bogglingsnog t1_je62pt1 wrote

I too was seduced by utopian visions of the future, the problem is that so many have to fly in the face of laws of nature and physics in order to make them possible.

My personal vision is more pragmatic these days, I have thought a lot about what makes capitalism bad and ultimately it is the sacrifices made to the solution in order to sustain the problem so the "solution" can continue to be profitable. Planned obsolescence, weak or fragile material choice, subscription plans to permanent goods, reducing or making repair impossible, and simply making products that don't adequately solve the problem (example: Oxo used to make amazing cooking tools, now half of the stuff I buy from them breaks within the first year of use, forcing me to look elsewhere).

A replicator would be an amazing technology to develop, but physics prevents it from ever being useful. A matter assembler more like what is seen in the book Diamond Age is far more likely to be seen in the future, as it relies on the same principles that make 3D printers practical.

Just because a society is more advanced and has access to more energy, doesn't mean the society will automatically waste more energy. Especially when adopting new technology means using a hundred thousand to a million times more energy to do the same thing as something more primitive (and safer, and lower maintenance!)

I think the most ideal future will be full of low cost, high utility items that everyone can own in the quantities they need to go about their lives, and focus on self development much like Star Trek. We don't need spaceships, sonic showers, holodecks, or replicators to achieve a healthy lifestyle for everyone, especially with increasing automation. Using as little energy as possible means as much energy as possible is available - meaning scarcity is minimized. We have to learn not to fight over the remaining scraps.

The deepest problems for us are societal - we are not distributing the efforts of our labor equally among our people, and that creates a sort of population senescence that reduces the fruits that society produces - we won't find that amazing garage band (or similarly culturally enriching thing) because they are all stuck working 9-5 jobs that society doesn't even need in the first place, instead we could install self-cleaning bathrooms and fully automated fast food and have 1 repairman in place of 30 workers, meaning we have effectively multiplied the productivity by 30x. The wisdom of the older generations should not be wasted on low-skilled jobs they are forced to work instead of retiring (unless they want to work, of course).

We absolutely have to reduce income disparity and take care of those who cannot work. We should house the homeless, heal the sick, and make sure everyone is connected to good people around them so we can all maintain good mental health. I think we can go a long ways towards improving these things with a combination of practical solutions, good design, and stop focusing solely on how much income we're getting from these things.


bogglingsnog t1_jcgw0zc wrote

No we do not need to shovel all existing web content to Microsoft, Apple, and other tech hypergiants. A lot of what the article said feels true but I completely disagree with their conclusions.

What we really need are the digital equivalent of public libraries, not locking things behind corporate paywall subscriptions.

Edit: If there is any conclusion we can draw from the last decade of TV/movie subscription plans is that the controlling companies are not always the best curators of content.


bogglingsnog t1_jcec9da wrote

I have a growing sensation that AI automation/optimization/outsourced intelligence is one of the strongest candidates for the great filter, seeing how efficiently government overlooks the common person it would likely be greatly enhanced by automation. Teach the system to govern and it will do whatever it can to enhance its results...


bogglingsnog t1_ja2cgc2 wrote

Designing for lowest common denominator is a terrible constraint to start with on software. There's no reason they couldn't have a simplified view and a complete view, or a gradient made by various adjustable graphics settings, it just doesn't justify the sacrifices made.

It wasn't creative, and it felt like the lack of visuals made it that much more obvious. If it was designed really well it looking like a Wii game would not have been an issue - obviously Wii games have been quite successful.

I know I'd have a hard time recommending some business software that looks like playing Wii Sports, so they did themselves injustice in that arena too. Should have gone with something more minimalist and professional.

To reiterate, my primary issue and concern is the lack of vision and creativity.


bogglingsnog t1_j9ctc6t wrote

That link you provided made an enormous claim, that an interferometer NASA is building can generate a warp bubble, with no direct source provided.

It would be nice if humanity could prepare for nascent technologies before they transform society, that would be an amazing technology in itself!


bogglingsnog t1_j9c0vgj wrote

Personally I think it's just as important for everyone to know sci-fi concepts as real world concepts, because it's all part of a unified conceptual language we use to discuss science.

All of the points you made are potentially plausible but also possibly impossible to put into practice, so therefore should not be bannable unless you are making claims that they are possible without providing evidence of such. Certainly one can provide research that seems to indicate such may be possible in the future, that is something this sub is used for quite frequently.

So all of those items may be found to be science fiction in the future but we don't know exactly what we are capable of and what nature allows, and so we can neither confirm nor deny whether these are possible.


bogglingsnog t1_j9bse3l wrote

>virtually any speculation could be rejected or accepted.

Yes, because sci-fi concepts need to be grounded in reality, this subreddit specifically focuses on evidence-based speculation. Speculation is not bad so long as you can base it on observable reality. That means there needs to be a plausible reason that it could exist in the future.

But context and the nature of the discussion is super key. For example we probably shouldn't make posts about how warp drives work in Star Trek ships because they are purely fictional, but starting a discussion about how life would be in a future where warp drives exist seems relevant to Futurology, because the focus has shifted from a non-existent technology to a social structure which can be mapped and have nuances that can be teased out with our diverse understandings of societies. It would be wrong to ban all posts that mention fictional technologies for this reason, which is why it's important for mods to have discretion as it is difficult to create rules focusing on the content of discussion around a post as the context can be more important than the content.

We may not have warp drives ever as their existence has not been confirmed by science, but there is absolutely plausibility that they can exist in some form, thus a discussion about how they can affect society is relevant to the sub.

I have seen a lot of sci-fi discussion in this sub that is not banned or blocked.


bogglingsnog t1_j9as23y wrote

The concept itself is obviously valuable, not just for computing but for the future of the internet, but the key is in how well it meets the needs and wants of the people.

Facebook's rendition of the concept made it largely distasteful to nearly everyone it was claiming to build it for.

Making a hierarchical series of meta-spaces accessible to all on a platform is quite a common sight in 2D software, it is rather obvious the concept would be useful in 3D as well. And there's nothing inherently wrong with a digital marketplace and replicated shopping environment either. Nor are having social meeting places.

The problem was all that we had ever seen about the Metaverse looked like a single intern had to create a demo in 24 hours based on a crayon drawing made by board members who had spent the whole night drinking. It exercised absolutely no creative vision and looked like a Wii game.

I think seeing some creative vision about digital marketplaces, and visualizing how that could potentially actually improve one's shopping experience, would have been pretty compelling. For example, being able to generate an avatar that looks very similar to you by simply uploading a few pictures of yourself, then being able to try on clothes in a virtual clothing store, would have been so much cooler than showing a cartoon character walking around a nearly featureless park showing characters doing silly things with one another.

I have spent a lot of time dreaming about the potential applications of VR, I really wish I could make my visions reality but VR programming is not exactly the easiest thing to work on. And it really sucks to see companies fail to inspire people by showing them not even half-baked ideas on a technology that already has an above-average barrier to entry.


bogglingsnog t1_j9aqalq wrote

I agree with you about the rule changes but I believe they are the way they are to give mods the power of discretion, because if they do have to start blocking certain recurring discussions (something verifiably false perhaps, a cutting edge flat earth theory), there needs to be rules that back up that decision otherwise they will get a lot of negative perception.

So I agree the rules could change for some benefit but it would not be to fully remove the need for sources/justifications but to allow carefully rationalized theories as well, because otherwise there would be nothing to stop waves of fake articles from being posted, be it ai-generated or faith-based arguments.


bogglingsnog t1_j33bmz4 wrote

Even civilian e-motorcycles can hit some crazy distances these days, I have seen a few with 100-150 miles of range. If the military wanted to they could make their own with double or triple the amount of batteries, it will just behave more like a full size motorcycle than a dirt bike.

I imagine it will be awhile before they switch to fully electric trucks. I could see a hybrid being used though it could possibly increase maintenance challenges.

Non-flammable batteries would be a HUGE leap forward for the military, they could have fully electric drivetrains with no risk of fire, would be amazing for tanks. The batteries could even form a part of the internal armor, wrap it around the ammo rack etc.


bogglingsnog t1_j2asj0x wrote

It's a real shame that phone case sellers never show what plastic it is made of.

For example ASA plastic (Acrylonitrile styrene acrylate) is becoming more popular in 3D printing, one of its greatest strengths is resistance to sunlight so it doesn't degrade nearly as fast as other thermoplastics. It's really strong too, around the same as ABS.