Well he's not Zefram Cochrane, but...

Point out news stories, on the net or in mainstream media, related to polywell fusion.

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palladin9479
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Re: Well he's not Zefram Cochrane, but...

Postby palladin9479 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:27 am

There is no such thing as "effectively free", never was and never will be. Everything has a cost, typically a combination of energy, material, time and opportunity. Energy is not free nor will it ever be as it's finite, it can be made cheaper but that doesn't make it free nor and there is always a cost. Nuclear fission was supposed to usher in this new age, yet the amount of energy released also makes it dangerous. Materials are finite, there is only so much of any particular material economically available at any point in time. Even if the availability of a material is high and the costs low, there is still the need to transport it. Machines are not free, there is a capital cost required to build, maintain and operate them. The entire concept of "post-scarcity" is ridiculous because it merely waves a magic wand at economics and pretends the laws of physics governing energy and matter don't apply to them. There will always be rich, there will always be poor and there will always be people angry about something. This is the nature of humans and can not be changed.

The economy of Startrek is based on pure fantasy, a starship of that size and technology will be extremely resource intensive to build and operate. Where did those resources come from, what could those resources of been used to do and who was deprived of those resources to make building that ship a reality? What incentive do the workers on that starship have to work? Not the charismatic cast of shiny people but the thousands of personal that conduct routine maintenance and operate the ship. Are they forced to work on that ship under penalty of death? Will they have something taken from them if they decide they no longer want to work on that ship? Will the nameless people wearing red shirts be harmed if they decide they no longer wish to be frequently shot and disposed of? Who decides how much vacation time anyone gets, or what the work hours are? Are the personal forced, by penalty of death or imprisonment, to work twelve hour shifts every day for the entire decade long voyage? If the workers are allowed time off or vacation time, how do they determine which resorts or area's they can visit? The economic questions just keep piling up until you reach a point where there entire society must possess a slave caste.

A much better series was Babylon 5. It actually took economic realities into consideration, and that radically altered the presentation. The space station even has an area where poor people congregated. It was the undeveloped parts of the space station that had basic life support but no quarters or facilities, it was earmarked for future development and poor folks who could afford to get to Babylon 5 but not purchase a ticket off station. Outside of the sci-fi "magic", it really does deal with how a multi-species interstellar space station would have to operate.

Betruger
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Re: Well he's not Zefram Cochrane, but...

Postby Betruger » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:29 am

How about basic resources (any/all 4) cheap enough that anyone (who works for it) is self-sufficient in any/all by 18-25 years old? And if aging is cured, then self-sufficiency (from the social-centric labor that's been status quo up to no in history) in any/all by something like today's retirement age. Conceded that +-1-3 decades is a wide range for us, but not so much for someone who is perpetually 20-40 years old physically and has outlook in consequence.

there is only so much of any particular material economically available at any point in time.
That is a non-equation, ie a constant rather than a varying function. If that were true, it would mean technological stagnation. Which we evidently haven't had over the last few centuries/thousand years.

palladin9479 wrote: The entire concept of "post-scarcity" is ridiculous because it merely waves a magic wand at economics and pretends the laws of physics governing energy and matter don't apply to them.
Then you misunderstand what's meant by post-scarcity. Semantics are a means, not an end. If post-scarcity had to be only one word, Drexler would probably do it. Already without it we have studies showing the world isn't ending - we do have the means to engineer sustainability today. Why would it get worse? It's equally hand-waving to say the end is near... "because".

palladin9479 wrote: Will the nameless people wearing red shirts be harmed if they decide they no longer wish to be frequently shot and disposed of?
Like in North Korea, or under Louis XIV or.. err... Hitler? Hehe. The world is made of fools; and there are less-fools. It runs the gamut and history is better evidence than science fiction. In this respect taking Star Trek as you do is a straw man. Star Trek has its share of good and bad predictions, just like most other SF. Most good SF is probably failed predictor because it fails to see those paradigms that shook up the grounds for said SF's predictions. There's lots of these - cell phones, data storage and transfer performance, biotech, etc etc. The benefits of science and technology are like a horn of plenty, only less so because so much of the total population does not exploit it fully. A tragedy of the commons in many respects.

palladin9479 wrote:This is the nature of humans and can not be changed.
It will, in time. Eugenics will happen for better or worse, perhaps indeed for the worse before it happens for the better. But it will happen. We're definitely not going to stop evolving, and it is only a matter of time - even if a long time - for our natural biology to be reverse-engineered. Even if it happens over centuries or millennia, in baby steps. And otherwise sidestepped.

palladin9479 wrote:The economic questions just keep piling up until you reach a point where there entire society must possess a slave caste.
Robots.

palladin9479 wrote:Outside of the sci-fi "magic", it really does deal with how a multi-species interstellar space station would have to operate.

In that respect it's as "bad" as Star Trek. Those "species" are anthropocentric plot devices. They are no more alien in the true extra-terrestrial, cosmic sense of the word than the limits of those human writers' imagination. Which is puny, in cosmic scales. The actual landscape of possibilities goes beyond our intellectual horizon, just like proverbial self-improving AI so immediately does.
You can do anything you want with laws except make Americans obey them. | What I want to do is to look up S. . . . I call him the Schadenfreudean Man.

paperburn1
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Re: Well he's not Zefram Cochrane, but...

Postby paperburn1 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 12:14 pm

Star trek does have money,as seen by episode where they buy drinks buy gifts and such things, Most likely they have a min dole society and if you want more it requires you to work. Currency has and always been valued as a substitute for one unit of labor. that is basically what one dollar represents when broken down into it simplest form.
I am not a nuclear physicist, but play one on the internet.

birchoff
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Re: Well he's not Zefram Cochrane, but...

Postby birchoff » Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:58 pm

palladin9479 wrote:There is no such thing as "effectively free", never was and never will be. Everything has a cost, typically a combination of energy, material, time and opportunity. Energy is not free nor will it ever be as it's finite, it can be made cheaper but that doesn't make it free nor and there is always a cost.



Effectively Free != Free

Please see my comment where I defined what I meant by Effectively Free. In case you cannot find it or do not feel like looking for it. Effectively Free means the cost of production are so low that the price the producer charges on the market to all consumers is low enough that no consumer (in the world) cares about the price. I choose this definition because it makes it abundantly clear that all goods/services sold in the market will always have a cost. The million dollar question for society is will we ever be able to get its production costs down low enough.

GIThruster
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Re: Well he's not Zefram Cochrane, but...

Postby GIThruster » Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:08 pm

paperburn1 wrote:Star trek does have money,as seen by episode where they buy drinks buy gifts and such things, Most likely they have a min dole society and if you want more it requires you to work. Currency has and always been valued as a substitute for one unit of labor. that is basically what one dollar represents when broken down into it simplest form.

Star Trek evolved their social commentary over time. In The Original Series, the Prime Directive was seldom broken and always restored by the end of the show, and as seen in the episode with the three frozen people from the past, there was no money and all the world's finances had been redistributed by some nameless, faceless force. People were all hard working and everyone was happy.

By the time of The Next Generation, this was all gone. The Prime Directive is broken often and the reasons to break it are carefully laid out. This is because the Cultural Relativism of the 60's had proved itself to be inept and irresponsible. Also found in TNG is money. You find traders, transport pilots, etc. You start to see parts of the culture off the ship and obviously, the idealism of the 60's didn't present a plausible future. It still presents a supposed utopian society that is presumably post scarcity, but you still have to transport goods so many of the costs still exist. Given any cost at all to transport anything, it's hard to know what post scarcity really means. Even with unlimited wealth and production of the stars, for there to be sufficient material items for all human wants and needs, you have to transport these. So the notion of post scarcity as an element in utopian society falls apart pretty quickly upon examination.

Replicators supposedly can make anything, so why on several ocassions does the crew in TOS go about bargaining with dilithium crystal miners for crystals as the Enterprise is about to fall out of the sky? Because utopia is not interesting. Until man loses his need for conflict, we'll have less than Heaven.

There is however no doubt that reducing and eliminating scarcity should remain a serious goal of all people. This lifts us up socially as well as economically. There ought to be fantastical benefits to mining the asteroids. The task is to find the economic case fort this rather than simply state there is one.
"Courage is not just a virtue, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." C. S. Lewis

birchoff
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Re: Well he's not Zefram Cochrane, but...

Postby birchoff » Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:34 pm

palladin9479 wrote: Nuclear fission was supposed to usher in this new age, yet the amount of energy released also makes it dangerous.


That is not why Fission is dangerous. Fission is Dangerous because humanity as a whole does not want to deal with the waste issue. Not because of the amount of energy it releases.

palladin9479 wrote:Materials are finite, there is only so much of any particular material economically available at any point in time. Even if the availability of a material is high and the costs low, there is still the need to transport it. Machines are not free, there is a capital cost required to build, maintain and operate them. The entire concept of "post-scarcity" is ridiculous because it merely waves a magic wand at economics and pretends the laws of physics governing energy and matter don't apply to them.


There are no laws of nature that humanity is aware of that prevent us from having any good attaining Post-Scarcity levels. Especially if Post-Scarcity is taken to mean the price in the market for the good is Effectively Free. Lets take food for example. If we had a world that only had as many people in it as the population of the US and we automated all of the production and transportation of food. I would argue that Food would become Post Scarcity. Why? because most of the cost would be driven out of the system in relation to the number of people demanding it. One could argue that this is a made up world that doesnt reflect reality, and they would be right. However, I believe that example world highlights the real problem. If the world suddenly had access to a temporarily Effectively Free resource I would bet money that either the producers would charge more than is needed or we would simply consume the resource with no concern. That has mostly to do with human nature, where the former happens because capitalism only requires that producers charge as much as the market will bear under the assumption that the consumers have perfect information and competitors are rational and non-colluding. The issue of consuming the resource without concern, is born out of most human beings lacking forsight. Another thing that tends to work against us, is for the most part humanity (from my experience) give up on conservation the minute they think something will be cheap forever. The only time we ever conserve is when it is on the brink of exhaustion. However, a lot of the techniques used during moments of conservation can be leveraged while experiencing a glut. I personally think thats because we have huge holes in our knowledge base. So we need to basically cycle through glut and drought, as a means of completely exploring all the possibilities. Now that we have technology that effectively extends our memory both in a temporal and spatial sense.


palladin9479 wrote:There will always be rich, there will always be poor and there will always be people angry about something. This is the nature of humans and can not be changed.


I can see why someone would take this position. In the mainstream conciousness the only time Post-Scarcity comes up is when talking about utopia's. Since I have not seen anything that proves beyond a reasonable doubt, that Post-Scarcity can only happen in a utopia. I think it would be prudent to think about Post-Scarcity on its own. Which I would argue does not preclude having "rich people".

palladin9479 wrote:The economy of Startrek is based on pure fantasy, a starship of that size and technology will be extremely resource intensive to build and operate. Where did those resources come from, what could those resources of been used to do and who was deprived of those resources to make building that ship a reality?


Good question. As a fan of Star Trek I have always assumed that the answer to that question would be that the enterprise and the federation fleet are not extremely resource intensive. Why? because they have the ability to convert energy into matter. Now to my knowledge Roddenberry never explained how much energy is necessary to do so. But since the show is cast in the future I am willing to assume that the amount of energy available to the Federation vastly exceeds our imagination. Once you have the ability to easily convert Energy to matter an potentially Matter into energy. You basically reduced the issue of production down to distributing matter printers everywhere needed and sending electronic blueprints. That said Star Trek is a fictional universe and has a lot of inconsistencies.


palladin9479 wrote:What incentive do the workers on that starship have to work? Not the charismatic cast of shiny people but the thousands of personal that conduct routine maintenance and operate the ship. Are they forced to work on that ship under penalty of death? Will they have something taken from them if they decide they no longer want to work on that ship? Will the nameless people wearing red shirts be harmed if they decide they no longer wish to be frequently shot and disposed of? Who decides how much vacation time anyone gets, or what the work hours are? Are the personal forced, by penalty of death or imprisonment, to work twelve hour shifts every day for the entire decade long voyage?


The simple answer to your questions is social conditioning, aka brain washing. Most every utopia assumes that people will do what they have an internal drive to do. Star Trek is no different here. The problem is there is no proof that this either is the case or isnt the case. Now I would argue there is good reason to believe that it is the case that people would simply strive to do what they want if left to their own devices (irrespective of whether or not that thing is legal). Athletes in professional leagues cannot get to the pinnacle of their sport without loving what they are doing. Most Engineers and Scientists do what they do because it is what they love. The "rich" people that actually built their wealth got their because they were doing what they loved to do. Personally I think the reason most people dont attain this kind of nirvana is because they either dont know what they want to do. Or they do but their "thing" is not deemed valuable by society; which is a problem in a society where your forced to earn your living. Take away the incessant need to earn your living and people could spend more time trying to either find that thing they want to do or do the thing they know they want to do but couldnt before.

This doesnt magically solve everything. We have no clue what society would look like if every one were free to pursue their desire without worrying about providing the basic necessities. The conservative among humanity believe that it would allow people to simply loaf around and do nothing. I think that is a real concern. But I cannot relate as I have never felt that way. Though I will say that it is occasionally useful to be forced to do something. Though for me I see it as a tool to help kick start my creative juices. Currently that "force" exists for everyone in the form of providing a living. But the real question from my perspective is, Does that "force" need to ALWAYS be their?

Now if you buy in to the idea that people will do what they are driven to do. Then who does what job on a spaceship is solved. The issue of who works what hours, including late shifts is also solved. Personally if I was given the opportunity to work on the Enterprise. It really wouldnt matter what job and as far as hours are concerned as long as I had time to visit the observation deck I would call it square.

As for who decides vacation time, I think self motivated people can figure out amongst themselves who gets to take vacation when. That said every department in star trek was hierarchically organized so assuming an enlightened manager/dept lead. All he/she cares about is that the thing they are responsible gets done. Who does it doesnt matter. So all they would need to do is set the goal and deadlines and let the team figure out how they want that to happen. In some cases you will have mandatory rest, for example I DO NOT WANT A TIRED ENGINEER WORKING ON MY WARP CORE. So that means after a certain amount of time the dept lead would force an engineer to take a day off. In the case of emergencies that mandetory rest will be relaxed. But in the end everyone is their because they believe in mission and want to contribute not because they were forced. If someone wakes up one day and realizes this isnt for them then they can quit. That doesnt mean they get shoved out the air lock. Now when you quit it is standard at least in the US to give a few weeks notice to allow your work stream to be transferred. The same premise holds in a Star Trek like future, irrespective of whether or not your on a ship on the other side of the galaxy or on terra firma.

palladin9479 wrote:If the workers are allowed time off or vacation time, how do they determine which resorts or area's they can visit? The economic questions just keep piling up until you reach a point where there entire society must possess a slave caste.


Well if your on a starship roaming about the galaxy I would assume that what resorts your allowed to visit would be determined by availability. There may not be any resort available while someone is on their particular vacation because the ship is currently between star systems at the moment. There may not be more than a single resort at the particular station they are docked or orbiting. Finally, the resort may not have enough rooms for everyone that would like to stay. This last one is the most interesting. One would think that a Post-Scarcity economy or Utopia would preclude that final option. But I would argue that it doesnt. Mainly because absolutely everything doesn't need to or will be Post-Scarcity. The point is to have enough of our necessities be Post-Scarcity so that human social evolution can move past forcing people to work solely because the basic resources of the society are limited. Once that point is attained and maintainable. Those things society deems a luxury will not need to have their production costs driven into the floor.

As for your other question. Yes we will have a slave caste. Hell society has one today and is looking to expand its capability and reach every day. They are called inanimate non sentient tools. Though you would be most familiar with them in their recent incarnation automation. There is no way we can do everything necessary to maintain 10's of billions of people and their basic needs in a Post-Scarcity economy without HEAVY HEAVY automation. That means robots are doing the physical goods. Robots are fixing themselves (assuming this is a known issue) or simply scraping their bodies and transferring their logic elements over to another body, assuming a physical robot. However, human beings will be responsible for creation and unique problem solving. That is until we can handle having our tools become sentient and figure out a way to live in a symbiotic relationship.

palladin9479 wrote:A much better series was Babylon 5. It actually took economic realities into consideration, and that radically altered the presentation. The space station even has an area where poor people congregated. It was the undeveloped parts of the space station that had basic life support but no quarters or facilities, it was earmarked for future development and poor folks who could afford to get to Babylon 5 but not purchase a ticket off station. Outside of the sci-fi "magic", it really does deal with how a multi-species interstellar space station would have to operate.


B5 was a good show also. though I would argue you could find situations of Post Scarcity in its universe also. The only thing you wont find is a utopia.

hanelyp
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Re: Well he's not Zefram Cochrane, but...

Postby hanelyp » Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:37 pm

The basic inputs to an economy are labor, material, energy, and information. Expanding information (aka technology) allows us to employ material and energy resources more efficiently, or resources not otherwise useful. And allows us to build machines to perform labor. Modern industry, using modern knowledge, makes effective use of many material and energy resources that would be at best useless to a cave man.

As for Star Trek, it was established in a first season TNG episode that there are some substances (in that episode a particular medicine) that can't be properly replicated. It is later established that living matter suffers molecular errors when replicated. And an element known as latinum can't be practically replicated, making it a monetary base. What we see of a market economy within the reach of the Federation in TNG and later times appears mostly focused on goods and services that replicator tech isn't practical for, stuff that can't be replicated (or loses value in replication, like antiques) or requires human labor.

By TNG era technology exists for regenerating dilithium crystals, but that tech apparently wasn't available during the original series a century earlier. Absent a means to repair that critical component, bartering with a mining facility within range for replacement crystals is realistic.

Shift to StarTrek Voyager, when the ship is isolated from the resources it would have back home and energy is at a premium. Replicator use, requiring a great deal of energy, is rationed. Other means are adopted for food preparation. Replicator rations become a defacto currency aboard Voyager, traded for an assortment of services between crew members.

Back to today, in the developed world we're technologically well past the point where someone willing and able to work need starve. But idiotic social(ist) constructs remove a large portion of the population from the work force needlessly.
The daylight is uncomfortably bright for eyes so long in the dark.

birchoff
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Re: Well he's not Zefram Cochrane, but...

Postby birchoff » Fri Jan 02, 2015 7:14 pm

hanelyp wrote:The basic inputs to an economy are labor, material, energy, and information. Expanding information (aka technology) allows us to employ material and energy resources more efficiently, or resources not otherwise useful. And allows us to build machines to perform labor. Modern industry, using modern knowledge, makes effective use of many material and energy resources that would be at best useless to a cave man.

As for Star Trek, it was established in a first season TNG episode that there are some substances (in that episode a particular medicine) that can't be properly replicated. It is later established that living matter suffers molecular errors when replicated. And an element known as latinum can't be practically replicated, making it a monetary base. What we see of a market economy within the reach of the Federation in TNG and later times appears mostly focused on goods and services that replicator tech isn't practical for, stuff that can't be replicated (or loses value in replication, like antiques) or requires human labor.

By TNG era technology exists for regenerating dilithium crystals, but that tech apparently wasn't available during the original series a century earlier. Absent a means to repair that critical component, bartering with a mining facility within range for replacement crystals is realistic.

Shift to StarTrek Voyager, when the ship is isolated from the resources it would have back home and energy is at a premium. Replicator use, requiring a great deal of energy, is rationed. Other means are adopted for food preparation. Replicator rations become a defacto currency aboard Voyager, traded for an assortment of services between crew members.

Back to today, in the developed world we're technologically well past the point where someone willing and able to work need starve. But idiotic social(ist) constructs remove a large portion of the population from the work force needlessly.


nicely put. Your command of Star Trek history is much greater than my own. I guess things werent as inconsistent as I thought.

I do not believe anyone here is arguing for some sort of "social(ist) construct". The question is how do you leverage the technology we already have and the stuff already in the pipeline(basically working out engineering details) to begin pushing an increasing number of resources into Post-Scarcity?

Assuming your description is accurate, I do like the Star Trek outcome though. It doesnt break economic theory. It recognizes that not everything will be Effectively Free. Thereby separating the goods/services in the economy that can be perpetually maintained as Effectively Free, as long as you dont need currency to manage the Effectively Free part (build some Weak AI system to manage supply generation versus demand). From the goods/services that are not and maybe cannot be maintained as Effectively Free. With the goods/services that are not Effectively Free requiring some agreed upon currency to manage their trade.

Betruger
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Re: Well he's not Zefram Cochrane, but...

Postby Betruger » Fri Jan 02, 2015 7:23 pm

This is the nature of humans and can not be changed.
This is fundamentally wrong. On the face of it but also self-contradictory. To engineer IS human. That human nature would have to change for ... the nature of humans to consequentially never be subject to that very change. Same goes for human environment being subject to that engineering nature.

birchoff wrote:However, human beings will be responsible for creation and unique problem solving. That is until we can handle having our tools become sentient and figure out a way to live in a symbiotic relationship.
Image

GIThruster wrote:Replicators supposedly can make anything, so why on several ocassions does the crew in TOS go about bargaining with dilithium crystal miners for crystals as the Enterprise is about to fall out of the sky? Because utopia is not interesting. Until man loses his need for conflict, we'll have less than Heaven.

There is however no doubt that reducing and eliminating scarcity should remain a serious goal of all people. This lifts us up socially as well as economically. There ought to be fantastical benefits to mining the asteroids. The task is to find the economic case fort this rather than simply state there is one.

This above is true and less true in a seemingly same argument.. But it isn't. Star Trek is fiction/parable, while the second half of the above is a reality based argument. Star Trek still has to shoehorn, even given a span of so many episodes, the whole range and depth of human and cosmic possibilities. It excludes what wouldn't be canon. And as you pointed out, those goalposts move.

But even so, because Star Trek is just one show on TV, that way, the universe is inevitably so much greater in potential permutations that it just stands to reason that at least one individual will do things that are never covered in ST. So by principle you can only equate reality and ST in that direction, but not the other way around. ST changes to fit reality (not vice-versa), just like it did from the 60s to today. That idealism went defunct, just like so many other misconceptions (of themselves or after failure in practice) have and will in the future.

Thus, it's not, or it wouldn't be, quite right to argue or imply that someone wouldn't have the opportunity to do some things (e.g. deviating from the norms of society as a simplified or homogeneous whole - a simplification that's required for the sake of ST's medium: storytelling) that future technology would in fact allow. Stories, esp. encyclopedic ones like ST, like these black swans, but mostly the dramatic ones. Less so the ordinary ones as dull as reality tends to be.

Joe Bob went off and lived happily almost forever after, tinkering away (working on a 10,000 year clock or landscaping whole continents or whatever) in his minimal yet (by 20th & 1/2 century standards) fantastically capable, self-sufficient workshop. Even if it's effectively still a Rube Goldberg version of the proverbial Drexler. Even if he had to bug off to middle of astronomical nowhere to do so in peace. That's human nature, too. But it's a boring story.

--
So this dynamic is a lot like trying to unify the macro and micro of quantum and general. The brownian motion of individuals aggregates into a uniform whole, but that distinction remains.

And I still think the long term consequences of curing aging still haven't become apparent and/or really sunk in yet. It really changes so much for humans themselves to really mature with, and for what is feasible or not from a technological and social POV. Like (I forget who) says in B5: we're just ants. Even our delusions of grandeur are deceptively limited.
You can do anything you want with laws except make Americans obey them. | What I want to do is to look up S. . . . I call him the Schadenfreudean Man.

birchoff
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Re: Well he's not Zefram Cochrane, but...

Postby birchoff » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:41 pm

Betruger,

what is that image from? from what I can tell of it it seems to depict the first part of my statement. Is there more I should be getting from it?

Betruger
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Re: Well he's not Zefram Cochrane, but...

Postby Betruger » Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:10 am

It's a depiction of generally the same idea, from the Dune movie's intro narrative, IIRC.

Now that I think about it, I wonder how Asimov explored the prospect. I know he did, at least a little, because I read some of his stories as a kid. But it's been so long, I might have to re-read them..
You can do anything you want with laws except make Americans obey them. | What I want to do is to look up S. . . . I call him the Schadenfreudean Man.

AcesHigh
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Re: Well he's not Zefram Cochrane, but...

Postby AcesHigh » Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:07 am

Not sure how that image fits with Dune books or movie intro, except the fact the guys in black are probably Sardaukars.

As for Asimov books, I dont remember anything about men-tool symbiosis. Well, there is something like that when se consider Spacers and their robots, and specially the Spacers from planet Solaria.

djolds1
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Re: Well he's not Zefram Cochrane, but...

Postby djolds1 » Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:15 am

Betruger wrote:I think I miscommunicated. I didn't mean ICBMs literally, but that there would be so many people leaving (as they definitely would). And I mean that once someone is out far enough, without some local surveillance to keep tabs on him (yes, no FTLC), that fog of war proportional to his distance gives him a buffer to do whatever he wants including whatever I reckon could turn out to be at least a lot of grief to deal with. E.G. a relativistic swarm. Space is big.
No. I understood your meaning. Genghis Khan and the Golden Horde materialized out of a terrestrial analogue of that deep space 800 years ago, and rode down a huge proportion of the known world. That is simply how human nature and human history works. Once developed, tools will not be hidden or suppressed because some people have a vague notion of a greater good; no more than my notional End-Neolithic thinker suppressed the use and dispersion of bronze. Those tools will be dispersed and used. And no fears will stop that dispersal of knowledge and capability.

And one of the inevitable uses of tools is war.

But that certainly doesn't mean we should run screaming in terror from the prospect of better tools based on better understandings of the physical universe. It is our nature and duty to master the universe.

Betruger wrote:And I'm not fearing. First this would have to be more than hypothetical, and second I'd be one of those people to get as far away ASAP.
You and I both. Well, I'd be somewhat deliberate, gathering my 10,000 closest friends to ensure sufficient genetic diversity, and so on.

birchoff wrote:
palladin9479 wrote:There is no such thing as "effectively free", never was and never will be. Everything has a cost, typically a combination of energy, material, time and opportunity. Energy is not free nor will it ever be as it's finite, it can be made cheaper but that doesn't make it free nor and there is always a cost.
Effectively Free != Free
Water from public wells and water fountains has been "effectively free" for thousands of years.

Likely that "Municipal Feedstock" will be as well, at some point.

GIThruster wrote:Star Trek evolved their social commentary over time.
No. The studios evolved in what they allowed Roddenberry to depict. Roddenberry was a pretty doctrinaire/dogmatic red way back.

birchoff wrote:Good question. As a fan of Star Trek I have always assumed that the answer to that question would be that the enterprise and the federation fleet are not extremely resource intensive. Why? because they have the ability to convert energy into matter.
Yup. We almost never see logistics ships. At most there are probably a few supertanker equivalents that pump replicator feedstock and deuterium into the ships via their spinal umbilicals, and swap out antimatter pods as needed, for when they can't get to shipyards and starbases to restock.

birchoff wrote:The simple answer to your questions is social conditioning, aka brain washing. Most every utopia assumes that people will do what they have an internal drive to do. Star Trek is no different here. The problem is there is no proof that this either is the case or isnt the case.
Psychologist Political Officers (aka "Counselors") didn't show up in TNG for nothing.

hanelyp wrote:As for Star Trek, it was established in a first season TNG episode that there are some substances (in that episode a particular medicine) that can't be properly replicated. It is later established that living matter suffers molecular errors when replicated. And an element known as latinum can't be practically replicated, making it a monetary base. What we see of a market economy within the reach of the Federation in TNG and later times appears mostly focused on goods and services that replicator tech isn't practical for, stuff that can't be replicated (or loses value in replication, like antiques) or requires human labor.
Its never even established that "private businesses" like Sisko's father's restaurant charge anything or make a profit. Most of them may exist simply for the satisfaction and distraction of the proprietors. Profiteers still exist by the time of TNG (Picard's girlfriend Vash, Sisko's second wife Kassidy), but they're treated as either daring adventurers or the slime you scrape off the soles of your shoes; or both at the same time. Heavy capital non-replicatable artifacts like capital starship construction and large starship components seem to all be government acquisitions in the Fed, and so are probably dealt with via a command economy.

AcesHigh wrote:Not sure how that image fits with Dune books or movie intro, except the fact the guys in black are probably Sardaukars.
No. That painting is from before the Butlerian Jihad. Those are the computers and robots that were turning humans into animals. That is a depiction of the Pre-Jihad lotus-eater utopia that the Bene Gesserit overthrew.
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williatw
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Re: Well he's not Zefram Cochrane, but...

Postby williatw » Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:38 am

Image

djolds1 wrote:No. That painting is from before the Butlerian Jihad. Those are the computers and robots that were turning humans into animals. That is a depiction of the Pre-Jihad lotus-eater utopia that the Bene Gesserit overthrew.


I get it...as H.G. Wells might have said the Eloi and the Morlocks. We (or future we) are the Eloi..."r" selected (or maybe at some point deliberately engineered) toward physical (& mental) helpless docility. The "Morlocks" our robotic/cyborg "servants" increasingly doing more and more serving us; and as a result pushing us toward complete imbecilic dependency. At first our wealthy elites would probably approve as most of us the unwashed masses' procreation dwindled. Only unlike Well's Morlocks the robots wouldn't ultimately need us even as food or anything else...our numbers gradually dwindling even as advanced tech causes our life expectancies to increase; pushing toward racial extinction. And that doesn't even require that they (the machines) actively do us in; the end result about the same.
Last edited by williatw on Sat Jan 03, 2015 6:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Betruger
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Re: Well he's not Zefram Cochrane, but...

Postby Betruger » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:44 am

But again that's based on unchanging paradigm of a centralized (or otherwise effectively so proximate) population. How do you conform an interstellar or galactic population this way? Even more so if that distality enables the sort of fractal divergence that technology and lack of social constraints would allow, the sort that can already be guessed at by looking at today's fringe subcultures. This very government, in the formal meaning, is exactly what helped trigger the USA's founding. How, given even more technological leeway and an astronomically large New World with no analog to Native Americans, is the future going to be even more conformist?

Already we have a non-negligible demand for e.g. seasteading.

This seems like 1950s' futurism all over again.
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