Thursday, September 4, 2014

I Missed IWSG But It's Okay... Robots Might Want to Kill Us After All!

Hey all, I swear I was going to post yesterday. I got sidetracked. I don't say that because I expect that anyone was disappointed, but because I have an awful affliction where I feel like I have to make people like me. Studies have shown that people that apologize a lot tend to garner sympathy.

I'm so sorry I wrote that.

Did it work? Do you like me now?

Regardless, I stumbled onto this talk last week on the interwebanets and was pretty floored by the talk. The real quick of it is, we're all about 20 years of being jobless, no matter what profession we choose, and also, robots will most likely want to kill us all.

Great stuff. The vid is about 20 minutes long, but I guarantee it's the best thing you'll see all day.*







In case you didn't watch, because you're crazy. Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, I read a book, called The Age of Spiritual Machines, by Ray Kurzwell. Any would-be musician from the 80's might recognize the name, because the man invented the most awesome keyboards on the planet. He's the guy that invented the keyboard that had pressure sensitive keys. A pretty big deal, if you ask me. His Kurzwell 2000 was the most awesome thing the world ever produced at the time.

Anyway, inventing musical instruments was just a hobby, his day job was being a futurist. He's the guy that introduced me to the technological singularity as a concept.**

In his book, he produced a piece of prose... hang on while I try to find it downstairs.

Waiting.

Waiting...

Waiting...  ....

Dammit. It's about two hours later and I just got back to my computer. I forgot that I was going to go get my copy of the book to look up the thing. I did, however, manage to go for a walk (my 10,000 steps per day, remember?) , and eat supper, and watch about 5 youtube videos (while I ate, multi-tasking). Basically, I was awesome.

But I forgot to get that book. I decided to see if that passage was on the interwebanets. Couldn't find it. Shazballs.

Anyway, in it, he had a short story printed, entirely written, I might add, by a computer. It was readable. Not blow-you-away-with-it's-insight-into-human-nature-amazing, but readable. The point I took away from it was not 'can I do better than that?' but 'how much better will programs be able to write fiction in the future?'

Well, I read that a very long time ago, now, in the future, where are we? Well, here is a video I found about that (which does seem ironic, because I'm trying to tell a story for those who can't spare the time to watch a different video).

To summarize, it's still early, but we're screwed.


Fiction Prototype from Phil Parker on Vimeo.


*There is no guarantee. I made that up.

** If you don't know what that is, think of the terminator movies, except that machines that fall in love with humanity and just take care of us instead of killing us. Well, that's his version anyway.

8 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good for people who aren't very good at writing fiction? Now everyone in the world can write a book. Or will computer enhanced books be considered cheating? Like an athlete on steroids? Or cheating when the first Tron movie wasn't nominated for special effects because a computer was used?
The future is very scary.
Ever find the book?

Andrew Leon said...

I listened to the first one but don't have time for the second, at the moment.

I'm envisioning something much more Asimov, where androids are made illegal on-planet.

Maurice Mitchell said...

I do like you more Rusty. It works! That's hilarious to think of computers writing books for us.

Pat Dilloway said...

It's like a futuristic 1000 monkeys typing at 1000 typewriters.

DAVID WALSTON said...

One day our mechanical overlords will thank you for not finding the book by letting you play the keyboard for their amusement.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

You know, the Apple iWatch is supposed to have an app that keeps track of all of your vital information (it'll be on the home page). Supposedly, it'll tell you if you've actually done those 10,000 steps a day. I don't know why I thought of this, but it seemed relevant to your post.

Jay Noel said...

Oh great. So robots are going to write books for us. Maybe I'd better go look for other work.

Maybe I'll assemble cars or something. Wait, what?

Briane Pagel said...

Every prediction of how scary the future is going to be has turned out to be 100% offbase, or at least kind of leaning out to left field.

Sure, we have the Orwellian kind of government spying many have predicted, but we also voluntarily give all our private information to any company that comes calling, sometimes for nothing (we post it freely on the web) and sometimes for cheap apps.

We haven't yet sublet space to private companies or made the Moon a paying colony (as Heinlein, among others, suggested) but that's mostly because we've given up on space as too costly and yet won't encourage private companies like Space X to explore.

I could go on, but the point is that I'm not too worried about robots making everything in the future. For one thing, I'll be dead. GOOD LUCK, MY DESCENDANTS. For another, I'm sure we will continue to have an economy and if robots become really good at writing books, they'll get cheaper, and then eventually we will have 'artisanal books' lovingly plotted by artistes such as the great Rusty Carl.

As for joining with computers to become new types of creatures... I feel naked and unprotected if my cell phone is out of reach. I can't find my way around without it. It reminds me of what I am supposed to do. My Kindle reads to me on long drives. 95% of my television/movie viewing is done on my phone or tablet. I use it as a camera.

If they could embed my phone into my brain and let me do all that stuff handsfree, I'd be the first in line, assuming that they would do it for free, which they almost certainly would if I just agreed to let them collect demographic information about me and target ads to me, which I almost certainly would while also complaining about the government doing the same thing.

I forget what I was saying. A computerphonebrain (TM) would fix that.