Random Roundup

Mostly not of this earth, but a little of this earth. Just a normal random roundup.

Also humans.

Fire, watch it burn - from Pixabay
Fire, watch it burn – from Pixabay

Not of this Earth

Planetary rings are incredibly beautiful. They may be the remnants of the destruction of dwarf planets.

The rings are pieces of Dwarf Planets that got torn off in passing, which were then ripped to pieces!

Juno – I don’t care how old this is – is out of safe mode and awesome. NASA is awesome. Humans managed to send tiny hunks of metal, plastic, and glass and throw them super hard and whoop they went out into space and made pictures of planets that we can see (and that we can’t) as just little specks of light. Humans. Can. Be. Awesome. Then again, robots are the ones doing the hard work. Packing up, leaving home, journeying through potentially lethal and unknown space to explore the universe. Didn’t humans used to talk about going out and exploring? Now we just let robots have all the glory?

At least that will be another reason for AI to not want to bother to destroy us. If you write about AI I can’t recommend this enough.

The true understanding of natural language, the breadth and generality of human intelligence, our ability to both play Go and cross the street and make a decent omelet—that variety is the hallmark of human intelligence and all we’ve done today is develop narrow savants that can do one little thing super well.

A quick funny – sort of funny?

Whatever public works is important. Or pay the troll!

Local Robots

What robots have you interacted with recently? Ever? What are your local robots?

I’ve been talking to people and looking at robots a lot lately, when most people talk about robots they talk about they are thinking of Asimo.

Generic robot drawing
Not your local robot.

 

Your local robots might include

  • Vending machines
  • Roombas
  • Drink vending
  • Car washes
  • ATMs
  • Redbox
  • Self-checkout
  • Which did I forget?

It really seems like once we get used to a robot we call it something else and just assume it is part of our life and always will be. We forget that it is fancy. (Hello cars, nice to see you.) We forget we live in the future. That we live in a world where things that seem like magic happen all the time.

We sort of find those things fading into the background. This will continue to happen into the future too. In 10 years will people even think about the fact that they get into cars that drive themselves around?

I’ve been thinking about the Wonder as a subgenre idea from Writing Excuses (entirely worth a listen). We (humans) loose wonder really fast. I went to the grocery store this morning and used the self-checkout. The regular checkout is sort of magical enough. You wave a bunch of stripes of black over a laser and it tells you how much it costs, tells the store all kinds of information like when it was bought and should they order more. When you are done, you pass a tiny little magnetic strip and the store calls your bank and takes money from your account. And now I can do all that without talking to a person? Bag my groceries and be on my way quickly? (Yes I’m an introvert, was that unclear?) But it doesn’t even seem fancy. We want the self-checkout to always get things right, the roomba isn’t good enough if it had to go back to recharge before finishing the job of robot maiding. Our fancy robots are incredible.

You go to the store through a door that magically knows when you are in front of it an opens for you. You get produce that comes from a really long place away. The produce mister automatically kicks on and off. The self check out. So many things we don’t notice.

Self driving cars, space ships, aliens, all of these can be dull, boring.

(Also this sort of unintentionally leads into my flash fiction piece that comes out on Friday. Tune in on Friday for that!)