• What technology will run your life a few years from now?

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    SILICON By Brian Livingston “My interest is in the future, because I’m going to spend the rest of my life there,” said Charles Kettering, the head of
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    • #2438567

      “The problem is that Apple can also claim that the M1 Ultra is faster than the RTX 3090 when it isn’t. …

      And for those who don’t know about competing PC components, Apple is downright lying.”

      Brian, you made my day by pointing this out.

      We may not need artificial stupidity — it looks like there’s plenty of the plain-old, human kind.

      So true, Brian!

      All that said, Apple’s M1 concept is really catching on. And for good reasons. When Linux and other platforms and their apps get recoded for RISC, the kind of tech M1 represents will really take off, I think. Will Fastie seems to think so too.

      And yes, this tech is well suited for rapid development of AI.

      I’ll save any comments about Windows on ARM (and Linux on ARM) for when you post your other installments in this series of articles.

      So far, this is one of the best article series to hit AskWoody in a long time!

      -- rc primak

    • #2438641

      Talking about the “turing test” rerminds me of an incident from the ’60s.   The program in question was “Doctor” which was a rewrite of Joseph Wizenbaum’s “Eliza” program.   At the time Danny Bobrow wrote a short article for an AI journal called  “A Turing Test Passed”.   This from Risks Digest in ’89:

      https://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/8/18#subj7

       

    • #2438658

      Nanotechnology and it’s now.

      On hiatus {with backup and coffee}
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      • #2438867

        Nanotechnology and it’s now

        second that!

        Might add AI medical doctors, they will surely listen better and keep up on the latest medical info. And it will probably do its own medical coding so there goes half the office staff.

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        • #2439449

          Might add AI medical doctors, they will surely listen better and keep up on the latest medical info. And it will probably do its own medical coding so there goes half the office staff.

          Putting a machine, however artificially “intelligent”, in charge of my medical care is not my idea of progress.  As an assistant to a real, i.e., human, doctor, it could be highly useful but not as the decision-maker.

          There is an ongoing ethical discussion about AI-based weapons, specifically surrounding the question of who or what pulls the trigger.  US DoD statements come down on the side of a human being making the call.  I want no less consideration in my medical treatment than we afford enemies of this country.

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        • #2439902

          The patient should always be the one to make call. I do not know what country’s medical establishment you are familiar with but here in the good ol USA getting a callback from a doctor seems like winning a lottery. I will takes the AI over the current situation: 10 minute visits and make another appointment.

          Putting a machine, however artificially “intelligent”, in charge of my medical care is not my idea of progress

          🍻

          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #2438696

      This is a very interesting article about some very interesting things, thanks Brian!

      I think the technology that will run my life for what is left of it will still the the one I was born with, mainly inside my head. But this is really a question on a technological issue, and in that respect it is more like: “which technology will be most relevant and which will make how you live your life more different for you.”

      The use of ever more versatile and complex neural networks, a.k.a. “Artificial Intelligences” (it reminds me of how, back in the 50’s and early 60’s the mammoth computer mainframes with less computing capacity than a modest cell phone today, were called “electronic brains”) is going to become more generalized and, with tweaks like those mentioned in Brian’s Newsletter article, to make it more comfortable for humans to interact with them, they would be better equipped to replace actual people from jobs these AIs will be capable of doing at a lower cost (no benefits, etc.) and be less trouble and easier to to get them to do things, than employing people to do that.

      But those unemployed people may have difficulty paying for the products and services now provided by the machines that replaced them, unless (a) these become much, much cheaper because of automation, and (b) an effective social net can be put in place and maintained, so …

      So this looks like the possible coming of a real, socially dislocating, third industrial revolution. If and when it comes to pass, whether one is replaced by a computer or not, quite a few people will be and those who are might, one day, count themselves lucky to find themselves a decently paying job.

      Another emerging technology that might also, one day, be very disruptive, is quantum computing. It is not yet not too clear how useful it will be and what will it replace, as far as their current hardware goes at least, because, so far, they work in laboratory settings, housed in large Dewar-flasks like containers full of liquid nitrogen, not exactly something to be kept on a desk at the office or at home. But the possibility that they might become powerful enough to be useful for decrypting just about everything (even things encrypted by other quantum computers?), that is troubling.

      On some ideas for the design of bigger quantum computers:

      https://memlab.ece.gatech.edu/papers/MEMSYS_2017_2.pdf

      I look forward to the next installments of this promised and promising series.

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

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    • #2438821

      Are you sure that’s not a typo? Should be “What technology will ruin your life a few years from now?”

      cheers, Paul

      9 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2438826

      If I ask an airline rep whether I can change a flight reservation, an actual person is initially hesitant and must look it up. By contrast, a computer-generated voice instantly displays confidence in its answer.

      I have a different test.  I rarely call a company for routine assistance, such as your example.  When I call, it’s usually something that does not fit the canned silos that the IVR has been taught about.  (An ongoing problem is that I have a 5-character top-level domain in my personal email address.   Unbeknownst to me, there are a lot of websites that still think a TLD cannot be longer than four characters and refuse to accept an email address with a longer one).

      Calling any company and asking for website support or tech support is a guaranteed lesson in windmill tilting.  Some systems will eventually give and put a person on the phone; others literally hang up.

       

       

       

    • #2438841

      And for those who don’t know about competing PC components, Apple is downright lying.

      No, Apple didn’t lie. The comparison was about power consumption / performance where Apple’s M1 consume 1/4 of the power for the same performance.

      • #2438900

        It’s amazing what you can prove if you are prepared to ignore enough data.  🙂

        cheers, Paul

    • #2439691

      As of right now, we mortal humans are in control of technology, not the other way around.  If the day should arrive when AI is smarter than us, then it may be able to control my life.   🙂

      We're getting Sticker Shock everywhere now, not just car dealers.

    • #2439915

      The patient should always be the one to make call. I do not know what country’s medical establishment you are familiar with but here in the good ol USA getting a callback from a doctor seems like winning a lottery. I will takes the AI over the current situation: 10 minute visits and make another appointment.

      Putting a machine, however artificially “intelligent”, in charge of my medical care is not my idea of progress

      Same country, but I have better providers.

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      • #2439970

        Well my last post was chopped so I’ll just say this. If your medical provider  doesn’t spend the time to get to know you and treat YOU rather than what his computer says, find another. Unfortunately the medical landscape has changed over the last 20-30 years… and not for the better!

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    • #2439935

      The future?  The date predicted in this article nearly 30 years ago is that much closer!  Uh oh…
      ==========

      Issue 3.03 – Mar 1995
      Faded Genes
      By Greg Blonder

      In 2088, our branch on the tree of life will come crashing down, ending a very modest (if critically acclaimed) run on planet earth. The culprit? Not global warming. Not atomic war. Not flesh-eating bacteria.

      Not even too much television. The culprit is the integrated circuit – aided by the surprising power of exponential growth. We will be driven to extinction by a smarter and more adaptable species – the computer. And our only hope is to try and accelerate human evolution with the aid of genetic engineering.

      http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/3.03/blonder.if.html

    • #2439943

      What I really hate about interacting with technology over the phone is the fake keyboard typing as the robot voice says “Let me look up/check on that.”.  Whew, so annoying.

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    • #2439947

      The future?  The date predicted in this article nearly 30 years ago is that much closer!  Uh oh…
      ==========

      Issue 3.03 – Mar 1995
      Faded Genes
      By Greg Blonder

      In 2088, our branch on the tree of life will come crashing down, ending a very modest (if critically acclaimed) run on planet earth. The culprit? Not global warming. Not atomic war. Not flesh-eating bacteria.

      Not even too much television. The culprit is the integrated circuit – aided by the surprising power of exponential growth. We will be driven to extinction by a smarter and more adaptable species – the computer. And our only hope is to try and accelerate human evolution with the aid of genetic engineering.

      http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/3.03/blonder.if.html

      There’s a lot of truth in that prediction, but it seems to me that the crash will not be the IC, per se, but what it enabled: “social media”.   Aside from the most ironic term in human history – far more so than “military intelligence” – this has enabled lies, falsehoods and out-and-out ignorance to run farther and faster than real facts and the truth.   I don’t mean actual differences of opinion, which should be welcomed and discussed, but the mindless “if you don’t accept MY view, you are unfit to exist”.

      • #2439949

        One of several things that make the use of genetic engineering less than the obvious solution, is that it might end up producing people that are super smart and also are inclined to assert that others that don’t see things their way are not worth the air they breathe. And be clever enough to manage to do, or even better, get others to do something about it for them.

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

        • #2440263

          Wrath of Khan??

          🍻

          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
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    • #2439950

      One of several things that make the use of genetic engineering less than the obvious solution, is that it might end up producing people that are super smart and also are inclined to assert that others that don’t see things their way are not worth the air they breathe. And be clever enough to manage to do, or even better, get others to do something about it for them.

      Other than the part about “super smart” people, that does not sound materially different than right now.

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      • #2439957

        MHCLV941: “Other than the part about “super smart” people, that does not sound materially different than right now.

        Exactly. Being smart does not mean being, good, generous, tolerant, feeling responsibility for the well being of others, or possessing any of the social virtues one would like to see prevailing in the world. In this context, it might mean, besides other things, also being able to manipulate people and things cleverly enough to make possible getting one’s wishes to the hilt, when so inclined, regardless of the consequences on others. The motivation for choosing good over evil does not come from being very smart, but from having a conscience, something unrelated, or only related weakly, to one’s IQ.

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

        • #2440067

          There are “people” in this world right now that fit this description, and seem to have no soul.  We often refer to them as monsters.

          We're getting Sticker Shock everywhere now, not just car dealers.

        • #2440100

          Charlie: “We often refer to them as monsters.”

          I think the scientific term for a class of people including “monsters” is “psychopaths.” “Monsters” are a segment of these, that besides having no social affection, have a tendency, as well as the opportunity, to cause tremendous damage and suffering: Hitler, Stalin, Mao are well-known examples. There are many more, even just considering only heads of government, both through history and across this unhappy and beautiful world.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

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    • #2440074

      One good hypothetical example of how humans set up the computer infrastructure for AI and robots to easily take over was in the “Sarah Connor Chronicles”.  This was a TV spinoff from the Terminator movies ca. 2008.

      We're getting Sticker Shock everywhere now, not just car dealers.

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    • #2440252

      You can’t genetically engineer increases in human intelligence.

      Most of what we call intelligence is actually learned pattern recognition. The environment has much more to do with performance on real-world tasks as well as artificial testing environments, than anything yet known to be genetic or structural in the human brain. Sorry, Sci-Fi fans, but higher intelligence is not a matter of bigger or better organized/optimized brains.

      What we need are rich physical and virtual environments in which children can learn at their optimal pace and reach their personal best levels. An amazing amount of intelligence is actually social and emotional learning, and this requires face to face interactions with real people of varying ages and appearances. And varying points of view.

      -- rc primak

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      • #2440269

        Most of what we call intelligence is actually learned pattern recognition.

        No Intelligence is the ability to learn, pattern recognition among other things.

        I am on Chomsky’s ‘side’ with this nurture over nature/evolution discussion.

        Would you deny that dogs can be bred for intelligence? Then why not humans (all value judgements aside as I am not advocating this) ? And why not genetic engineering (again I am not advocating this)

        What we need are rich physical and virtual environments in which children can learn at their optimal pace and reach their personal best levels. An amazing amount of intelligence is actually social and emotional learning, and this requires face to face interactions with real people of varying ages and appearances. And varying points of view.

        I am with you on this! Now the very unfortunate thing is, if the parents are not readers, contemplaters and maybe extroverts (I am definitely not) their children do not get this benefit from them. Soo yes I am an advocate of universal pre-school.

        Hope we are not too off topic here.

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #2440346

        You can’t genetically engineer increases in human intelligence.

        Depends on what you consider intelligence.  Obviously there must be a genetic component otherwise everyone would be as smart/observant as an Einstein, Newton, Da Vinci, etc. or be a musical genius or some sort of savant and clearly this is not so.

        Fact of the matter is that even with hundreds of thousands of researchers spending many billions of $$ poking at brains for decades, we still do not know how info is stored in the brain or how to read it directly, as we can with the memory of a computer.  We also have no idea what consciousness is or where it comes from.

        I often wonder if there is a quantum component to our brains, if perhaps our brains are entangled with something else somewhere else in the big universe?

        Take dreams for instance. I wake 2-3 times nightly to urinate and when doing so, I regularly ponder why my dreams, which I often remember for a couple of minutes before falling back to sleep, never seem to have anything to do with my actual life, experiences possessions or interests.

        Perhaps my dreams are mixed up with those of my entangled alto ego/doppelgänger elsewhere in a parallel universe?

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2440331

      Children, young ones specially, tend to take their parents and those they are close to, family, best friends and those they recognize as valid figures of authority, very seriously and learn from them the principles that guide their lives. Some, growing, up might change to a different world-view, but many don’t. So, while this is not intended as an exact statement, I would say that having a strong moral compass and a sense of social responsibility, or lacking enough of either and being instead concerned mainly with oneself and one’s own — and one’s and one’s own interests to the exclusion of those of others —  while being intellectually open minded, critical and curious about the world and different points of view of it, or else being prone to take irate exception to whatsoever does not fit with one’s world-view and uncritically accepting anything that supports it, these things run in families and their closely knit social circles.

      So the main “technology” that could improve human behavior is … better parents. And also better influential friends and teachers.

      Of anything of a “tech” nature being a means to that end, I am seriously dubious.

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

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    • #2440335

      Of anything of a “tech” nature being a means to that end, I am seriously dubious.

      It would not be the “tech” per se, but it enables really bad, but very loud, influences to have a grossly disproportionate impact.

      The most anti-social thing yet known is “social media” and they, and the poisons and lies they facilitate will be our ruin.   One needs only to look in a lunchroom or break room full of people to see all, or nearly, of them face down in phones, oblivious to the actual human being surrounding them.

    • #2440344

      Thinking a bit more about it, there is a “tech” that actually might work, some times. It is an old one so it may not be what people have in mind when they consider what is “tech.”

      I am referring to … books. There are books that can wake up young minds to the possibilities, the mysteries and the grandeur of the wider world beyond the bubble of own family and social group. So being born in a family of readers (that are likely to have friends that are also readers) is a great fortune. This is also in tune with my previous statement that moral and social inclinations run in families and their closely knit social circles.

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2440347

      Elon Musk Builds a Machine to Download Our Brain and Personalities
      Tesla CEO announced he will be able to start large commercialization of a humanoid robot in 2023.
      April 17, 2022

      Elon Musk, the wealthiest man in the world, has ambitions for the future of humanity.

      And the whimsical and visionary CEO of Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report seems in a hurry to realize this vision.

      What the wealthiest man in the world has in the boxes is likely to raise the hair of more than one of his detractors. Above all, it risks raising ethical questions. The billionaire says it will soon be possible to upload your brain abilities into humanoid robots.

      “Could you imagine that one day we would be able to download our human brain capacity into an Optimus?”, Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, asked Musk in a recent interview.

      Optimus is a robot Tesla introduced in 2021.

      “I think it is possible,” Musk responded.

      “Which would be a different way of eternal life, because we would download our personalities into a bot,” Döpfner continued.

      …..
      https://www.thestreet.com/technology/elon-musk-builds-a-machine-to-download-our-brain-and-personalities

    • #2440351

      You can’t genetically engineer increases in human intelligence.

      Depends on what you consider intelligence.  Obviously there must be a genetic component otherwise everyone would be as smart/observant as an Einstein, Newton, Da Vinci, etc. or be a musical genius or some sort of savant and clearly this is not so.

      Fact of the matter is that even with hundreds of thousands of researchers spending many billions of $$ poking at brains for decades, we still do not know how info is stored in the brain or how to read it directly, as we can with the memory of a computer.  We also have no idea what consciousness is or where it comes from.

      I often wonder if there is a quantum component to our brains, if perhaps our brains are entangled with something else somewhere else in the big universe?

      Take dreams for instance. I wake 2-3 times nightly to urinate and when doing so, I regularly ponder why my dreams, which I often remember for a couple of minutes before falling back to sleep, never seem to have anything to do with my actual life, experiences possessions or interests.

      Perhaps my dreams are mixed up with those of my entangled alto ego/doppelgänger elsewhere in a parallel universe?

      You make the assumption that we are “smarter” now than in the past.  Gregor Mendel had no idea what a gene was, let alone how to “engineer” one but in the 1860s he did figure that one could breed plants to increase the odds of them having preferred traits.  Cattle, sheep, horses and the like have long been bred to get offspring that have enhanced traits of one sort or another.

      One does not need a gene sequencer to know how to get smarter people: have smart people have babies.   Have those babies, the ones that turn out to be smart, have more babies and so on.  It is not now socially acceptable to breed people as it is to breed horses or cows, but times change.

    • #2440374

      You can’t genetically engineer increases in human intelligence.

      Most of what we call intelligence is actually learned pattern recognition. The environment has much more to do with performance on real-world tasks as well as artificial testing environments, than anything yet known to be genetic or structural in the human brain. Sorry, Sci-Fi fans, but higher intelligence is not a matter of bigger or better organized/optimized brains.

      What we need are rich physical and virtual environments in which children can learn at their optimal pace and reach their personal best levels. An amazing amount of intelligence is actually social and emotional learning, and this requires face to face interactions with real people of varying ages and appearances. And varying points of view.

      Really?  Gregor Mendel was breeding peas for desired traits 150 odd years ago and horses and cattle have been bred for most of that long.

      We may not know YET how to “genetically engineer” smarter people but we certainly know how to breed for them.   Yes, doing so (for most people) is abhorrent but that only means we don’t choose to do it, not that we can’t do it.

    • #2440412

      ibe98765 quoted: “Elon Musk Builds a Machine to Download Our Brain and Personalities.
      Tesla CEO announced he will be able to start large commercialization of a humanoid robot in 2023.

      This has long been a theme in science fiction stories: downloading one’s mind into a computer of sorts, to make the mind immortal, in principle (or until the machine finally breaks down, the provider of immortality goes out of business, or the annual subscription payments are no longer made, maybe because the price has gone up by too much to be still affordable?)

      I believe that there is a flaw in such an idea:

      (a) This assumes we understand well enough what the mind is and how it works.

      (b) That the mind can exist whole, without going insane, or even exist at all, without the human body in which it first manifested.

      I would argue that (a) is false, as there is not yet unanimity among those who study the mind on what is it, and so probably is (b).

      Mr. Musk, in pursuing his ambitious projects, has been a winner in certain areas, such as building rockets capable to travel to Venus, the Moon, Mars and points beyond. But he has based these projects on a well-understood technology that has been used before and even often to put landers on the Moon and on those planets to explore remotely these celestial bodies. In fact, the technology of rockets has a very long history, invented in China more than a thousand years ago and then perfected there over more than two centuries, as a weapon of war and also as a fun device to use in public festivities to add color, noise and spectacle to them.

      The use of rockets for interplanetary travel has been developed in the last century, first theoretically by the Russian Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky, author of the “rocket equation” that is still used to find out how much of a certain type of fuel would be needed for a rocket to carry and put an object of a certain mass (and weight) in a trajectory around or beyond the Earth. Then rockets were developed into the prototypes of practical vehicles by the USA scientist Robert Goddard and, independently, by the German Hermann Oberth. And later further perfected both as weapon-delivery systems and as a vehicle for transporting crews and cargoes into outer space:

      https://faculty.etsu.edu/gardnerr/sputnik/engineers.htm

      But taking a mind out of a body and putting it into a machine emulating whatever was that made it work when it was in that body, is only something imagined and most likely quite fanciful. That sometimes is taken seriously by some of those that believe they have the means necessary to become immortal, if they just got it right. For them, it’s only a matter of time.

      Besides, how would a world of immortals be like? Where those not yet established in a profession or business would find a place in it to start their careers, when all the jobs are already taken by immortal workers, their minds housed in robots that have the necessary limbs to move around and manipulate things to make more things, or even new things??

      Or a world where some are immortal and the rest can’t afford to be, so to keep society going with such huge inequality of possibilities will require the immortals to exert some kind of tyranny on those that can’t be, to put and keep them “in their place”?

      I hold it to be true that the deepest wisdom about what death really is, is that it is a part of life, so one cannot make sense without the other.

      So I think that, while it is appropriate to dream up, then make real and use properly technology to make life better, it is not moral, or desirable, or even viable, to try to make real one that is a negation of such a fundamental truth. If doing this were possible at all.

      Even if Mr Musk thinks otherwise.

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

    • #2440528

      But taking a mind out of a body and putting it into a machine emulating whatever was that made it work when it was in that body, is only something imagined and most likely quite fanciful.

      You have an underlying assumption that what we cannot do today is somehow binding on tomorrow or perhaps the next day.  In 1900, there was no such thing as an airplane.   122 years, we think nothing of 910,000 pounds* passing overhead, laden with trinkets and treasures from Amazon or Esty.

      Robert Heinlein understood this: “Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done, and why. Then do it.”

      * Maximum takeoff weight for 747-400ER and 747-400ER Freighter

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      • #2440541

        MHCLV941: “You have an underlying assumption that what we cannot do today is somehow binding on tomorrow or perhaps the next day.

        My underlying assumption is that there is no reason to believe that immortality is possible.  Even assuming that it is at all possible to decant consciousness into machines for a start. Which is very far from being a demonstrable fact. And, even if possible, unclear as to whether this would be better than death.

        It might be possible to prolong life considerably, and there are serious hints that it might be practicable, perhaps in a not too distant day, to extend useful life for decades longer than today’s life expectancy, now in the late seventies in developed countries, while keeping people in good shape, maybe beyond the natural life span of 120. Whether people can live that long without developing some mental problems or “getting tired of life”, is still unknown, and how will society function, assuming most people can afford the treatments, with many old people still vigorous, active and in jobs, might require some readjustment, for example of working arrangements, among other things. But it may be doable.

        In 1900, there was no such thing as an airplane.

        As to airplanes: everyone knew that flight was possible well before airplanes: people were aware of the existence of birds, bats, various seeds dispersed by the winds, and even small toys: gliders and helicopter-like. And in the early 1900 people had been flying in balloons for over a century, since the brothers Montgolfier first flew in a hot air balloon of their own invention in 1783. The Chinese, as usual ahead of the pack, had been flying kites, and even humans in kites for centuries, but the large, human-carrying kites were tied to the ground with long cables, and the smaller, toy ones were tied with strings held by the hands of those flying them. The kites flying a person were used as military observation posts, or for fun. The only thing that was in doubt was whether it was possible to fly people significant distances, as a regular means of transportation, in heavy-than-air devices, with controlled flight, because for quite a long time the engines available to propel them through the air were just too heavy for that purpose and the wing designs that had been tried did not work very well. This was not seen a fundamental problem, but an engineering one that someone, some day, was going to solve.

        So there was a lot of work being done on coming out with a solution to the problem in several countries, with prizes offered to whoever first flew for at least a given minimum time at least a given minimum distance, so it was clear that working to this end was not a foolish waste of time. Both problems, of engine weight and wing shape, were solved by the brothers Wright in 1903.

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
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    • #2440595

      My underlying assumption is that there is no reason to believe that immortality is possible.  Even assuming that it is at all possible to decant consciousness into machines for a start. Which is very far from being a demonstrable fact.

      There is also no reason to believe that immortality is not possible.  The fact of the matter is not in the least swayed by your or my belief in whether it’s possible or not.  That is it not possible now in no way matters to what may become possible in the future.  It also has no bearing on whether making use of the capability is a “good” thing.   Humanity has a long history of developing technologies about which the debates about their “goodness” are both interminable and inconclusive.

      everyone knew that flight was possible well before airplanes: people were aware of the existence of birds, bats, various seeds dispersed by the winds, and even small toys: gliders and helicopter-like. And in the early 1900 people had been flying in balloons for over a century, since the brothers Montgolfier first flew in a hot air balloon of their own invention in 1783. The Chinese, as usual ahead of the pack, had been flying kites, and even humans in kites for centuries, but the large, human-carrying kites were tied to the ground with long cables, and the smaller, toy ones were tied with strings held by the hands of those flying them. The kites flying a person were used as military observation posts, or for fun.

      My statement stands as I originally wrote it:  In 1900, there was no such thing as an airplane.   Kites and balloons are not flying; they are merely ways to leave the ground.  What birds and bats can do probably did inspire people to want to fly but it is irrelevant to any human capability to fly.   Yes, people were trying to figure it but as you say yourself, it was not solved until 1903 and then only barely.

    • #2440606

      OK, and to conclude this, because I am not immortal, I refer whoever is interested, to my previous comment, where I discussed all this (immortality, airplanes, Mr. Elon Musk’s ideas) in considerable detail and that MHCLV941 has been kind enough to quote some selected parts of it.

      By the way, something that can be neither proven nor disproven is of no scientific interest. If it is of no scientific interest, neither is it of technological interest. It belongs, instead, in the province of philosophy, where it can be (and has been) an interesting topic for discussion.

      Finally, it is reassuring that Musk is not going to be decanting a person’s mind into a robot next year. From the online article where a quotation posted earlier here by ibe98765 started this part of the conversation:

      Musk indicated in January, during the fourth quarter earnings’ call, that the next big product Tesla is working on in 2022 is Optimus, a human in a robot suit the company unveiled in August 2021. The Tesla Bot, as it was dubbed, would use the same artificial-intelligence systems that helped power Tesla vehicles, Musk said.

      So it is an intact human inside some kind of “robot suit”, that the human will control and, presumably, use to artificially increase its strength and other capabilities. Something like a mechanical exoskeleton or oversized wrap-around Waldoes, only more sophisticated than either, with “AI systems”, same as those in a Tesla, to assist the human.

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
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      • #2440861

        Finally, it is reassuring that Musk is not going to be decanting a person’s mind into a robot next year.

        There does seem to be a whole lot of folk around who have had their minds decanted, into what who knows 🙄

        At any rate a merging would be the precursor step. Cyborgs anyone??

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #2440822

      Really? Gregor Mendel was breeding peas for desired traits 150 odd years ago and horses and cattle have been bred for most of that long.

      Of course we have to ask what happens to the not so smart babies. The dogs that do not make the grade( more up ticked tail longer nose, what ever)

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #2440823

        Yep!  The ethical questions are FAR more difficult than the scientific and technical ones.

        In a way, however, humanity is addressing them – by ignoring them.   It is not remotely reasonable that all the workers displaced by automatic hamburger machines, self-driving vehicles, and so forth are going to find jobs ensuring the machines work and the like.    Even if there were in total as many new jobs created (and good-paying ones, at that!) as were killed, it is not remotely possible that all the individual people displaced could or would fill them ( the “more up ticked tail longer nose” so to speak).  Nevertheless, that’s what the AI evangelists strongly imply if they even pretend to notice at all the consequences of their gospel.

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    • #2440827

      Even assuming that it is at all possible to decant consciousness into machines for a start.

      The assumption that is the most at odds with all we as humans really believe.
      I know that I do not believe in the possibility, said as an agnostic.

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2440829

      Even assuming that it is at all possible to decant consciousness into machines for a start.

      The assumption that is the most at odds with all we as humans really believe.
      I know that I do not believe in the possibility, said as an agnostic.

      Belief is not fact, science or technology.   For quite some time, the church believed  (and insisted everyone else did so also) that the earth was flat and at the center of the universe.

      The only objectively true statements are we do not know if it could be done and we sure don’t know what the repercussions would be for the person decanted (I like that word!) or for society in general.

    • #2440836

      As I have tried to explain already, I am agnostic about “decanting minds”, because this is something we know nothing about, one way or another.

      Religion has been mentioned here, and so I’ve noticed that this “Tech” topic we are considering is closely related to this very old and beautifully posed question: “When the fire goes out, where does the flame go?” Some religions have taught that there is more than one eternal destination for our souls, depending on how our lives have been lived. The ancient sages of India came out, originally, with the answer of the eternal Wheel of Life (Samsara), and later the Buddhists, with the escape from this Wheel by the disappearance of the soul from time and space “blowing out”, as a candle, into Nirvana. None of these has, in the end, convinced me. As neither has the idea that any kind of eternal life (or practically so), whether embodied or digital, is possible. I find this way of thinking reassuring.

      But the economical dislocations and social upheavals made possible by present and likely future developments of our very much material technologies, is a valid reason for real concern for many, YT included.

      So: thanks, again, to Brian Livingston for bringing this fascinating topic up for discussion with his entry in the Newsletter.

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

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    • #2440923

      Of anything of a “tech” nature being a means to that end, I am seriously dubious.

      It would not be the “tech” per se, but it enables really bad, but very loud, influences to have a grossly disproportionate impact.

      The most anti-social thing yet known is “social media” and they, and the poisons and lies they facilitate will be our ruin.   One needs only to look in a lunchroom or break room full of people to see all, or nearly, of them face down in phones, oblivious to the actual human being surrounding them.

      Perhaps this is so because because all the people they know are boring and uninteresting?

      Perhaps some are reading this very interesting thread in the lunchroom right now, instead of listening to what the Kardashians or Musk are saying now?

    • #2440924

      For those interested in a possible post-scarcity future with the capability to store minds in silicon and sentient machines that subtly but effectively rule society, I recommend reading Iain Banks Culture series of SF novels.  Musk has said it is one of his favorite series and he draws some of his ideas from it.

      Sadly Banks passed away of cancer in 2013.  He wrote 10 Culture novels and I recommend reading them in order.  All are available for free at most libraries.

      Culture series

      The Culture series is a science fiction series written by Scottish author Iain M. Banks and released from 1987 through to 2012. The stories centre on The Culture, a utopian, post-scarcity space society of humanoid aliens, and advanced superintelligent artificial intelligences living in artificial habitats spread across the Milky Way galaxy. The main themes of the series are the dilemmas that an idealistic, more-advanced civilization faces in dealing with smaller, less-advanced civilizations that do not share its ideals, and whose behaviour it sometimes finds barbaric. In some of the stories action takes place mainly in non-Culture environments, and the leading characters are often on the fringes of (or non-members of) the Culture, sometimes acting as agents of Culture (knowing and unknowing) in its plans to civilize the galaxy.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_series

      • #2441071

        ibe98765 wrote: “For those interested in a possible post-scarcity future with the capability to store minds in silicon and sentient machines that subtly but effectively rule society, I recommend reading Iain Banks Culture series of SF novels.”

        On the same topic, Neil Stephenson (who is also a technology commentator, with articles published, e.g. in “Wired” and author of books on tech matters, such as “In the Beginning was the Command Line” about the evolution of the Web) has recently published a novel called “Fall, or Dodge in Hell.” Here the mind of a man who was a technology business billionaire is uploaded to a set of the servers of one of his companies, requiring, over time, increasing computer resources and electrical energy to keep up with the evolution of the computer-simulated world where he awakens and gradually increases his awareness of it, along with the world’s complexity, as he lives in and explores it, learning how to exist meaningfully in his new digital existence, dealing with eventual adversaries and allies, while others, among them relatives and friends, join him in his after-physical life as they, in turn, shed their mortal coils and then get uploaded. There is a Miltonian “Paradise Lost” theme running through it, with a picture illustrating this theme in the title page.

        As most books by Stephenson after “Snow Crash”, this is a long novel, as it is usual for him, of close to 900 pages, full of interesting observations, a cutting satire, in the first part, of where politics and “social” networks may be taking the USA these days, and all manner of surprising and interesting ideas. Some love reading his work, others do not, complaining the books are too full of “exposition.” I am definitely one of the former.

        One technology not addressed so far in this thread is that of flash-freezing people by immersing them in liquid nitrogen and then keeping them frozen in big Dewar flasks full of this very cold substance (or just their heads, in smaller flasks, for a cheaper deal) to preserve them against the day when the technology becomes available to reanimate them and, in many cases, cure them of some fatal illness that would have kill them soon after they got frozen while still alive.

        This hope-based method of prolonging life indefinitely until some uncertain future time, has been actually tried, unlike the decanting of minds into some kind of computer.

        The early results have not been too good, because, in the first place, errors and financial problems caused the company pioneering this line of business to let the bodies in their keep defrost, with no good consequences for those bodies. But work of more serious nature continues on finding a way to do this. So far, it looks that only small-scale experiments involving single cells that had been until then living in a culture medium and maybe small pieces of tissue have been frozen and brought back to life by unfreezing, while existing laws allow only the freezing of already dead people. So it’s more a matter of resurrecting them than defrosting them, some day maybe, which might be a rather more difficult thing to do, assuming it will ever become possible, than reanimating frozen-while-still-alive corpsicles, I suspect:

        https://www.sciencefocus.com/future-technology/cryonics-could-you-live-forever/

        In this case, my own conclusion is: We’ll see.

        Although perhaps I ought to have written: Someone else, some day, might see.

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        • #2441158

          This for you Oscar:

          Air & Space Travel Was Once Called Vain and Wasteful Too
          Pessimists Archive
          Jul 20, 2021

          The cynical narrative around the private Space Race feels unique to this moment of growing discontent about wealthy technologists and inequality, but it perfectly mirrors cynical (often forgotten) reactions to the early pursuit of air and space travel, we did a round up:

          AIR TRAVEL
          1901
          George W. Melville – Engineer-In-Chief of the United States Navy – wrote a scathing article about the pursuit of manned flight, he began with a Shakespeare quote that implied the goal was a childish “vain fantasy” that “is as thin of substance as the air”:

          “There probably can be found no better example of the speculative tendency carrying man to the verge of the chimerical than in his attempts to imitate the birds, or no field where so much inventive seed has been sown with so little return as in the attempts of man to fly successfully through the air.”

          1903
          The New York Times predicted manned flight would take between 1 and 10million years to achieve, in an article titled ‘Flying Machines Which Do Not Fly’, the piece ended: “To the ordinary man, it would seem as if effort might be employed more profitably”.

          Only 9-weeks later the Wright Brothers achieved manned flight.
          ….
          https://pessimistsarchive.substack.com/p/air-and-space-travel-was-once-called

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        • #2441193

          Not to restart this discussion but to clarify a point: there have always been skeptics about everything that often, but not always, have later been proven to be wrong.

          The difference with the development of, not necessarily “manned” (think “drones”), but heavy-than-air, controlled flight, was that people could not find a way to get engines needed to move the propelling mechanism to be light-weight enough. Another issue, poorly understood, was the wing design and function. These were engineering problems. Enough people understood that much and worked to find solutions until someone finally found a way to make this kind of flight a reality. The Wright brothers first flights in Kitty Hawk, North Caroline were merely a proof-of-concept, showing the world that heavy-than-air  flight was possible.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_Flyer

          A key idea that made heavy-than-air possible was to separate a bird’s wing two functions: providing both lift and propulsion, into two parts, each accomplished using it own device: propulsion with a screw propeller that had to turn much faster than ships’ screws (and also needed to have a different shape, as the Wright brothers figured out) because the air is roughly one thousand times less dense than water — and lift with fixed, not flapping wings. (A rival idea: aircraft with rotating wings, would take longer to be realized.) Then for the “controlled flight” part, they used surfaces that could be warped in a way controlled by the pilot. So the Wright brothers built their aircraft with bending wings, but later the design changed to rigid wings and control in the tail section and along the rear edge of the fixed wings:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxrdhJanotw

          No one, as far as I know, with scientific or engineering credibility, at some reputable university of government lab, is actually working on solving the problem of putting people minds into machines. Basically, because this is about things no one yet understands. Will someone, ever? Who knows? There is talk of it, Mr. Munk’s, more notably, but talk is cheap …

          This is different from the idea of augmenting people mental capabilities with non-organic implants. This is to say: with something like electronic prostheses. For example, somehow connecting brains to radio transmitters, to achieve a sort of telepathic communication and direct access to the Web. Although what happens when a critical brain implant is hit with Ransomware?

           

           

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
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        • #2441162

          One technology not addressed so far in this thread is that of flash-freezing people by immersing them in liquid nitrogen and then keeping them frozen in big Dewar flasks full of this very cold substance (or just their heads, in smaller flasks, for a cheaper deal) to preserve them against the day when the technology becomes available to reanimate them and, in many cases, cure them of some fatal illness that would have kill them soon after they got frozen while still alive.

          The only reason to flash freeze people is that we don’t yet know how to extract a person’s memories and consciousness.  Once that problem is solved, the freezer is not needed.  When the time to restore the person arrives, all that will be needed is a simple clone, perhaps a perfect specimen grown to order without DNA mutations.

          More SF:  Peter F. Hamilton, another famous British SF author (who also writes huge length books) has a series called the Commonwealth where people wear chips in the rear of their neck that record every single brain activity.  If the person dies and the chip can be recovered (it is virtually indestructible), then a clone can be grown and the chip contents uploaded to the new body (takes a couple of months to grow the body) to bring the person back to life at near the exact point they lost their life with all memories intact.  Sometimes, x time leading up to the death is scrubbed, so as not to shock the person on awaking.

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        • #2441255

          Hamilton’s first three books of the Commonwealth series are some of my all-time favorites and are chock full with interesting ideas on possible future technologies.

          So are the less well-known, but worth reading novels by scientist and engineer Robert L. Forward, some of whose ideas about, for example, laser-powered interstellar spacecraft that, in principle, are feasible and based on already demonstrated principles. (His “Dragon’s Egg” series of novels.) With some of my colleagues, we had some correspondence with him concerning his idea for the “vibrating string” gravity gradiometer, an instrument of considerable professional interest at the time to many of us, meant for measuring the gravity field of the Earth and planets from spacecraft.

          As to Hamilton, he lost me when he moved the “Commonwealth” stories to a time many years after the events in those first three books, with an almost completely different cast of characters and with fantasy-genre elements in the stories (and later with Spiritualist themes in the mix, in other work). I prefer science fiction that has some interesting ideas on technologies that might become possible some day, and also is, as Arthur C. Clark (or someone commenting on his stories) once defined his kind of writing: “materialistic science fiction.” Because the material, natural Universe, as far as we understand anything about it, is a strange enough place indeed, without having to consider the supernatural as well.

          For example: it had been known for a long time that flying in a rocket to the Moon was possible. The scientific fundamentals were understood thanks to Tsiolkovsky and the technology was demonstrated with small, proof-of-concept experiments by Goddard in the USA and Oberth in Germany. All of that even before this technology was perfected during WW II and then, during the Cold War competition for supremacy in building ever bigger rockets of intercontinental and orbital reach, all of this mainly for military purposes, finally made going to the Moon a reality: men landed on our big satellite and came back in one one piece. And not only that: they brought back rock and dust samples of great scientific interest: we have not yet learned all that can be learned from them about the history of our world, the Moon and of the Solar System itself.

          Rocketry and the work in outer space it has made possible, is certainly a technology that has changed everyone’s life in profound ways and shall continue to do so until someone comes up with something better. Which will be quite a surprise when it happens, because, except for some theoretical, thought-experiment type of preliminary work, there are no indications I know of (as I probably would) of anyone “bending metal” already in a pioneering effort to see if some ideas about how to do this are feasible.

          Another two writers of “materialistic” science fiction I find very interesting, because of both their stories and the ideas in them, are Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
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        • #2441583

          The only reason to flash freeze people is that we don’t yet know how to extract a person’s memories and consciousness. Once that problem is solved, the freezer is not needed.

          Of course the question is what would we be ‘extracting’. I am not a theist but… would a thousand copies of me be me? or only one? Which the first? the last??

          🍻

          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #2441199

      Another “tech” that looks both more practicable and practical than decanting minds into computer-simulated  worlds, or freezing people and keeping them frozen for as long as it takes to figure out how to defrost them and bring them back to life, is now being developed at huge expense: power stations where the energy source is the nuclear fusion of heavy hydrogen: deuterium, into helium, closely related to the nuclear reaction that powers the Sun and other stars. This is expected to be a form of nuclear power that is both “green”, nearly free of radioactive waste, and capable to produce energy in vast quantities. As long as there is enough heavy hydrogen to fuel it. (There may be plenty in the oceans, chemically bound with oxygen as heavy water, but we humans tend to overdo things.)

      So far this is only achieved to a significant extent, if briefly and in an uncontrollable way once it gets going, with hydrogen bombs. In a controlled way this is also being done, but so far not well enough to be a practical proposition. Fusion can be achieved, briefly, but it takes more power to do it than what is produced by it. I like to think that the work being made towards achieving nuclear fusion in a useful way to generate electricity has been, so far, very much like the work being made towards achieving a cure for cancer. Both are seen as very important goals and there is enough reason to think that something like that is going to happen.

      As with the powered, heavy-than-air, controlled flight that makes possible the existence of practically all the aircraft used now both in peace — except for blimps and a few experimental dirigibles — for the transportation of passengers and cargo, and in war as weapon platforms, controlled nuclear fusion is an idea that is understood to be important enough to try to make it reality and also thought to be feasible, once a number of things are slowly, and expensively, figured out. This is not something ripe for garage developers to solve and then go on to become very rich and famous on account of it.

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
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      • #2441310

        So far this is only achieved to a significant extent, if briefly and in an uncontrollable way once it gets going, with hydrogen bombs. In a controlled way this is also being done, but so far not well enough to be a practical proposition. Fusion can be achieved, briefly, but it takes more power to do it than what is produced by it. I like to think that the work being made towards achieving nuclear fusion in a useful way to generate electricity has been, so far, very much like the work being made towards achieving a cure for cancer. Both are seen as very important goals and there is enough reason to think that something like that is going to happen. As with the powered, heavy-than-air, controlled flight that makes possible the existence of practically all the aircraft used now both in peace — except for blimps and a few experimental dirigibles — for the transportation of passengers and cargo, and in war as weapon platforms, controlled nuclear fusion is an idea that is understood to be important enough to try to make it reality and also thought to be feasible, once a number of things are slowly, and expensively, figured out. This is not something ripe for garage developers to solve and then go on to become very rich and famous on account of it.

        You write long response’s well Oscar but I suggest you might profit more by spend time staying abreast of recent science.  Your apparent natural skepticism artificially blinds you to what is or may be realistically possible.  Latest case in point is your put-down of the viability of fusion power.  It is a lot closer to reality than you appear to be aware of.  Here are a couple of articles to consider.

        Claiming a landmark in fusion energy, TAE Technologies sees commercialization by 2030
        The company has raised nearly $1 billion to harness the power of the sun
        April 8, 2021
        https://techcrunch.com/2021/04/08/claiming-a-landmark-in-fusion-energy-tae-technologies-sees-commercialization-by-2030/

        B11’s hydrogen-boron laser fusion test yields groundbreaking results
        March 28, 2022
        HB11 is approaching nuclear fusion from an entirely new angle, using high power, high precision lasers instead of hundred-million-degree temperatures to start the reaction. Its first demo has produced 10 times more fusion reactions than expected, and the company says it’s now “the only commercial entity to achieve fusion so far,” making it “the global frontrunner in the race to commercialize the holy grail of clean energy.”
        https://newatlas.com/energy/hb11-laser-fusion-demonstration/

        Further, there is also the possibility of beaming power down to Earth from satellites in orbit.  Another recent article shows serious advances being made on how to do this.  Capturing the power of the sun unobstructed would bring huge benefits to everyone.

        NEWS | April 20, 2022
        NRL Conducts Successful Terrestrial Microwave Power Beaming Demonstration
        By Paul Cage, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Corporate Communications

        WASHINGTON – A team of researchers from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory recently demonstrated the feasibility of terrestrial microwave power beaming by transmitting 1.6 kilowatts of power over 1 kilometer (km) at the U.S. Army Research Field in Blossom Point, Md., the most significant power beaming demonstration in nearly 50 years.

        Microwave power beaming is the efficient, point-to-point transfer of electrical energy across free space by a directive microwave beam.
        ….
        https://www.nrl.navy.mil/Media/News/Article/3005806/nrl-conducts-successful-terrestrial-microwave-power-beaming-demonstration/

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        • #2441311

          We are past the point of theoretical science – we know a controlled fusion reaction is possible. What’s left is the engineering and engineering research needed to actually make this work.

          Can we? Yes? How? That’s the hard part. But humanity has never had a problem with “hard”. I may not see it but my children probably will and my grandchildren most assuredly will.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2441319

          Read the article links I posted above.

        • #2441316

          ibe78675: ” You write long response’s well Oscar but I suggest you might profit more by spend time staying abreast of recent science. Your apparent natural skepticism artificially blinds you to what is or may be realistically possible. Latest case in point is your put-down of the viability of fusion power. It is a lot closer to reality than you appear to be aware of. Here are a couple of articles to consider.”

          Where do you get the idea that I was putting down the the viability of nuclear fusion? I was merely saying that is not going to be achieved by tomorrow afternoon of by a few people in  garage. As it is well known.

          Several large groups of scientists and engineers, some national and some international (such as ITER and JET, the work with lasers at the National Ignition Façility at the National Lawrence Livermore Laboratory) with very serious funding, are following several different approaches (such as the use of powerful lasers with pellets containing deuterium used as targets mentioned in your comment), and none of those is expected to work very soon, because this is a very hard problem. But, even so, surprise advances cannot be ruled out:

          https://spectrum.ieee.org/5-big-ideas-for-making-fusion-power-a-reality

          And

          https://www.llnl.gov/news/national-ignition-facility-experiment-puts-researchers-threshold-fusion-ignition

          (By the way, the first article is from “Spectrum”, an influential technical publication of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.)

          Also there there are several, different claims — as there have always been (these come and go) for all the years that the goal of getting more energy out of the nuclear reaction than the energy needed to start and maintain this reaction has been pursued seriously — that this is soon to be achieved with a new and cleverly designed device being developed by some company or group. So far, nothing has come out of any of it. Or else we would lighting hour houses and brushing our teeth with electric lamps and electric toothbrushes powered by nuclear-fusion generated electricity. But we are not.

          The beaming of a concentrated amount of radio wave energy in a successful experiment at NRL is very interesting indeed (looks like sort of what Tesla was thinking about, but did not have the technical means needed at his disposal, in his time), but I am not clear as to what it has to do with nuclear fusion.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

        • #2441318

          What part of this is not clear?  2030 is but 8 years away.

          Claiming a landmark in fusion energy, TAE Technologies sees commercialization by 2030
          The company has raised nearly $1 billion to harness the power of the sun
          April 8, 2021
          https://techcrunch.com/2021/04/08/claiming-a-landmark-in-fusion-energy-tae-technologies-sees-commercialization-by-2030/

        • #2441320

          Why not? It could well be a solid expectation, although for all we know,  is just a guess. Well … we’ll see. We’ll see. Or not.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

        • #2441587

          We have fusion!! We call it the Sun. A pretty good one !! E N use it !

          🍻

          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        • #2441599

          wavy wrote: “We have fusion!! We call it the Sun. A pretty good one !!

          Artificially created nuclear fusion will need much less territory to produce lots of power, even when that big nuclear furnace going on some 149,000,000 km from us is obstructed by clouds, or during the night.

          One alternative, if partial solution could be to make people (I’m afraid, yes “make”) cover their roofs with solar panels. But that can go only so far, after, I fear, we have started to run out of suitable deserts, forests are cleared out and food-crops growing areas are cleared out to have even more room for solar farms, always more and more room — unless severely applied energy-saving and population-growth control policies are put in place. And, or catastrophic climate change wipes out a lot of people and makes, because of the loss of the means and know-how to implement them, many energy-hungry technologies of today things of the past.

          There is also the seemingly rather far off idea of putting all this out in space, on many very large orbiting platforms in geostationary orbits where they would be permanently in sunshine and over the same place on Earth, covered with solar panels for capturing and converting the solar energy to that of electricity, transmitting it then with radio waves down to collection points on Earth (without frying someone in the process) where they’ll be received and converted back to electricity with rectifying antennas (a.k.a rectennas.)

          This is enough of a “who knows?” proposition that at JAXA (the Japanese Space Agency), as is not that unusual in Japan when it comes to attempting to realize what others may see as way-out-there ideas, they have people seriously going about making and deploying a smallish demonstration solar farm in orbit, one of these days:

          https://spectrum.ieee.org/solar-power-from-space

          (And not just in Japan.)

          Excerpts:

          Eliza Strickland: Sasaki may be Japan’s biggest champion of space-based solar power. But I soon found out that there are true believers in the United States as well.

          Gary Spirnak: I’m Gary Spirnak, I’m the president and CEO of Solaren Corporation. We’re based in Manhattan Beach, California.

          Eliza Strickland: Inside Solaren’s bright and airy headquarters, designers are laboring over blueprints, and engineers in the electronics lab are tinkering with solar panels and microwave converters.”
          “Eliza Strickland: You may be wondering whether it’s safe to send a beam of microwaves into the middle of California. But Spirnak explains that the only concern is how much the microwaves will heat up whatever they hit. He says the beam is so diffuse that it poses no threat to birds or planes flying through.

          Gary Spirnak: The peak part of that beam is less than 20 milliwatts per centimeter squared. So what does that mean? Well, the noontime sun is about 100 milliwatts per centimeter squared. So a plane that’s in clouds, and flying out of clouds and into the sun, will get five or six times the amount of heat on it as flying through the most dense part of our beam. ” (*)

          ….

          Eliza Strickland: And what does he think about the skeptics, the people who say this will never happen?

          Gary Spirnak: We don’t consider them skeptics; we think of them as future space solar electricity customers.

          (*) But wouldn’t that mean that the ground-sited rectenna farms will have to cover even larger areas than the solar panel ones? If so, their one clear advantage would be that the former would work regardless of the weather, because, unlike with sunlight, clouds, rain and snow are transparent to radio waves.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

    • #2441263

      Brian wrote: “Unfortunately, the computer industry long ago became entranced by raw performance as the most meaningful metric for silicon. The people I know whose work depends on personal computers are much more interested in a new chip’s infant-mortality rate (frying soon after startup) and compatibility with systems they’re already using.

      Amen to that. Particularly the part about “chip’s infant-mortality rate” and, I must add, not just of chips, but also of whole motherboards. As I have mentioned elsewhere, the first two (early-model), desktop Macs I used (fortunately not mine, but provided by and the property of the US government) burned their mother boards. Not a strong motivation for running to buy myself one.
      At least for now, the M1s seem to be working without burning, and Apple has made it possible to run many applications originally meant for Intel-CPU Macs in the new M1 ones.

      I do await the next part of this series, about how the new Macs with M1 risk chips — this first generation of them with several components included in the same die: CPU, GUI and neural-network engine, or systems-on-a-chip (SOCs) — are shaking up the way we work with computers.
      I suspect that will take some time to ascertain.

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

    • #2441264

      Unfortunately, the computer industry long ago became entranced by raw performance as the most meaningful metric for silicon. The people I know whose work depends on personal computers are much more interested in a new chip’s infant-mortality rate (frying soon after startup) and compatibility with systems they’re already using.

      The folks you know must be awfully unlucky. I can’t remember the last time a new computer came in DOA or died shortly thereafter. Indeed, my experience that that corporate-grade PCs for all practical purposes do not die. Power supplies, hard drives and fans died, but the reliability of the actual computer is simply not an issue.

      Compatibility is another matter entirely. Unless compatibility is one’s major metric, it can never NOT be a problem.

      • #2441274

        MCHLV941: Early Mac days. Really early days. But it took me nearly thirty years after that to finally decide it was OK to buy one for myself.

        And I was, in  fact, very fortunate, because this flaming motherboard thing had happened to several others already, so I was not blamed for it and was given a replacement Mac, that also burned the motherboard soon enough. Subsequent Macs did not do that. But it took a long time for them to gain my trust.

        As it was, first with early Apple, then  with PowerPC and then with Intel CPU Macs, my plan shall once again be, with the M1 now and with the Mx to follow: approach with great caution.

        In fact, I have not yet decided if I’ll go next with a new “M” Mac, or shall switch to Linux running on a new Intel PC.

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

    • #2441305

      And I was, in  fact, very fortunate, because this flaming motherboard thing had happened to several others already, so I was not blamed for it and was given a replacement Mac, that also burned the motherboard soon enough. Subsequent Macs did not do that. But it took a long time for them to gain my trust.

      This was an Apple problem?

      • #2441317

        Indeed. It was an Apple problem. Not as likely to happen in more recent times. But I have been around for a while, long enough to see this, and so much more, at one a time or another.

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

    • #2441588

      I am gonna say TAE Technologies is not a real contender. But put your bucks where ever you want

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2441681

        I am gonna say TAE Technologies is not a real contender. But put your bucks where ever you want

        Pronouncements are easy to make.  What is your reasoning?

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2441872

          Pronouncements are easy to make. What is your reasoning?

          I guess I have just heard some much like that over the years that have not come thru I am a skeptic of all. I do hope they manage to pull it off and use it in a good and wise way. Another can of worms…

          🍻

          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #2441686

      One alternative, if partial solution could be to make people (I’m afraid, yes “make”) cover their roofs with solar panels. But that can go only so far, after, I fear, we have started to run out of suitable deserts, forests are cleared out and food-crops growing areas are cleared out to have even more room for solar farms, always more and more room — unless severely applied energy-saving and population-growth control policies are put in place. And, or catastrophic climate change wipes out a lot of people and makes, because of the loss of the means and know-how to implement them, many energy-hungry technologies of today things of the past.

      Solar panels are typically only about 20% efficient.  We need to double or triple this number before mandating this install.

      As for food, there is a lot of movement in the direction of indoor vertical farming, which much more efficient and effective at producing volumes of food.

      Run this search:
      https://www.google.com/search?q=vertical+farming

    • #2441690

      There is also the seemingly rather far off idea of putting all this out in space, on many very large orbiting platforms in geostationary orbits where they would be permanently in sunshine and over the same place on Earth, covered with solar panels for capturing and converting the solar energy to that of electricity, transmitting it then with radio waves down to collection points on Earth (without frying someone in the process) where they’ll be received and converted back to electricity with rectifying antennas (a.k.a rectennas.)

      Perhaps not as far out or off as many may think.  I previously offered an article about this  above in post #2441310.

      But given how reluctant the American Congress is to spending money on visionary projects that don’t involve weapons, the probability of this being developed by another country before America is high.  China or Japan are most likely to be first in this area.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2441691

      The only reason to flash freeze people is that we don’t yet know how to extract a person’s memories and consciousness. Once that problem is solved, the freezer is not needed.

      Of course the question is what would we be ‘extracting’. I am not a theist but… would a thousand copies of me be me? or only one? Which the first? the last??

      Yes to all of the questions… 🙂

      In due course, we may know. Until we know, i.e., until we can actually do this, there is no objective way to know the answers to any of the questions.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2441692

      We have fusion!! We call it the Sun. A pretty good one !! E N use it !

      How do you propose to “E N use it” at night? When you have a workable answer to that, come back.

      • #2441873

        Batteries, hydrogen, flywheels what ever.

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #2441695

      One alternative, if partial solution could be to make people (I’m afraid, yes “make”) cover their roofs with solar panels.

      I’m sure you are aware that a LOT of people don’t have roofs on which you could “make” them install solar panels, are you not?

      No, I am not talking about homeless folks. I’m talking about folks who live in apartment complexes, both low rise and high rise. Such buildings don’t come close to having enough “roofs” to provide electricity for even a small fraction of the occupants.

    • #2441874

      With a free source of light but many of these setups are using led lighting which needs a power source.

      As for food, there is a lot of movement in the direction of indoor vertical farming, which much more efficient and effective at producing volumes of food.

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #2441918

      Batteries, hydrogen, flywheels what ever.

      When you have a workable answer to that, come back.

    • #2441919

      There are at the moment 7.9 billion people, a number that just keeps going up and up, and to feed them, some 17 million square kilometers of cultivable agricultural land (1 square km is about 11 million square feet). So to replace current “horizontal” agriculture completely would require an equivalent (not identical) area in vertical farms. Assuming that vertical farms can be more productive than the same area of horizontal ones, that still would mean a huge area of vertically built buildings where to cultivate those farms. Assuming a complete replacement of traditional agriculture with one using vertical farms. (This, of course, is not necessary: read on).

      Replacing entirely current crops production on the ground with vertical farms in any reasonable transition time, even reducing the production of less necessary things like soy beans, these mostly used to fatten cattle, mainly in China, these days, and cutting down on electrical demand by severely restricting several energy-hungry things the world can get by without, such as crypto-currency mining, we would still be looking to an unprecedented and amazingly enormous construction project to be carried out to build all those vertical farms.

      Or by enforcing severe population growth reduction, make it possible to keep doing horizontal farming, supplemented by vertical one to a sufficient extent to feed the world.

      Also, given the kind of world we are making for ourselves at a fast and ever accelerating clip, the hacking of vertical farms, or their widespread failure for other technical reasons, could be just as catastrophic, perhaps even more so, than the ones due to excess rainfall or drought with horizontal farming.

      That said, I expect that vertical farming, perhaps coupled with the notion of fully “green” buildings, where plants, including ones that can produce edible crops, are grown on their outside walls and balconies and roof tops, might be part of the solution of how to feed the world. But we’ll still need “horizontal” farming.

      I’d much rather the way to practical electricity generation from nuclear fusion is found before the world goes to … pot? And we, from mild to totally escapism, hiding from the creeping catastrophes in the real world in the depths of Meta’s (ex-Google) Metaverse? That also runs on electricity.

      I am convinced that nuclear fusion to generate electricity is possible in a practical way, and given enough time, money and work towards realizing it, is going to pay off handsomely, preventing some of the awful things outlined and implied above.

      If it happens soon enough.

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

      • #2441928

        There are at the moment 7.9 billion people

        Wow, I knew planet A had over 7.5 billion humans but didn’t know it had gotten to 7.9.  I hope we can get Fusion up and running sooner than the predicted date of around 2050, which may be too late.  Deuterium and Tritium can be gotten from seawater, but containing a plazma as hot as parts of the Sun is the problem that must be dealt with.

        Post #2441919 is very good Oscar!

        We're getting Sticker Shock everywhere now, not just car dealers.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2442003

      There are at the moment 7.9 billion people, a number that just keeps going up and up, and to feed them, some 17 million square kilometers of cultivable agricultural land (1 square km is about 11 million square feet). So to replace current “horizontal” agriculture completely would require an equivalent (not identical) area in vertical farms. Assuming that vertical farms can be more productive than the same area of horizontal ones, that still would mean a huge area of vertically built buildings where to cultivate those farms. Assuming a complete replacement of traditional agriculture with one using vertical farms. (This, of course, is not necessary: read on). Replacing entirely current crops production on the ground with vertical farms in any reasonable transition time, even reducing the production of less necessary things like soy beans, these mostly used to fatten cattle, mainly in China, these days, and cutting down on electrical demand by severely restricting several energy-hungry things the world can get by without, such as crypto-currency mining, we would still be looking to an unprecedented and amazingly enormous construction project to be carried out to build all those vertical farms.

      A couple of articles to consider:

      No Soil. No Growing Seasons. Just Add Water and Technology.
      A new breed of hydroponic farm, huge and high-tech, is popping up in indoor spaces all over America, drawing celebrity investors and critics.
      July 6, 2021

      MOREHEAD, Ky. — In this pretty town on the edge of coal country, a high-tech greenhouse so large it could cover 50 football fields glows with the pinks and yellows of 30,600 LED and high-pressure sodium lights.

      Inside, without a teaspoon of soil, nearly 3 million pounds of beefsteak tomatoes grow on 45-feet-high vines whose roots are bathed in nutrient-enhanced rainwater. Other vines hold thousands of small, juicy snacking tomatoes with enough tang to impress Martha Stewart, who is on the board of AppHarvest, a start-up that harvested its first crop here in January and plans to open 11 more indoor farms in Appalachia by 2025.
      ….
      https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/06/dining/hydroponic-farming.html

      Vertical Farms Expand as Demand for Year-Round Produce Grows
      The industry is expected to grow to $9.7 billion worldwide by 2026, but it faces challenges, including high energy costs, technological limitations and the ability to scale.
      April 6, 2022, 3:00 a.m. ET
      https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/06/business/vertical-farms-food.html

    • #2442004

      Or by enforcing severe population growth reduction

      3rd rail in politics.  Will NEVER happen.

      However, if climate change and probable desertification occurs as predicted, lack of potable water and limited food growth could certainly lead to reduced population, perhaps severely.

    • #2442005

      Or by enforcing severe population growth reduction

      3rd rail in politics.  Will NEVER happen.

      However, if climate change and probable desertification occurs as predicted, lack of potable water and limited food growth could certainly lead to reduced population, perhaps severely.

      OscarCP is dead-on correct, as are you. It’s only the mechanism of enforcement that’s in question.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
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