1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

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Xantix
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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby Xantix » Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:24 pm UTC

Now if you'll bear with me for a moment, this next slide represents your importance in the universe.

"Wait, is that just a picture a fairy cake...Aaaargh"

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby Kit. » Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:29 pm UTC

cream wobbly wrote:The point being, the odds are short on extance, intelligence, society, advancement, contactability, and coincidence.

Could you please show us your calculations?

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby O10infinity » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:01 pm UTC

speising wrote:
project2051 wrote:
San Fran Sam wrote:I know it might be heresy but i never cared for Carl Sagan. He always sounded too smarmy.

I didn't care much for him, because when he was heading the Planetary Society he was pretty much actively campaigning against manned space exploration, saying that robotic probes would give us everything we would need to know about space. His articles about that in The Planetary Report, was why I quite being a member. But that was quite awhile ago.


so, what can meatbags in space tell us that machines can't?
manned exploration is really pretty silly. sending people to mars serves no scientific purpose whatsoever and costs a fortune. explore with probes, like we, incidently, already do, and follow up with humans when there is a realistic and economically reachable objective.


Yes, what scientific purpose could putting scientists on Mars (with their machines) possibly serve? What could having engineers in space in close proximity to machines possibly do to advance robotics?
If we replaced field entomologists in the Congo with robots what scientific cost could there be? Robotic exploration also cost money and without human-level artificial intelligence is nowhere near as effective.

Eventually robotics will advance to the point where it is unnecessary to ever get out of bed. Will getting out of bed seem silly?

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby EchoRomulus » Sat Aug 03, 2013 11:53 pm UTC

Stuck pixels on Voyager? lolnope.

Although I heard when they first spotted Earth on the image, they thought it /was/ a speck of dust and tried to wipe it off.

I leave XKCD to find some philosophical meaning in that.
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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Aug 04, 2013 1:52 am UTC

EchoRomulus wrote:Although I heard when they first spotted Earth on the image, they thought it /was/ a speck of dust and tried to wipe it off.
I strongly doubt that story, since iirc they intentionally turned it around to look at Earth.
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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby addams » Sun Aug 04, 2013 2:43 am UTC

O10infinity wrote:
speising wrote:
project2051 wrote:
San Fran Sam wrote:I know it might be heresy but i never cared for Carl Sagan. He always sounded too smarmy.

I didn't care much for him, because when he was heading the Planetary Society he was pretty much actively campaigning against manned space exploration, saying that robotic probes would give us everything we would need to know about space. His articles about that in The Planetary Report, was why I quite being a member. But that was quite awhile ago.


so, what can meatbags in space tell us that machines can't?
manned exploration is really pretty silly. sending people to mars serves no scientific purpose whatsoever and costs a fortune. explore with probes, like we, incidently, already do, and follow up with humans when there is a realistic and economically reachable objective.


Yes, what scientific purpose could putting scientists on Mars (with their machines) possibly serve? What could having engineers in space in close proximity to machines possibly do to advance robotics?
If we replaced field entomologists in the Congo with robots what scientific cost could there be? Robotic exploration also cost money and without human-level artificial intelligence is nowhere near as effective.

Eventually robotics will advance to the point where it is unnecessary to ever get out of bed. Will getting out of bed seem silly?

Blasting our best and brightest into space is kind of Stupid.
Of course, it is a part of a long term plan some people like.

We are SO attached to our Meat Bags we will potentially infect the Universe with a Spore.

We do have a Nice Planet here.
Loads of Danger.
Loads of Strangers to turn into Friends.
There is A Challenge!

The photos we get back are wonderful.
Do you believe the photos are Real?

Do you want to be Blasted into Space?
It is an upper middle class amusement, now.

It does not hurt anyone.
Well; Not much.

People that do not Have To get out of bed, Do.
Not all; Some.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
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Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby keithl » Sun Aug 04, 2013 4:56 am UTC

Ba'al? Humbug. Cthulhu - now there's a loathsome being from beyond space and time to drive a thinking person mad with fear! I spit on your puny Ba'al. Wuss.

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby ijuin » Sun Aug 04, 2013 5:58 am UTC

O10infinity wrote:
Yes, what scientific purpose could putting scientists on Mars (with their machines) possibly serve? What could having engineers in space in close proximity to machines possibly do to advance robotics?
If we replaced field entomologists in the Congo with robots what scientific cost could there be? Robotic exploration also cost money and without human-level artificial intelligence is nowhere near as effective.

Eventually robotics will advance to the point where it is unnecessary to ever get out of bed. Will getting out of bed seem silly?


The big issue with putting humans in space is all of the extra mass that has to be sent along to keep them alive. A minimal habitat, tolerable for 2-4 weeks maximum, requires about 2 tonnes of mass per person (Soyuz capsule). A long-term (months or years) habitat will be about three to four times that (e.g. Salyut module). You also need about 4 kilograms of water per person-day (you can recycle your water, but you will still need a couple hundred kilograms per person, especially if you want your crew to bathe), plus 1 kilogram of food an 2 kilograms of oxygen per person-day (or a module that produces these via plant growth--probably another ton or more per crew member). Thus, for a mission that will take months or longer, we are looking at around ten tons of mass per crew, plus flight-related systems such as propulsion (and propellant) and reentry heat shields.

In short, to make human interplanetary spaceflight feasible as anything other than a budget-busting national effort a la the Apollo Program, we need better propulsion than is currently available. VASIMR or ion engines are fine once a spacecraft is already in orbit, but they can't get us into orbit. To do that, we need some better method than launching combustion-powered rockets--either air-breathing scramjet spaceplanes (that can get a better payload ratio than rockets since for the first 30-50% of their launch they use atmospheric oxygen), or a space elevator, or a rail launcher, or something.

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby addams » Sun Aug 04, 2013 2:48 pm UTC

I think the Man was right.
Our Machines can go.

Yes. We may be sending Human Life out there as a last ditch effort.

For what we want. Machines can do The Job.
The machines will not Look at the Photo and Look into the dark, star filled Void and Think.

Maybe. (say this in Dr. Sagan's voice)
Maybe one day we will sand Shoulder to Shoulder,
Hand in Hand in love and gratitude with our Machines and gaze into The Night Sky.

(Say This in Double Time using My Voice)
That is a pretty lofty Goal for a bunch of Dick Weeds that don't stand Shoulder to Shoulder,
Hand in Hand in love and gratitude with others of our Own Kind. People!
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby Todesengelchen » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:49 pm UTC

I can't help but think about this song:

Mantus - Baal
Spoiler:
Ein großes Lichtermeer glänzt zwischen Beton und Stahl
Dort wo sich niemand kennt, nur erfreut am Opfermahl
Gewalt dröhnt durch die Straßen, die Kinder schreien wild
Die Nacht kann nicht betäuben, weil nichts die Sehnsucht stillt

Und er schleudert aus der Faust heiße Asche auf die Stadt
Und er frisst sich an der Scham und der Not der Menschen satt
Sie versinken in der Glut, wo die Sünde ewig lockt
Und sie beten noch auf Knien zu dem großen Antigott

Turmhohe Glasgebäude erbrechen süßes Gift
Ein letztes, totes Lachen, verschmiert von Lippenstift
Hier kennt man keine Mitte, der Träumer keinen Schlaf
Und nur der Rachedämon, der weiterleben darf


My take on a translation:
Spoiler:
A great sea of light shines between concrete and steel
There, were all are strangers, only enjoying the sacrificial meal
Violence sounds through the streets, children cry out loud
The night can not daze, as nothing sates their desire

And he tosses from his fist hot ashes towards town
And he feasts upon men's shame and misery
They drown in the blaze, where sin ever lures
And even on their knees they pray to the great anti-god

Towering glasshouses vomit sweet poisons
A last, dead laughter, smeared with lipstick
Here there is no center, no sleep for the dreamer
And only the angel of vengeance may live on

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby keithl » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:53 pm UTC

Many consider Spaceship Earth oversupplied with people. There are 7 billion of us, supported by about 1 thousand billion tons of biomass, 5 million billion tons of atmosphere, and 1.4 billion billion tons of ocean. If one person needs more than 140 tons of biomass, 700 thousand tons of atmosphere, and 200 million tons of ocean to live sustainably here, is there something about zero gravity and vacuum that makes living in space less resource intensive?

There just might be. Implausible, but not as implausible as magic rocks that light up and think, like the ones in front of me right now. The result of a highly implausible chain of events, including screw lathes, photography, the first radio ad, WW2 strategic bombing, a Japanese calculator, and hundreds of other essential, seemingly unrelated events.

Perhaps we can thrive in space, or on Mars/Phobos, with far less than the bare minimum here on Earth. If so, we can thrive with far less on Spaceship Earth, too. Like most "unknown unknowns", we really won't know until we do a lot of looking. Our long term survival on Earth probably requires massive amounts of extreme genetic engineering, and I prefer that we do the human guinea pig tests a long way away, in a gravity well uncoupled from Earth's, in an atmosphere inimical to earth life.

Moving a ton from Earth to Phobos with perfect efficiency requires about 100 gigajoules, 30 thousand kilowatt hours. We don't know how to do that, yet. That is 30 femtoseconds of total solar output. We don't know how to capture that, yet. Lots we don't know. Some we can learn by getting a lot better at sending robots. Some we may only learn by trying to send people. We don't know that yet, either. Different explorations discover different things. We do know that.

We do know we have lots to learn, and we must be fiendishly clever, not merely write big government checks. Maybe we can't be that clever. Maybe we will keep using our inadequate cleverness to destroy the planet and each other. But we won't do something else until we try something else.

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby speising » Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:50 pm UTC

keithl wrote:Many consider Spaceship Earth oversupplied with people. There are 7 billion of us, supported by about 1 thousand billion tons of biomass, 5 million billion tons of atmosphere, and 1.4 billion billion tons of ocean. If one person needs more than 140 tons of biomass, 700 thousand tons of atmosphere, and 200 million tons of ocean to live sustainably here, is there something about zero gravity and vacuum that makes living in space less resource intensive?

that's an odd calculation. only a tyny amount of earths resources is actually required to sustain humans. the overwhelming majority sustains other animals or plants. we could comfortaby supply a lot more people if we were efficient about it and were willing to loose a few creature comforts.

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby colonel_hack » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:14 am UTC

San Fran Sam wrote:I know it might be heresy but i never cared for Carl Sagan. He always sounded too smarmy.

I once mentioned metalogic in Sagan's presence. He told me (in a raised voice & with pointed finger) "Look, there are no real mathematicians working on that."

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:59 am UTC

keithl wrote:Moving a ton from Earth to Phobos with perfect efficiency requires about 100 gigajoules, 30 thousand kilowatt hours.
So about $2.50 per kg at residential electricity rates.

Not bad at all.
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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby ijuin » Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:48 am UTC

The main limit on population on Earth right now is not the lack of resources or food per se--we are already growing about 150% of the food that the current population actually needs, and we could conceivably double that if we stopped caring about preserving wilderness or about flooding the market and driving prices down. Water supplies as well would go farther than they currently do if farmers would use drip irrigation instead of just flooding their fields to water them (though installing such systems costs money).

The current limit that we are facing (global warming, pollution, etc.) is mainly a limit on our casual dumping of waste products--since about World War Two, we have been producing waste faster than the environment can absorb it and break it down, especially with plastics and other non-biodegradable materials. We currently have the technology to reduce our emissions, but it costs a lot more money at present to capture carbon dioxide, etc. than to simply dump it into the air, and major polluters are throwing their economic and political weight around to prevent the loss of their "free" license to dump (e.g. fighting against taxing emissions).

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby EchoRomulus » Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:58 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
keithl wrote:Moving a ton from Earth to Phobos with perfect efficiency requires about 100 gigajoules, 30 thousand kilowatt hours.
So about $2.50 per kg at residential electricity rates.

Not bad at all.


What we need is a space gun. A gun that kills space and runs on residential electricity.

We have that technology. Why don't we use it?

Rich people can have pods made up that look like actual bullets for coolness points.
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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:26 am UTC

keithl wrote:There just might be. Implausible, but not as implausible as magic rocks that light up and think, like the ones in front of me right now. The result of a highly implausible chain of events, including screw lathes, photography, the first radio ad, WW2 strategic bombing, a Japanese calculator, and hundreds of other essential, seemingly unrelated events.

I think I've not seen this episode - I only saw the 1978 series. How do lathes get involved?
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby EchoRomulus » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:01 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:
keithl wrote:There just might be. Implausible, but not as implausible as magic rocks that light up and think, like the ones in front of me right now. The result of a highly implausible chain of events, including screw lathes, photography, the first radio ad, WW2 strategic bombing, a Japanese calculator, and hundreds of other essential, seemingly unrelated events.

I think I've not seen this episode - I only saw the 1978 series. How do lathes get involved?


Did you just work a doctor who reference in here?
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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby arthurd006_5 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:10 am UTC

keithl wrote:We do know we have lots to learn, and we must be fiendishly clever, not merely write big government checks. Maybe we can't be that clever. Maybe we will keep using our inadequate cleverness to destroy the planet and each other. But we won't do something else until we try something else.

The traditional pattern for a collapsing society is that the elites retreat into a walled garden. We could well be on track, and the NSA, etc, could well be part of the wall.

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:55 pm UTC

EchoRomulus wrote:
Copper Bezel wrote:
keithl wrote:There just might be. Implausible, but not as implausible as magic rocks that light up and think, like the ones in front of me right now. The result of a highly implausible chain of events, including screw lathes, photography, the first radio ad, WW2 strategic bombing, a Japanese calculator, and hundreds of other essential, seemingly unrelated events.

I think I've not seen this episode - I only saw the 1978 series. How do lathes get involved?


Did you just work a doctor who reference in here?

No, just James Burke's Connections.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby EchoRomulus » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:26 pm UTC

Our society won't collapse. As the kingpin said in Spiderman the animated series;

"There is no profit in the destruction of the world! It is very bad for business."
"In here life is beautiful." --Cabaret

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby Kit. » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:18 pm UTC

EchoRomulus wrote:Our society won't collapse. As the kingpin said in Spiderman the animated series;

"There is no profit in the destruction of the world! It is very bad for business."

You seem to overestimate the cleverness of greed.

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby ijuin » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:42 am UTC

Xantix wrote:Now if you'll bear with me for a moment, this next slide represents your importance in the universe.

"Wait, is that just a picture a fairy cake...Aaaargh"


I know that this is a "Hitchhiker's Guide" reference (having read the books), but I don't think I've ever actually seen fairy cake--or else it must be called something different in California than in Britain. What sort of cake is it?

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:54 am UTC

That's apparently what Brits call cupcakes.
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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby ijuin » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:56 am UTC

Ok, I was wondering if it was a particular variety of cake material (such as what we Yanks call Angel Food).

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby EchoRomulus » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:36 pm UTC

Fairycake I'm pretty sure is not an actual cake, but a kind of insult. Like calling someone a pussy.
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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby addams » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:06 am UTC

EchoRomulus wrote:Fairycake I'm pretty sure is not an actual cake, but a kind of insult. Like calling someone a pussy.

oh, dear;
reading this is making me hungry.
Fairycakes and pussy? jeeze.
One man's insult....
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby mathmannix » Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:06 pm UTC

Huh, cupcakes. Interesting... I always thought (after reading LTU&E) that "fairy cake" meant wafer cookies. Not sure why I thought this, though.
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby addams » Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:25 pm UTC

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPH4LRASWbo

There may be help from above.
If you believe we are lost in a void.
It is ok with me.

Spoiler:
Together we are in Bad Company?

The one thing I have some control over is who I am.
I don't want to be bad company. You?

I read a book on Etiquette. I need to practice.
oh, dear. What book did 'They' read?
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby neremanth » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:23 pm UTC

Fairy cakes (in the UK) are definitely a type of cake rather than an insult. (I'm not saying no-one's ever used the term as an insult, but it's certainly not in widespread use). They can either, as gmalivuk says, refer to cupcakes in general, or specifically to a cupcake where part of the domed top has been sliced horizontally to create a flat surface before icing, then the portion removed cut in half and the resulting pieces stuck back on top at an angle to form 'wings'. (If memory serves correctly, from what I recall of parties when I was little, the latter could alternatively be referred to as an angel cake or a butterfly cake).

I definitely hear 'cupcake' more often than 'fairy cake' nowadays, whereas the opposite was true when I was of children's party age in the 1980s. American influence I guess? Certainly in all the discussion of the fairly recent trend of boutique little cake shops for adults (which I think came from the US?) they've been described as cupcakes rather than fairy cakes. There's a shop not far from where I work that calls itself a 'cupcakery'.

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby EchoRomulus » Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:43 am UTC

neremanth wrote:Fairy cakes (in the UK) are definitely a type of cake rather than an insult. (I'm not saying no-one's ever used the term as an insult, but it's certainly not in widespread use).


The 1970s Britcom "Are You Being Served" featured 'Mr. Humphreys' who was often referred to as a "fairycake" by his co-workers in an insulting manner, example:

"I thought you swore not to harm no living animal!"

"They didn't say anything about fairycakes!"
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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby bmonk » Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:53 pm UTC

O10infinity wrote:
speising wrote:
project2051 wrote:
San Fran Sam wrote:I know it might be heresy but i never cared for Carl Sagan. He always sounded too smarmy.

I didn't care much for him, because when he was heading the Planetary Society he was pretty much actively campaigning against manned space exploration, saying that robotic probes would give us everything we would need to know about space. His articles about that in The Planetary Report, was why I quite being a member. But that was quite awhile ago.


so, what can meatbags in space tell us that machines can't?
manned exploration is really pretty silly. sending people to mars serves no scientific purpose whatsoever and costs a fortune. explore with probes, like we, incidently, already do, and follow up with humans when there is a realistic and economically reachable objective.


Yes, what scientific purpose could putting scientists on Mars (with their machines) possibly serve? What could having engineers in space in close proximity to machines possibly do to advance robotics?
If we replaced field entomologists in the Congo with robots what scientific cost could there be? Robotic exploration also cost money and without human-level artificial intelligence is nowhere near as effective.

Eventually robotics will advance to the point where it is unnecessary to ever get out of bed. Will getting out of bed seem silly?

Reminds me of "With Folded Hands" by Jack Williamson--the robots' Prime Directive was ''to serve and obey and guard men from harm". Which left men (and women) with nothing useful to do.
Having become a Wizard on n.p. 2183, the Yellow Piggy retroactively appointed his honorable self a Temporal Wizardly Piggy on n.p.1488, not to be effective until n.p. 2183, thereby avoiding a partial temporal paradox. Since he couldn't afford two philosophical PhDs to rule on the title.

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Re: 1246: "Pale Blue Dot"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:01 pm UTC

Reminds me of the backstory of Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life. TL;DR: Mankind has a happy fat and sated extinction because robots do everything better than humans, including the things humans would normally do to reproduce. Robots inherit the world and keep running it better than we ever did.
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