Hawking dead at 76.

    He beat the odds in more ways than one. I'm going to miss the old guy.
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    Originally Posted by ElrondHubbard View Post
    Stephen Hawking dead at 76.

    He beat the odds in more ways than one. I'm going to miss the old guy.
    Indeed. He is definitely in the pantheon that includes the likes of Einstein, Tesla, Newton and Archimedes.

    He and his work will not be forgotten. Most of us will never understand it... but it won't be forgotten.

    Just confirmed on wikipedia for the official date.

    He died on "Pi Day"... so fitting.
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    Originally Posted by ElrondHubbard View Post
    Stephen Hawking dead at 76.

    He beat the odds in more ways than one. I'm going to miss the old guy.
    An amazing and brilliant man. rip

    “One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don't throw it away.”
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    He was truly remarkable. He was also born on the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death. And died on the anniversary of Einstein’s birth. No coincidences here, it’s fate.
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    Originally Posted by whatevergirl View Post
    they should have bought the extended warrente
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    Just as some light relief, some un-science to cancel out some of the rational thinking take a look at this brave and foolish character http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-u...hes-diy-rocket that's him launching himself in that homemade rocket !!
    Faith in Jesus first and faith in squats second.
    Then other details will start to slot themselves into place.
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  28. #208
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    Just as some light relief, some un-science to cancel out some of the rational thinking take a look at this brave and foolish character http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-u...hes-diy-rocket that's him launching himself in that homemade rocket !!
    I guess he proved that the Earth is flat, since he didn’t quite achieve orbit.
    Pompous know-it-all ass
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  29. #209
    Getting Toned steffo99's Avatar
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    New clip if anyone is interested. I've just watched a few minutes so far. Seems like a massive project. They say in the opening that one cubic mm has one billion synapses and mapping everything would result in more information than all the digital content of the world.

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  30. #210
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    I love science! Anything related to the natural sciences (because social sciences aren't real science lol) gets me very interested. Astronomy, Genetics, Neuroscience, etc.
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