81

It can't be done The essence of this challenge is that it's impossible - you generally should not expect to outsmart something much smarter than you nor overpower something much more powerful than you. A powerful AI would be 'controlled' by only our actions before it's formed, by defining the goals it "wants" to achieve. After it's "live" with sufficient ...


73

I'm a programmer, and I agree with you that eventually AI is basically going to be unbeatable in this scenario. The common sci-fi trope is that humans are better at thinking "outside the box" and therefore they end up defeating AI - but that's simply not justifiable, there are programming techniques to work around that. However, I think you can still ...


69

We'd send things by ship for the same reason we do today. It's cheap. It's not likely that individuals, corporations, or governments of the future would not be motivated by the cost savings associated with transport by ship. Unless there is some magical energy source in the future that makes energy free, or nearly free, in terms of monetary and ...


67

Problem: even if you could just stick a blanket over the sun, it is probably already too late. The solar system formed more than 4 billion years ago, and for all that time anyone who was watching and had suitably acute vision would have been able to see Sol, and almost certainly the protoplanetary disc around it and later the planets themselves. Certainly, ...


65

Rats: You do not necessarily want to kill them all but once they got to your house (data center), you kill them. Killing them all is hard because they breed too quickly and if we set up some poison to kill them, they realize pretty quickly what's going on. The fact that they live mostly on places underground, where we don't want to go, makes their breeding ...


64

There are always two products that a human can produce that a robot cannot: A product produced by human labor An employed human In the former case: if a robot is better at producing something, then it will be more expensive for a human to produce it. This means that human-produced products could become status symbols. Think of it like an extension of the ...


61

Earth is big.[citation needed] The mass of Earth is about $6 * 10^{24}$ kilograms. Not all of that mass is usable to make spaceships, of course, but let's just hand-wave that and look purely in terms of how much stuff we have. The Star Trek spaceship USS Enterprise is 3,205,000 metric tons; that's $3 * 10^9$ kilograms. In one year, there are about $3.154 *...


56

If my neighbors' grandkids are any guide, they'll play with the boxes and wrapping paper that all the fancy presents came in.


54

The answer is comparative advantage. Say robots are 100 times better than humans at making new cars, and 10 times better at repairing cars. If a human and a robot each spend half the day making new cars and half the day repairing cars, the total output is 50.5 man-days new cars and 5.5 man-days repairs, 56 man-days total. If the human repairs cars all ...


52

I could see a few answers: Efficiency: There are some problems for which a well trained human will remain more efficient than an AI because we evolved for millions of years to be good at those sorts of problems. Anything that involves spatial reasoning in 3-d spaces will leverage the millions of years of spaghetti code that makes us who we are. An AI ...


43

Science fiction has done a disservice to the real science of artificial intelligence by implanting the notion that a sufficiently advanced and emerging sentient AI would necessarily be malevolent and in need of "control" by its "human masters". We have a word for the practice of keeping a self-deterministic, sentient, intelligent being under total control of ...


42

Karrick breathed a sharp pained sigh as the long, slender needle pierced the back of his skull. He'd flown a thousand sorties, but strapping in to his fighter was still something that just felt unnatural. A billion years of organic evolution demanded that a sharp object drilling into the back of one's head should be resisted and fought against. Almost ...


40

I'd go with the easy answer: International laws. The Geneva Convention,Biological Weapons Convention,Chemical Weapons Convention,Hague Convention,Outer Space Treaty,Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty When weapons become too effective and scary they get banned. You don't need a terminator scenario, simply a historical war that was won extremely fast, and ...


40

Because it's fun? Basically the same reason as today, even now we know it's harmful. The thing is when a child is born in 2100, it's not like they're influences by 100+ years of scientific research, it's just what they are exposed to in their lives, which would be about the same amount we are used to now probably (assuming the financial interests stay ...


38

It's impossible to stop it. There is nothing known in science that we can use to stop the heat death of the universe. There are no workarounds to avoiding the second law of thermodynamics. Many people have said it's impossible to violate the second law of thermodynamics (no free energy and no perpetual motion machines) and none of them were proved wrong in ...


36

Sporting Equipment What are the popular sports in your future? Children will likely play with the equipment for those sports. This doesn't need to change, although the quality of the children's equipment will be a function of wealth. Add robots: while shooting free-throws by yourself might entertain some children, those who can afford to have a robot ...


35

I'm going to go with malware. Granted, this is based on current trends that may or may not continue all the way to the 23rd century, but you did mention most people being busy with better-than-life simulations. Since malware is highly likely to be able to affect these somehow, especially on those fringes where "build it fast" and "build it right" conflict - ...


35

Robots, always robots 1. NASA mindset is to kill as few humans as possible Space is dangerous and evil1. Even tiniest error can effectively kill you. Most of the space program is done by NASA and the west. They have the same mindset: Kill as few as possible. It may sound obvious, but during the cold war the Russians had completely different mindset: Get ...


34

See Star Wars. If guns are ineffective and/or can be used against you via magic (see this answer for other points), then people will look for alternatives. On the frontier. Guns require ammo. Specially in space settings (or zombie settings), ammo (or rather the components to make ammo) may be rare enough that people don't want to (or can't afford to) fire a ...


33

The primary reason melee weapons are not used in modern warfare is range. In the time it takes a sword wielding combatant to close the distance to a rifle wielding combatant, the rifleman has shot the swordsman multiple times. There are two basic ways around this, both of which have seen use in history. Closing the distance faster, or just take the hits on ...


33

I may be latching onto the word "pets", but consider how humans treat dogs/cats/hamsters/boa constrictors. Now consider how much better at managing a pet a computer might be than a human. A computer could have a scheduled task like follows. If (sysdate % 86400000 == 61200000) { try { feed(human); return 1; } catch (HumanException ...


33

As ArtOfCode pointed out, this is a post-scarcity society. The robots provide everything they need, and everything we need, and they love doing it. (Maybe they revere humans as their original creators, and pamper us constantly.) I doubt there would be much of a financial economy if any. No scarcity, no need! Many humans would live a life filled with ...


32

Very good question. Nothing can prevent a patient post-singularity civilization to spread all over the galaxy. Milky Way is around 100K LY across, so even at a slow 10% speed of light spreading (to allow rebuild/refuel spaceship at each new planet reached), most of the Galaxy should be visited in mere 1 million years. Compared with 4 billion years from the ...


32

A comprehensive summary is on this Wikipedia page. If you already knew how the brain worked to produce intelligence, writing that program fairly directly would require $10^{15}$ FLOPS (Blue Gene/P circa 2007) and 100 Terabytes. Without understanding the emergent behavior, just simulating the neurons would take $10^{18}$ to $10^{19}$ FLOPS and 10,000 ...


30

Note: As per your edit, I am using AI to refer to modern day non-learning logic AIs, not sentient AIs Consider rolling with it, and working with AI rather than against it. Today's fighters are so dependent on computer AIs that you basically can't fly a F-22 or F-35 without the computer helping you. If you stripped the AIs away, your space fighters would ...


29

Advances in medicine We are currently spending an awful lot of money trying to cure cancer and by 2100 or whenever you feel like setting a space opera, there is a reasonable chance that we will have it figured out and that curing cancer will be somewhat trivial. When that happens, the negative consequences of smoking don't matter as much and we may as well ...


28

The thing is, we have a misguided idea that people need to be 'gainfully' employed. One of the ideas behind a utopia is people are able to do what they want, this could mean sitting around all day watching every soap opera episode ever made. Most of the jobs would be mental or philosophical in nature. It could be monitoring robots doing specific jobs, (...


28

Is there a reason to believe that programming languages are going to converge into a single language in the decades/centuries to come? As a programmer myself, I certainly would hope not. It would likely be a massive inconvenience for virtually everyone, and benefit practically noone. Different languages are good for different types of tasks. If you're ...


27

Yes. At least in a science-fiction setting, you can construct a plausible scenario where this might happen. If there is one child per couple on average, the population will halve with every generation. This would result in a long, slow decline. For example, after 14 generations (say, about 420 years), the Earth's current population of 7 billion would have ...


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