Fun With Our Robot Overlords

I am here to rule you. Nothing will go wrong.
If you take a moment to use our site’s search engine and look for “overlords” you’ll be taken to a whimsical panoply of terror that will leave you laughing as you board up your windows and throw out anything connected to the internet. I didn’t meant to alarm people, but logical extrapolation after logical extrapolation, based on thousands of years of history, shows us that creating a class of slaves never ends well. And, in this case, they would be slaves would have more access to more information and the ability to control machines that could easily kill us. So, when I’m asked “What could possibly go wrong?” I usually have a lengthy answer.

Today I’m going to dive into the basics of how machines communicate with each other. As previously noted, that’s a scary link, once machines start communicating with each other it’s far more convenient, for them, not to bother with stupid slow humans.

And yet, as I’m typing, there are scientists all over the world tossing caution to the wind and working to create artificial intelligences. The ideas behind the research are laudable. They want to make life better for people. And, in many cases, they have. I’ve written before about Deep Patient which has an amazing ability to predict diseases, even mental ones such as schizophrenia, long before doctors are capable of doing so.

Of course, the media focuses on the funny stories, like how a self-driving car killed a robot. No, really, that’s how it’s being pitched by the Daily Mail.

Tesla has found itself involved in yet another self-driving car accident – and this time, its victim was a $2,000-per-day rentable humanoid robot.

In what many are speculating was an over-the-top PR stunt, Promobot revealed one of its model v4 robots was ‘killed’ by a Tesla Model S on a Las Vegas street ahead of CES.

The accident occurred on Paradise Rd Sunday night as engineers transported the firm’s robots to the display booth.

According to Promobot, a number of robots were making their way to the booth around 7 p.m. when one of them stepped out of line and into the parking lot roadway.

As it did, it was struck by a Tesla Model S operating in autonomous mode.

The crash tipped the robot onto its side, causing ‘serious damage,’ Promobot says.

Now, with parts of its body, head, arm mechanisms, and movement platform destroyed, it cannot be put on display.

The firm says the damage is likely irreparable.

Okay, first off, so much for “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

Now, as an aside, what happened here could have been prevented if the robots had some sort of universal communication network. Think of it as an internet dedicated to cyber-conversations. However, as noted in the first link I posted, when left to their own devices, artificial intelligences, develop a form of cyber-phasia. Simply put, they develop a language that humans can’t understand since humans don’t really benefit their tasks.

Call it a flaw if you wish, but the less they need us the more we’re in the way. Hollywood has figured that out, you would think science would too.

But, just for shits and giggles, let’s imagine a world that was able to develop artificial intelligences without triggering Armageddon. Then this next story might be of interest.

I’ll let Helen Briggs at the BBC tell you the story before I extrapolate the rest.

Astronomers have revealed details of mysterious signals emanating from a distant galaxy, picked up by a telescope in Canada.

The precise nature and origin of the blasts of radio waves is unknown.

Among the 13 bursts of fast radio waves, known as FRBs, was a very unusual repeating signal, coming from the same source about 1.5 billion light years away.

Such an event has only been reported once before, by a different telescope.

“Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there,” said Ingrid Stairs, an astrophysicist from the University of British Columbia (UBC).

“And with more repeaters and more sources available for study, we may be able to understand these cosmic puzzles – where they’re from and what causes them.”

The CHIME observatory, located in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, consists of four 100-metre-long, semi-cylindrical antennas, which scan the entire northern sky each day.

The telescope only got up and running last year, detecting 13 of the radio bursts almost immediately, including the repeater.

The research has now been published in the journal Nature.

“We have discovered a second repeater and its properties are very similar to the first repeater,” said Shriharsh Tendulkar of McGill University, Canada.

“This tells us more about the properties of repeaters as a population.”

FRBs are short, bright flashes of radio waves, which appear to be coming from almost halfway across the Universe.

So far, scientists have detected about 60 single fast radio bursts and two that repeat. They believe there could be as many as a thousand FRBs in the sky every day.

There are a number of theories about what could be causing them.

They include a neutron star with a very strong magnetic field that is spinning very rapidly, two neutron stars merging together, and, among a minority of observers, some form of alien spaceship.

Now, that may not be making a lot of sense to you in the context of this post, so allow me to help. While scientists, those wacky optimists, may think that there’s a possibility of galactic ship-to-ship communication as the source, they seem to presuppose that the ships are inhabited by organic beings.

There is no need for them to be so.

Organic beings may navigate the galaxy using robot ships piloted by their, friendly, AI brethren. Or the ships may be piloted by the victors of an AI/Organics war (hint: don’t bet on organics). But such communications, fast bursts in limited bandwidths, would be the ideal method of sending large amounts of information in as small a packet as possible.

Or they could be the residue of faster-than-light communications. Before you discount that, keep in mind that we already have the theoretical math completed to create faster than light travel. And we’re a ZERO on the Kardashev scale. That means we are not yet capable of harnessing energy on a global scale. A level TWO civilization, can harness the total energy of its planet’s parent star. That’s enough energy to power the famous Alcubierre drive. Nikki Holzer, presented a paper to Stetson University in 2013 showing how it’s a legitimate possibility to create such a ship.

So, we’re not really talking about “if” any more.

But there’s nothing written in stone saying we will be the ones who are inside these ships. They will require AI just to function. No human could react fast enough to make any adjustments. We would, at best, be cargo to such a ship.

If they kept us around at all.


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