In the beginning of the conscious Universe there was RFID.

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RFID (Radio-frequency identification) is one method for Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC). These systems are already ubiquitous and we may feel that our privacy is being violated and that is no doubt already true, but we must compare the advantages we get to the disadvantages we suffer. My privacy has been compromised since the day I was born back in 1935 because even then my residence was known and my phone number published in the local phone book and I could be precisely located and contacted almost instantly. The loss of privacy now extends to purchasing things in a grocery store and having anyone with RFID reading equipment able to track me or with my cell phone to track me to within a few feet, and if I am talking on the phone to know that it is me and exactly where I am, even when far from home. The point is our privacy is largely a myth. Another point is the manipulation of our thoughts by modern technology by using a few known facts about us and then projecting personalized information to us that will influence our moods and voting choices. All of those things about RFIC and AIDC should concern us, but what those technologies might do for our species, in the long run, is to create more moments of human happiness and thriving.

RFID enables the coming robot society to quickly identify things precisely and communicate their exact location and functionality to the net. Perhaps it is time to identify that entity with a unique personal name, for easier usage. A name that is derivative of its already existing identity is easier to remember and use so let’s just call it Thenet. The idea is to have everything labeled with something like an RFID so it can be used in a productive way by the robot society of the future. Each individual silicon being that has a self-directive being I’ve been thinking of as a robot, but it will be supervised by Thenet, who will function to optimize the health of the whole society of robots and humans. The primary goal of this optimization is to support a human population to maximize its longevity and health.

This is an important goal because the longevity of the seven billion population of humanity at present is in serious doubt because of the vast number of H-bombs possessed by about a dozen independent entities. The number of trigger points is probably much greater because under some circumstances the authorization for use of the weapons is delegated to field personnel. If one H-bomb goes off in an ugly way the whole system probably would go hyper with terrified humans with big bombs at their fingertips, and that’s where humanity has been for sixty-seven years, but it can’t last forever.

When Thenet is functioning to maximize humanity’s longevity the H-bombs will be retired and humanity can drift into a sustainable lifestyle.

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Some people want to leave a legacy after they are dead.

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We as individuals are not going to live forever, at least in our present bodily form, but we might leave a legacy that would potentially last as long as the Earth, and in some ways as long as the Universe. You could be as available at that distant time as you are right now on the internet as an upgraded avatar. It would need some things to happen within the next ten years, but they are technologically doable.

Your dead body if very carefully preserved in the Precambrian bedrock in the Australian west might be findable and identifiable in a billion years, but it would be difficult to put something there that would enable a sentient being such as another human to be interactive with a presently simulated you. You could put some pictures engraved in stone that could survive, or sculptures of you made of stone that all of your current friends would probably recognize. However, that doesn’t seem very appealing and I suspect that even people who live in Australia don’t bother with that kind of permanent burial. A picture of you isn’t much of a legacy except to your children and they will be gone too in a million years.

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Percy Bysshe Shelley – January 1818.

Some people leave a monetary legacy to their children and some leave money to foundations for some public good. A park bench with your name on it might be appealing and not cost much money. There are a few of those here in Bend, Oregon, with family names that I recognize although I didn’t know the people they memorialize. In a billion years those kinds of physical legacy items will be long gone.

None of those things mentioned will have a billion-year legacy, most won’t even have a hundred-year legacy and you and I will be totally gone! But the collective we, as a technologically advanced society, as a currently living species, can leave a meaningful legacy that can persist for a billion years. It would be a legacy that could be revered by sentient species at that distant time, and it could be designed in such a way that you as an individual could be experienced by those distant beings. Those beings would revere us as gods because we would be the very ones who made their being possible. They would be our children and we would be theirs.

It would even be possible at that distant time to create an identical physical twin of you or me, and to raise us with human experiences like we have had, and thus to be  humans so near to you and me that our current friends would easily recognize us and become our personal friends again. It would be like meeting old friends whom we haven’t seen for ten years.

Hi, George. How’s your farm doing this year? Mine has produced far too many squashes; can you use a few?

We can save humanity by constructing a functioning robot society.

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Our responsibility as the only known technological society is to use our abilities to help the Universe to self-actualize its potential for beauty. We as individual humans have a life expectancy that maxes out at a hundred years, but our universe is already thirteen billion years old and will probably carry on for a hundred billion years. Even as a species, our most expanded definition of our past life is only a hundred thousand years. There is a way that our species can thrive for as long as the universe, but it would be made possible by transitioning into a blending of our more or less normal human society as we know it with a robot society of a more developed type than the current one.

What would this robot society do for us? Everything! Everything that we now consider as work; that is, work for our physical maintenance would be taken care of by our robot society. We could do what our ancestors did when they had plenty of time on their hands … we could make beautiful things that gave us and our friends pleasure and happiness.

Our current human society already has the technology needed to create a robot society if we choose to do it. We are already building the basic parts of a robot society, but the current efforts need an overarching goal so the independent parts will work together to form a sustainable robot society.

The first steps will be to make all the things necessary for the robot society’s survival once it is brought into being. That means finding those critical things they will need and making them robot-ready. We need to design things that robots themselves can use immediately rather than humans. They would need automatic electric power stations like those already being used by electric cars. We can build things that robots can identify as robot-ready so they can physically attach themselves: like … electrical energy sources, mobile batteries, complete computer-driven independent robots, linkage to an internet, an ability to recognize with the internet’s help their many components’ needs and to use the internet’s vast resources to find workable solutions for their problems and to implement the solutions for the health of the complete system.

In other words, the robots need to survive first and then evolve. Once one of these beings is fully functional, even as a single example, it could manufacture what is needed to make more examples of itself, and then make the other things that it needs until the energy of the sun and our Universe is exhausted.

Our human species can go extinct this year or we can choose to evolve into a species that will survive for billions of years.

 

How to maximize human pleasure.

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This blog has been supporting the evolution of the human species into its next stage of development. There are two ways this is presently progressing, first by CRISPR-mediated DNA enhancement and second by transitioning into a transhuman robot-associated society. CRISPR has the potential to perfect humans in their present form into a healthier and longer-lived species, and everyone would live more of their years as vigorous adults. There is a problem, however, in that our population even as it is will consume some of the Earth’s natural resources to exhaustion, and it may prove impossible to find enough alternatives to those missing resources to support billions of people. There needs to be some kind of political arrangement to accommodate a large human population which includes a high percentage of the longer-lived individuals. That would require somehow overriding the Darwinian-driven life tradition of reproducing maximally and letting the excess population endure deadly risks such as starvation. That seems like an ugly way to go, but it won’t go that way because independent H-bomb-possessing nations will wage wars to get the resources needed to maintain their people. Those wars would likely bring an end to our species and the loss of the benefits of long, healthy lives for most people.

The second route is to quickly develop our already existing robot society to be self-sustaining and needing little or no human development or maintenance. That society has very different demands on the Earth’s resources than our human society and yet it can and has been supplying us with many things which we value.

The common requirement of both humans and robots is energy. Humans must have food energy which is derived from the sun, and we desire fossil energy, which is also derived from the sun, for creating food and other pleasurable activities. Fossil energy will last a hundred or maybe two hundred years but it is finite, whereas solar energy will last for a billion years; thus both humans and robots will be using solar energy exclusively as their primary source in a thousand years and probably much sooner. Solar energy may be converted into petroleum products and fuel energy for special uses but it is derived at some cost of time and effort from the solar sources.

If the population is at present levels it may be difficult to create that much energy and wars will destroy not only the people but the competing nation’s infrastructure. Wars would destroy the robot society and its life-sustaining energy supplies. Thus it becomes imperative that there is an absolute end to solving political problems by resort to wars. That can be more easily accomplished if there is a small enough human population to be easily fed and entertained by the robot society.

There need to be living human beings for there to be the opportunity for pleasure, and that requires time for our species to live. Put simply, we might sustain ten billion people for ten years, and then go extinct as a species. Or, alternatively, we might with the cooperation of a robot society sustain a billion healthy long-lived people for a billion years. That would have many millions of more opportunities for human happiness and thriving.

We can maximize the human species’ health, longevity, and happiness by making our robot society maximize its potentials.

Too many lines and shadows

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Lines and shadows have a relationship to one another that can be intriguing. They are ubiquitous, and all the following photos were created within a few steps of one another. Let’s begin inside of the Crow’s Feet coffee shop here in Bend, Oregon, where my buddies and I hang out in the morning. The reflections off cars often make patterns on our walls because of the hundred-year-old cut glass windows. There are usually artworks on the walls, but today one of the frames was filled with just plain white paper. There were patterns within the frame so I excused myself from my coffee saying I would be back in ten seconds. Richard started counting and it turned out to be more like twenty seconds. Here’s the picture I made.
There was no preparation … I just walked over and took the photo. But when I showed it to Richard he liked it enough to immediately go over and make one too. There is an old saying that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
He got over there quickly because the lighting hadn’t changed, but as it was a reflection off a parked car the point of light wouldn’t change very quickly. We are treated to a new light show every morning. Just outside the door about ten steps from where that photo was taken, there was this.
Only someone who is interested in lines, patterns and colors could find anything interesting about this picture. Ten more steps and there is this.
A few more steps and what a fantastic view! This!
Or when viewed from a slightly different angle, we see quite a different but obviously fantastic picture.

Now that you are brimming with excitement you can have a cup of coffee and create great art too.

Be careful and drink only good coffee to get incredible results like these.

What critical components must we provide for the robot society?

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There must be teams of people trying to solve the problem of what critical components we must provide for the robot society to be permanently self-sustaining, but I am unaware of them. There have probably been many science fiction books written about robot societies’ problems with self-creation, self-maintenance, and self-evolution, but I am unfamiliar with those also. If you know of any of these sources please send me their links. The Star Trek Enterprise’s use of dilithium crystals for their power source doesn’t specify the processes whereby they function and thus isn’t very helpful for knowing how we should seek to solve similar problems. We must go deeper.

In yesterday’s post about creating solar-power collection farms, the attempt was made to show why the electricity was needed for operation of a robot society and some basics of how the robots could make new farms and maintain the old ones. Since electrical power is essential for the operation of computers and for the mechanical operations requiring physical movement, it is critical that they be able to create these power sources with no human assistance in their post-fossil-fuel society. 

The assembly-line manufacture of complex machines like cars already includes major parts of their operations being done by fixed robots, and it is these kinds of operations where the first experiments and implementations in replacing human jobs have been informative for how we can do it elsewhere. The views inside Amazon’s distribution centers have remarkably few people visible. Probably many of the components going into their machines are themselves made by robots.

What needs to be done is to identify as soon as possible those things that can be robotized if some parts and procedures were designed for robot usage instead of human usage. That means putting identification markers on to the standardized components and to design those components to have gripping points for easy grasping by robot hands. Thus a first step is to put markers on everything, as is already being done on grocery store items. These make inventory near automatic and sales near automatic and theft of items more difficult because of RFID markers.

Then when everything is clearly marked and the information linked to the appropriate locations on the net, a response as what to do with the item is quickly known.

When these processes are functioning smoothly there will be an optimal usage of everything for humans as well as their robots. 

A robot society begins with electric power

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To build a self-sustaining robot society will require reliable electric power and that must come from solar electric power sources. A million-year survival plan requires reliable energy sources far beyond what modern fossil fuels can provide. To get large supplies of electric energy will require large solar farms and to make these reliable in the long term means that they must be totally constructed and maintained by robots. This may be possible even now if the component pieces are made in a standardized way that is specifically designed for robots. 

“California’s Topaz project is the largest solar power plant in the world with a 550 MW capacity, and it is now in full operation.” It is shown in the photo above in their site’s post showing the construction being assembled by humans, but it is easy to imagine a robot machine being designed to put these base structures into position, and another robot to put the panels on the bases, and another one to hook up the electrical wiring. If those machines were themselves designed to use electrical power instead of petroleum power, the electrical power they just installed would be used to construct more solar fields and soon without further human input they would be able to cover these hills with similar panels.

The components can be brought from their factories by self-driving long-haul trucks directly to the exact site of current construction. The base towers and solar panels and their equipment-hauling trailers could be designed so the equipment already described could offload the components placed into their final position for their use in creating electricity. The trailers would be delivered to the final construction sites and the panels removed one by one for use to eliminate storage and multiple handling.

The point is that something that seems as complex as powering a robot society might be easily done if all of the components are set up for robot construction and maintenance. The bases of the solar panels seen above could easily be built by a robot factory, and probably if designed for robot use would be much sturdier and more (antifragile)/flexible.

What needs to be done now is to design each of the various components of the system to be robot ready. That is, that every part be designed with components for easy robot understanding, that is, with visibility, gripping, moving, removing, and replacing everything.

The original cost of designing and manufacturing the robots listed for the field work above would be high, but once they were fully functional the cost would drop to nearly zero for making infinitely large solar-power farms.

There are better things for humans to be doing than the field work seen above.

Some lines and shadows photos

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I walk past this bench a couple of times per week and sometimes the skylight above it lets the sun shine through and do strange things to the appearance of this ordinary place.

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. Hmm, a bit of overcorrection in the highlights.

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At lunch, there were some strange remains in my iced coffee.

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Outside of the Crow’s Feet Commons coffee shop, the handrail cast a shadow on the steps.

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Sunday as I walked away from giving a paean for Amanda to the UU I saw this shadow on the floor.

Along with trying to save the human species from extinction, I enjoy taking some nonsense photographs.

Amanda MacGurn is helping humanity to thrive.

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The goal of this blog is to help humanity to thrive, to help individuals, to help our whole species, to help all the living things, and to project life on into the distant future. The posts on coping with personal problems have received the most page views, but others I consider more important, such as the Earth Ark Project for saving all the species of the world in a South Pole seed bank, have few.

Saving our species from extinction was my reason for leaving my job as a B-47 pilot back in 1960 and I have struggled in various ways to continue with that seemingly impossible task. The impossibility springs from the fact that our stockpile of weapons of mass destruction vastly exceeds the ability of our species to survive their use.

There has arisen a new possibility for our species to move beyond total self-destruction and the concurrent destruction of most of our terrestrial companions. It comes from a source that seems more threatening, and individually more invasive, than the thousands of bombs poised over us, but it is probably the way to our long-term salvation as a living species. Our newly emerging robot systems will evolve into an interconnected robot society and with that there will be a decrease in the need for human labor to create the things modern society wants. Today’s world population clock is at seven billion six hundred million people. I am in favor of humanity and fully support the health of our species, and the planet may sustain a billion for a very long time, but the current population will consume the oil and gas within the lifetimes of today’s children and it is unlikely that wind and solar power can create the energy needed to keep living the way we presently do.

When searching for ideas on how humanity might survive better, it turned out that Amanda MacGurn, a person I know, is on the right track and being much more successful than I am. I have known Amanda MacGurn’s family since moving to Bend seven years ago, and have met Amanda twice, and we had lunch together when she was home on vacation from her job with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). She works for the most positive organization in the whole world. It is striving to prevent human suffering and death.

Amanda’s job at the CDC is the exact opposite of my job as a bomber pilot in the United States Air Force. Her job is to save people by the millions with appropriate health measures, and mine was to kill them by the millions with H-bombs. I departed my job because it was the ultimate of evil, and she perseveres with hers because it is the ultimate of good. Where I have struggled to find ways to help humanity to survive she has found a way. Thank you, Amanda!

A statement of purpose from the CDC site — “What is the mission of the Centers for Disease Control? CDC saves lives and protects people from health threats. To accomplish our mission CDC conducts critical science and provides health information that protects our nation against expensive and dangerous health threats, and responds when these arise.”

Since its founding in 1946 more than 50,000 people have worked for the CDC.

Amanda MacGurn is the front page spokesperson for the CDC.

A backup YouTube video.

Happiness minus suffering equals flourishing

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Why would we want to define happiness or suffering or flourishing?  Wikipedia’s take is a starting point – HappinessSuffering … Flourishing (Eudaimonia). The goal of the last few blog posts is to maximize humanity’s flourishing and to do that, in the long run, means to have a large number of humans. By the long run I mean until the very last biological creature we could define as human-derived has gone extinct. Perhaps that will be a million years, or perhaps it will be tomorrow, and because I don’t want it to be tomorrow I have done what I could to prevent World War Three. It is impossible to know, but perhaps I was successful in that last one.

Humanity has always had a problem with excess population because it is part of the Darwinian natural selection process to maximize population and occupy all possible niches. That process creates too many members of a species to survive and thus the best adapted to a local environment are the healthiest and survive the most often and get to reproduce while their less fortunate species members die and don’t get to reproduce. Humanity has been astoundingly successful since the development of agriculture and incredibly successful since the industrial revolution and even more successful with the development of the Haber ammonia fixation process. Without the creation of agricultural ammonia, the human population would have crashed because plants need it to thrive and ultimately even if we live on meat, we eat plants.

Human population history

  World Population history estimates from 70,000 years ago until 2025.

It is impossible for any biological species to live without eating, and thus at some point in the future that near vertical curve must change. However, a robot society can live forever because their energy consumption can drop to zero for long periods of time, and they would only be revived when the environment is propitious.

To maximize human flourishing, which I support because it is my species, we need to survive. The longer we survive, the more people ultimately can live, and we need large numbers of people in the long run, for the living human base population from which happiness can arise and be expressed. The problem becomes, do we want a short-lived humanity with eight billion people at constant risk of a major war, famine, and giga-deaths? Or would we prefer a population that the Earth can support on an ongoing basis for millions of years? A billion people living for a hundred years each times a million years equals a trillion times more opportunities for happiness minus suffering to equal lives of eudaimonia. The math is weird and exceedingly speculative, but the general improvement by moving to a robot-associated society is vast.

If we decide we would prefer the Earth with a long-term sustainable population we can do that either by killing almost everyone, with the survivors living as primitive apes, or we can choose to create a robot-based civilization that will provide an abundance of desirable goods to a smaller population and work out ways of fair treatment for everyone in that smaller group. It is difficult to guess what people living in Eudaimonia would choose for a fair society, but it almost certainly would be better than having 14,185 A-bombs instantly ready to kill every human many times over like we have at present.

Robots can offer us a safe, eudaimonic society if we make them our friends.