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Who Will Command the Robot Armies? (idlewords.com)
673 points by stablemap on Nov 19, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 165 comments

This is genius in that it starts by seeming to be a portentous talk about the evil other and turns the tables to show that the enemy may be us: How do we let ourselves be robots? Do we really like social control? Why do we expect the technology that got us into these problems to get us out of it.

I don't think we are really in a terrible place. In so many ways the world is better than it was. But we are kind of blind to the problems we are creating. Read this.

I don't think we're blind to the problems being created. It's more that there are no obvious solutions beyond stasis, which is no real solution as it just fixes us with today's set of problems instead of tomorrow's.

I like Maciej's talks, they're always entertaining, but at the end of them I always feel not quite satisfied. He is good at presenting well known problems in amusing ways but rarely identifies solutions beyond the hopelessly vague (like "we should all think about stuff more").

He is also utterly resistant to giving large companies any credit at all. Google and Facebook have moved the needle on strong cryptography and anti-surveillance tools more than any other groups, but in these talks they're always the bad guys because they make money through advertising instead of credit cards (which are legally linked to your real name and address: far far worse for privacy than ads).

A big part of this talk boils down to, the US Government can order American companies to undo any protections they themselves create. But this is hardly worth commenting on. It is a political problem and the only solution is for political candidates to appear that manage to appeal to large numbers of voters whilst simultaneously being strong on civil rights and shutting down surveillance systems. Neither Clinton nor Trump seem very likely to do that, but nor did any other candidates. The issue matters to people but it matters a lot less than other issues.

I feel like this is a fair criticism of my talks.

There are two point I would dispute. First, I do give large tech companies (and the NSA!) credit for being internally heterogeneous, and doing good things along with bad.

Second, it would be ridiculous to give Facebook or Google credit for making anti-surveillance tools. That would be like praising tobacco companies for inventing a better cigarette filter.

My beef is that you sort of place the finger of blame on big companies for the concentration of data in the cloud, even though that appears to be a natural evolution and what users want. It's not like Google or Facebook engaged in an evil master plan to force users to give them lots of data. Users willingly did this because they didn't want to manage that data themselves, and if Google/Facebook hadn't offered them that service they'd simply have gone to another company that did.

Given that this is the way technology has evolved independent of any one firm, is it really fair to compare them to tobacco companies?

> He is good at presenting well known problems

Raising awareness is important - and urgent - work. These problems are not "well known" outside of the HN/tech bubble.

> in amusing ways

Also important, as it is much more memorable than the exhaustive clinical delineation offered by (e.g.) Pro Publica

> but rarely identifies solutions beyond the hopelessly vague

If you don't have a solution to what you see as a critical problem, do you wllow in despair? Or do you raise awareness of the problem in the hope that, individually or collectively, others will devise solutions?

I yield to no HN commenter in sympathy for the Google security team, as my comment history will surely indicate, but it's possible to take that sympathy too far. Yes, Google's security team has done important things for the privacy of all Internet users. However, for its own users, it has also created the largest subpoenable body of private information in the history of the world.

Google's security team has its hands full just shipping a browser that doesn't unlock the computers of all its users for anyone who can write a heap overflow exploit (which is why you should probably prefer Chrome over other browsers). They are not in fact moving the needle on the problem of protecting their own data from hostile governments.

There's no "we" about it. Broadly, there are people who like having social control, people who like feeling that others are under control, and people who don't like control.

There is a fourth set: people who like being under control if their lives are acceptably happy, comfortable, and secure.

That's just the second group. The standards and perceptions of what is deemed comfortable, secure, or happy is itself a determinate of social control.

To be technical, that'd be the second group if it was phrased as "people who like feeling that others are in control", using the word "in" instead of "under".

I believe there is another group: People who like control, when everyone involved understands and agrees with it.

It can be very hard, and it involves a consistent questioning of authority. Including the authority of ourselves, and the authority we hold over others.

We can have modern medicine, but we have to trust the people researching it. We can have modern robots, but we have to trust the people building them.

Fear is a great way to prevent people from questioning. But if we learn to question our fear itself, it can be useful to have been afraid.

Chad and Brad are in a pretty shitty position right now as far as these things go. They have product owners breathing down their neck and are increasingly signed in as the pair chad+brad@company.com in their open-office chain gang, unable to take even a moment's solitary contemplation about what they're working on.

They were not hired to do anything other than check off stories on a task board, their “velocity” tracked by the system described in Piketty's “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”.

If one of them were to get too invested in the ideas described here, he'd be chastized by the other, or by a manager, or the rest of his team collectively, and potentially replaced.

This is at least part of what people mean when they lament that software engineering isn't treated as a profession in the manner of doctors or lawyers. Many of us may be very smart and able to weigh issues like these, but these things are not encouraged or rewarded or respected by most of the employers.

> If one of them were to get too invested in the ideas described here, he'd be chastized by the other, or by a manager, or the rest of his team collectively, and potentially replaced.

But at least they'd then be in the clear, ethically speaking, and their employer will be on notice that this is not cool, even if they do eventually find someone willing to carry out their unethical deeds. If no one stands up for what's right, the managers will just be reinforced in their belief that they can do whatever they want.

Most developers are in a much better position to stand up for this sort of thing than people in industries with less worker demand. If my company asked me to do something unethical, I could quit on the spot and have a new, better job in under a week. No, not all developers are on such good footing, but there are many, many categories of job where employment security is so low that quitting over an ethical quandary would be unthinkable.

Sometimes all it takes is to point out the potential legal/moral issues in writing and request a clear order of execution, also in writing.

When a paper trail eliminates the possibility for management to plead ignorance and shift blame later, management often happens to grow a conscience.

> This is at least part of what people mean when they lament that software engineering isn't treated as a profession in the manner of doctors or lawyers.

This is an apt analogy. You may have just driven that point home for me. Do you think that pharma and health insurance companies want doctors to think about what's ethical? Likewise, do law firms want their lawyers to think about whether an IP shakedown is ethical?

My takeaway from this talk is that I'm a Chad. Greater forces in my industry may expect me to sling code and ship features, but my role in this whole mess is to stop and think. Or not.

What I am worried about is that in future AI swarm military robots will enable something that wasn't seen yet in history. Now to make dictatorship state you need support of military/rebels/people behind it, you can't make it on your own. Without humans in equation who will stop some oligarch with enough money to take over some nation in for example Africa or Middle East? You wouldn't need hundreds of thousands/millions people supporting you anymore.

Yes, this is why humans still need to work out some of the age old problems, like governance and ethics.

Otherwise it's going to be kind of a dice roll--what are the values of the first team to achieve the governance-eclipsing technology.

> Otherwise it's going to be kind of a dice roll--what are the values of the first team to achieve the governance-eclipsing technology.

So like all history until now.

The winners dictate morality. Nothing will change.

There is no need to create a new robot army if you can blackmail the people who control the existing army.

For me, the most interesting revelation in the recent Wikileaks dumps is the surprising willingness of prominent individuals to share their most private thoughts via gmail.

Larry Page (or his unscrupulous AI successor) may already have enough blackmail material on hand to seize the levers of power, if he so chooses.

In that case, Google's new motto could be, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely".

I've always thought it's more that absolute power attracts the corrupt disproportionately.

Coincidentally, I'm re-reading Lord of the Rings at the moment. Not sure if a work of fiction is the best source of moral lessons, but the whole point of the book is that the Ring of Power would corrupt even the most incorruptible. And somehow, this doesn't surprise me.

Well, sure, but that is a work of fiction.

Why is a moral lesson in a story any less of a moral lesson?

Why is a moral lesson in a story a moral lesson? I can invent any moral lesson and put it in a story. That a supposed moral lesson is featured in a work of fiction does not lend credence to it.

So you acknowledge morals can be told through stories. And they are. Like, you know, in the Bible or fables. You just don't believe they have "credence". Which I never asked about. Good debate.

You seem to be extremely confused. Of course moral lessons can be taught through stories. That a moral lesson is taught through story does not make the moral taught true in any sense. Which makes bringing up the One Ring and Tolkien extremely strange.

I am not confused at all. Perhaps you're projecting your own confusion onto me. You simply have an unbelievably naive viewpoint with no coherent argument.

My point is that exploring and conveying "morals" is actually one of the primary functions of literature. I can't tell if you agree or disagree with this. But if you believe that something being "fiction" means it's not worth paying attention to or that it cannot offer valid moral instruction, well, you are a tremendous fool.

Whether you agree or disagree with the moral or ethical argument being made is a completely separate point.

> That a moral lesson is taught through story does not make the moral taught true in any sense.

I never said that a moral lesson appearing in a story makes it "true". That's a stupid thing to even suggest. You are, however, suggesting that any moral lesson in any narrative that isn't "true" (would you mind sharing your definition of true so we can determine how we can come to that conclusion?) cannot contain a valid moral. Which is absurd.

Or the corrupt get it far more easily.

To me this is the most plausible direction.

D. All of the above.

Corruption is a vague term, borrowed by old sayings.

Personality characteristics, like "The Dark Triad/Tetrad," do a better job of explaining tendencies for misbehavior.


An oligarch with enough money could simply corrupt the government. They don't need a swarm of robots to take over.

What's to say this hasn't already happened here? Is it because we're too blind to see the plutocracy?

It has happened here. Signs of the oligarchic state are everywhere - campaign finance law, the revolving door, ALEC, etc.

Checkout a book called "Kill Decision". It's not as far ahead as "dictator with robot army", since it's attempting to be close to what's possible /today/.

I thought Daemon and Freedom were better, (but you have to read them both! It's more one book than two.) but Kill Decision does have some interesting points to it.

They were definitely better. I'm decently sure that Suarez had a few great ideas, and a wrote his first book using the best one, and was then on the hook for more books.

Edit: Oh! If you liked Daemon, check out Nexus. Same "problem", different core tech solution.

Would that necessarily be a bad thing? E.g. taking a very under-developed country and giving it the Singapore treatment?

I like the "Chad and Brad". That's a good proxy for the average developper in a corporation who barely understand more what he is doing than a hobbyist.

Inevitably, when the technology will have gone mainstream, programming a robot to do something will be done by a junior technician at some random anonymous supplier in a developping country who cannot even read the documentation because he doesn't speak a word of english. That's how you will end up with your cheap butler/cook robot purchased on amazon, chasing the house dog with a butcher knive shortly before dinner.

If Internet of Things teaches us anything...

Yes. And "Chad and Brad" tend to programming, because they subconsciously feel that by doing the work they are wielding power (even though they are not consciously aware of implications), while they'd be losers otherwise.

Giving a feeling of power to the losers is a #1 step to creating an obedient army. Ask any dicator, populist, or army leader.

This is a pretty brilliant talk, frightening and funny at the same time; in the end I take refuge in the fact that the robotic future will likely not involve humans as no sentient technology can be as stupid as we are and will likely eliminate us at the first opportunity.

Wait... You're saying that you're hopeful that something we make can fix the mess from us fucking up making things because it'll be less fucked up?

I'd find some agreement with you that logically we're the dumbest possible intelligence, because the trend is up and we're at the beginning, except we're not at the beginning, people like the Sumerians were. Except they're not the beginning, either...

> we're the dumbest possible intelligence

Collectively, yes. But individually, not so much, considering how hard it is to replicate human abilities in AI.

"One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity there ain't nothing can beat teamwork."

Seldom Smith, from The Monkey-Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey.

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals"

-- Agent Kay (Men in Black)

Robots will change the relationship between populations and power. You needed populations to drive your economy and man your army. At the very least, no man ruled alone--your court could always overthrow you.

A robot army could be built to obey only one. And a factory of robots can make wealth without people.

Even assuming we solve the weak control problem, we are about to enable unprecedented capacity for absolute power.

There's precedent for something like this in the UK, and it's not a happy one. There was a moment in history where landowners who had a lot of sitting tenants on land realised they could make more by converting them into large sheep farms and removing the tenants.


But in democratic states you still have one dispossessed person, one vote. So the robot controllers have all the power, until each election when all the angry people vote for unhinged assholes like trump (or not all, as the case may be).

> So the robot controllers have all the power, until each election when all the angry people vote for unhinged assholes like trump

So the solution is to give robots the rights to vote?!

This only holds if the democracy owns and controls a robot army bigger than potential usurpers' armies.

> Huggies tried to make a similar sensor to detect when the diaper is full of shit, but it proved impossible to distinguish from normal activity on Twitter.

See this is why we need groundbreaking advancements in deep learning and we need them now.

This blog post is a text version of the talk that Maciej Cegłowski gave last week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Plwt3QSlBs

HN being HN I have to say that's this is how I like to read presentations on the Internet. Not on slideshare, not with a js library that add worthless transitions between slides but in a simple, readable text on one page.

HTML table tags, baby! Thank you!

While that made good points back when it was written (2009), nowadays we have flexbox - which solves the problems that essay describes with such precision it makes you wonder if the spec authors were responding to it in particular. I mean, if you take, say, MDN's tutorial page on flexbox, it demonstrates the exact same layout that used to be such a problem:


So perhaps the story is, more precisely, "when it comes to layout, abusing floats is fundamentally flawed" - yes, in the past, tables may have been the best alternative in a lot of cases; but now we've got it, flexbox is superior to floats and to tables. It really is a joy to work with once you get your head round it IMO.

Flexbox solves many of my css layout woes, but is still not as convenient as it could be (and is still "container" based as the article puts it).

I wish I could use something like QML for layout (anchors that connect elements to each other, grids for when you need lists/tables/columns/grids).

I've never read this before, but it offers a unique perspective that might have convinced me to be less damning of tables in place of CSS.

Personally I went full circle on the issue. I did table layouts when I was a kid, then I learned the "right way" and fought great battles to make CSS behave. Then, after I did a bit of that stuff and saw others doing it, it dawned upon me that the whole "separating layout from content" is just a religious dogma, and like the best religious dogmas, those loudest about it are least likely to actually try and follow it. We've replaced clean tables with an ungodly mess of divs, which are placed in our HTML for the sole reason to provide CSS hooks - there's no semantic reason for them. This is not separating presentation from content, this is shitting presentation at content through a high-speed fan!

So nowadays, I look more favorably at tables again.

Well hey, you could always get the best of both worlds and use "display: table" and friends. :)

I never understood the point of this... If you want something to look like a table, why not just use a table? With html only content and design really matter...

User agents aren't necessarily graphical web browsers. Marking up a document fragment as a <table> when it isn't tabular data makes it harder for screen readers, terminal web browsers, and crawlers to do their job well.

I'm all for simple and readable, but this article's layout was frustrating. On My phone the left side had images while the right side had text in small font. I could zoom into the text to compensate, but then completely forgot about the images unless they were mentioned in the text.

Nicely done talk. Great presentation, fun enough to keep listeners engaged through a lot of horrifying details. I also agree that we, the people, have a (final?) say in how this all goes down.

Let's run with the conclusion a bit - What would society be like for there to be a critical mass of critical thinkers, aware of new developments, in a position to act and motivated to speak up?

The cynic in me sees that list and despairs. How can we expect the average parent of 2 to keep C-SPAN on throughout the day, calling their senators on lunch breaks, and boycotting products that would give them an extra hour back every week that could be spent playing with their children.

That's how it would look, right? Instead of skimming political/technical news that entertains us while validating our viewpoint, we'd be parsing legalese like it's a pull request. Instead of binge watching Netflix, we might be driving to a store to buy something that could have arrived yesterday via Amazon Prime.

It's all quite doable. It's just not immediately comfortable. It's also not a priority in our lives, since it's so easy to prioritize anything else with immediate feedback or gratification. However, humans are very good at internalizing and normalizing. When motivated, we can make virtually any behavior livable, or even comfortable.

So that's the trick. How do we normalize critical thinking, due diligence, and active engagement?

It's the cat. In other words, it would seem like the robots are pandering to our desires, but in reality they're using us as their toy launcher.

We would be amused into slavery.

My take on the reason for the US's endless warfare is that it is simply a way to transfer billions of dollars of tax money every year to arms manufacturers and their political allies.

That isn't your take so much as the take people use to inconsiderately explain it all away on the daily.

What's your take? You're not offering an alternative here.

Hopefully it's something that can actually be used to make decisions and not some pandering fluff designed to appease the norms of their own thoughtless and cynical in-group.

On the other hand, maybe it's actually ok to not pretend to have all the answers.

Well, I want to understand why people would actively engage in and promote something so awful and also, on the surface, so illogical and wasteful. This explanation makes sense at least to me. You cant improve things without first understanding them.

I personally don't see it that "directed" and insidious by the people involved. Rather, I'd argue that it's a giant government-works program.

After all, that is what we incessantly task the government with doing. "100% employment", "create jobs", "create jobs"!

Also related: https://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_suarez_the_kill_decision_sh...

This talk takes an interesting historical dive into how democracy arrived and how it may be destroyed by the machines and weapons we're building. Fun stuff!

Rich people within fortresses will command the robot army.

Root passwords will be handed down eldest son to eldest son.

Given the quality of security in most companies we'll all know it before they do.

Related, it's funny how the only people who can make IoT actually interoperate is the evil people turning them into DDoS botnets...

Consider Pokémon Go, which when it was initially released required full access to your Gmail account. To play America's most popular game, you practically had to give it power of attorney.

To nitpick this totally inconsequential point: you could use a Pokémon Trainer Club account instead of a Google account if you wanted to. Most people still chose the convenience of logging into their existing account instead of creating a new one, though.

The Pokémon Trainer Club registration was down for days and days. Most people had no choice if they wanted to play.

Also, apps that request Google Account access can't actually read your mail, can they... It's just a verification that you own that email address.

When you request account access, there's a scope parameter to specify which aspects you want. They had inadvertently set that to "all" instead of "user info". Those oauth tokens would have been keys to the kingdom.

Oh, oops. Good thing I never use Google login, then (I don't want services to know my email address).

Why do we even have armed forces and the police? There are a lot of different reasons, but the big one is to defend property. And, who owns most of the property? And, who will own most of the robots? Fewer and fewer people as time goes on.

The other day, I heard a guy joke (in very bad taste), that when there are no more jobs left, there will always be prostitution and slavery. It's a sick thought, but how far off is it?

Is it just me, or is the link to his home site in the top left a spam/phishing link? (has 2x .com's)

Other than that, really enjoyed it.

I think that's an advertisement, likely masquerading as a normal link. I initially thought so because I didn't see anything with an odd link in the top left with adblock on, but now even having turned it off I see no such link.

Here is a picture of what I'm seeing: http://puu.sh/sodrS/17a88ea8b9.jpg

No, I just fixed the .com.com typo.

I suspect the answer (perhaps unfortunately) will be 'anyone with the money to afford the technology'. I can see an actual industry appearing around robotics and AI controlled weapons systems, and a fair few companies willing to sell to special interests outside of the police or military.

So I suspect we'll get a situation where everyone from the police and military to political groups, companies (mostly larger ones), richer/more tech obsessed civilians and criminals have access to military grade robots. Like a more expensive version of firearms in the US.

Relevant talk from Daniel Suarez that I recommend everyone watches:


That video could be called "the democratization of military power".

I wonder if the images are all that's on his slides when he gives a talk. It would certainly require a great deal of facility with public speaking to be able to pull that off. Kudos to 'idlewords if that is indeed the case.

Far more important is who will trigger the first robot rampage.

Contrary to what tech philosophers have been spouting from their ivory towers, there will be no positronic brain, nor will the 3 laws help one iota once a robot has been hacked.

All it takes is one deranged soul with a little know-how and a desire to see the world burn. Tweak the AI a bit, and now you have a robot that looks for signs of breathing, and then beats, shoots, stabs, and smothers until it stops breathing. Recharge, repeat.

To me, the incredibly amazing thing is that there are very few such people in the world. My view of humanity is pretty abysmal and yet, out of seven billion people, nobody has created a really nasty disease, or blown up millions of people, or something.

[By nobody I mean, of course, "nobody except for governments". Which maybe explains where these people migrate to.]

Did you see all those ridiculous IoT devices? So those things are allowed to connect P2P but people aren't?

Why are people wasting time on this stuff? The "free market"?

I think there's a widespread lack of imagination about what the future ought to be like. It's been 50 years, we need another Star Trek!

Free market is definitely not helping here at the moment. To get Star Trek (sans transporters and warp drive), what we need to do is to make all our existing tech interoperable. Which is exactly the thing businesses are icentivized against. Hence the utter bullshit mobile ecosystem is, not to even start on IoT...

"The Expanse" gives what I consider a much more realistic view of the future.

This reminds me of the paper clip analogy of AI maximizing making paper clips at the expense of human life by using more matter except this is real. The algorithm didn't take into account fact checking or ethics and just kept making paper clips. I love React but Facebook, this is shameful and has to be corrected.

There will be a time in the near future where a CEO of a large company similar to Google will have the ability to control a billion robots, Google has over a billion android phones that it could subvert if it wanted to. Such level of power would effectively allow such a company or CEO to take over the world.

The final victory of capital over labour!

It doesn't seem like a final victory if the CEO is human. That slogan would better fit this: http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/05/30/ascended-economy/.

At the end though, such a CEO might think of him or herself as being totally altruistic and saving the world from its idiotic leadership. US is already headed towards tyranny. The political climate could be just rife in 30-40 years for that sort of thing to be justified by a well-meaning person.

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

― C.S. Lewis

Idealist make the worst mass murderers and dictators.

Also the best.

Trickle-down tyranny?

He'll only do that if the political environment becomes an active impediment to building a city on Mars, since taking over the world is a fairly major distraction.

it is already the case with windiws 10 /s

Arguably, that already happened on November 8th. It just didn't quite go like Mark Zuckerberg planned :)

[I was going for a chuckle here]

Great read...how about media ? They are playing larger and larger role in how our elections are run. One big media comapny could have indirect affect on how people will feel and behave including governments, armies and nations.

> They are playing larger and larger role in how our elections are run.

What?! How many news outlets endorsed Trump? How many fired people because they're making less money? Unless Macedonian Facebook spammers count as "media" these days, "the media" has less money, less reach, and less influence every year.

Obviously only evil Trump supporters who hate democracy would distrust the media, though. I mean, haven't you read the news? (Also, one of the complaints in this talk is that Facebook and Twitter don't use their power to control how people feel and behave, so the author likely thinks of the media using this power as a good thing.)

Trump played the media like a theremin.

A Russian hacker (or a state-sponsored team of hackers).

You've been fed too much propaganda. Do a detox.

wikileaks publishes leaked documents. they're propaganda in the sense that they present information under an ethos meant to serve an ideological purpose, but that's a meaning so broad that cnn and npr also easily fall under it. if you take issue with the veracity of what they've published, make a case, but otherwise, calling something 'propaganda' and thinking that alone is somehow a knock to its value or truth is meaningless.

i'm totally willing to believe that russia obtained the emails and gave them to wikileaks -- it's far from proven, at least on the public side of discourse, but it makes sense and doesn't seem impossible or bullshitty to me. but that doesn't mean that the emails aren't real. it's foolish to cover your ears and ignore things just because someone you don't like said it.

wikileaks has also published much, much more than the dnc/podesta emails, from a very wide variety of sources.

>i'm totally willing to believe that russia obtained the emails and gave them to wikileaks -- it's far from proven, at least on the public side of discourse, but it makes sense and doesn't seem impossible or bullshitty to me

Yet we've seen zero evidence for it. Blaming Russia is convenient for DNC since it shifts the dialogue from the emails to "evil empire" that's supposedly behind it. First, they attempted to claim that emails have been tampered with and then when DKIM signatures proved that hypothesis wrong, they shifted their tactics.

Funniest part of that whole election was the claim by Dems that Trump has some kind of a secret server that communicates with Russians. Laughable. It's all just a misdirection.

"zero evidence" is completely wrong. here's the crowdstrike writeup about the dnc hacks and their reasoning for linking it to russian state hackers:


there were also, iirc, at least six other private security companies that came to the same conclusion, who weren't hired by the dnc. additionally, every US intelligence agency backed up the claim.

again, not a proven statement, but there's a substantial amount of evidence we're aware of.

>First, they attempted to claim that emails have been tampered with and then when DKIM signatures proved that hypothesis wrong, they shifted their tactics.

do you have a source for the first part? afaik it was just twitter randos floating the idea

i'm not a partisan in this fight. i didn't vote, i despised both candidates, but i also think both sides can be a little blind in their eagerness to paint the other as disingenuous. i'm very interested in this subject and it's one i've followed closely, and i'm reasonably sure russian state actors were behind the dnc and podesta hacks, but i also think it's worth keeping an open mind as a general principle and not to be blinded by ideological alliances.

NPR is definitely propaganda. And don't even get me started on CNN.. they're not even a legitimate news source anymore. They qualify as fake news now.

The amount of anti-russian nonsense coming from DNC/Clintons and liberal is off the charts.

And please point out when WikiLeaks was wrong. Go ahead, I'll wait.

>Huggies tried to make a similar sensor to detect when the diaper is full of shit, but it proved impossible to distinguish from normal activity on Twitter.


Who will collect data on our citizens using CCTVs, and the ability to compromise computers?

I don't think our society's adversaries are passing laws by showing up to court themselves.

I don't know where the line is between armed robots and CCTVs meant to control us, it feels very blurred to me.

I think the search for a suitable commander for the robot armies is a silly one. Asking "Who will command robots?" is like asking "who will run software?" Everyone will. What will they do? Whatever their creators and owners want them to.

There are already a lot of robots in the world, just as there is already a lot of software. Indeed, Hollywood likes to depict robots by starting with a human mind and warping it, but a better intuition is formed by remembering that robots are software with physical outputs. They aren't going to spontaneously develop new abilities unless they have been created to.

Some people are inclined to develop software carelessly. "Move fast and break things" is a sensible motto for someone at the center of building social media from nothing. That's only one engineering culture, though. Visit labs in heavy industrial R&D, in academia, in defense, listen to open source developers' chatter, and you will see plenty of people write books on whether a single line of code should say this or that. Cheer up. It isn't all maximum velocity startups. :)

Software - and robots as instantiations of software - is not good and it's not evil and it's not careless and it's not careful. It can be any of these, because it is a reflection of its creators. Like all machines, it amplifies their will.

I very much expect robotics to follow the same path that automation before it always has.

In the beginning, industrial machinery was dangerous to the workers who used it, being first generation tech designed only to get a new job done. As the decades wore on, the machines became safer, quieter, smarter, more predictable. Best practices and required safety protections developed, and now industrial machinery maiming someone is a scandal.

Machines of warfare were once indiscriminate. The buzz bombs and incendiary balloons of the second world war would be considered terrorist weapons today. The weapons that kill indiscriminately after a conflict ends - the land mines, the chemical weapons - banned now. Sure, they're still used by those who don't care about their moral reputation, but it's the sort of thing that makes the international community talk about putting together a coalition to overthrow your government. Nobody does it lightly.

Would the militaries of the world make the same mistake with robots - not retaining control of every kill? Putting an experimental-ai long-lived robot behind a weapon where it might kill for all the wrong reasons after a conflict is over? I seriously doubt it. Too many people would see such a thing as a land mine, and rightly so. A military that didn't care about their moral reputation might do that, but that doesn't make responsibly developed military robots bad. Machines reflect their creators. I very much expect that whatever mistakes the militaries of the world make with robots will be new ones, not easily foreseen. And that as we get better at the technology, we'll correct those too, and ultimately - just like our industrial engineering, just like our software in general - they will be as safe, and as dangerous, and as predictable, and as smart, and as useful, and as directly controlled by humans, as we as a society want them to be.

Mature technology doesn't look like Facebook. Never has, never will. It looks like Apache - something well-considered, controllable and safe, something which does a job so reasonably and so well that it's boring to everyone but the geeks who work on it. :)

Robot armies will be controlled by everyone, and they will be as unremarkable as the robots I control now: my quad, my 3d printer, my washer and dryer, my car. Dangerous if misused or badly designed, but these things are are avoidable, and beyond that - safe, convenient, nice to have.

We already have that first generation of robotic weaponry. Systems like the AGM-88 HARM and Aegis/Phalanx CIWS will autonomously select their target and attack. Everyone is largely content with them, despite the occasional mis-identifications and accidents (they tend not to properly consider what is behind their target, which leads to some problems when they miss).

The South Koreans and Israelis are both working on automatic sentry turrets and the Israelis have actually deployed such systems. This is probably the closest analogy to your "land mine" but we're still OK with it.

Hopefully an open-sourced A.I. government.

The Trade Federation, duh.

> Who Will Command the Robot Armies?

Ender Wiggin

Zorglub will be in charge


better keep your programmers happy

webcams will.

The guy who flashes them at the end of the production-line in the cheapest country available.

Well it's obvious that we need to eliminate that possibility. We'll just have the robots build themselves.

Problem eliminated and no other unintended consequences as far as I can see.

A self-sustaining civilization of robots. Humans are gone, but generations and generations of robots evolve and, eventually, incorporating organic compounds, they become cyborgs.

However, the robots were doomed by their limited intelligence and their fervor to produce additional robots. The robots eventually depleted all available resources, thus making the planet uninhabitable for themselves.

Until they learned to explore the cosmos and do this on planet after planet leading to the Grey Goo[1]. Or the flipside, in that they create a Big Bang to reverse it like the multivac did in Asimov's The Last Question when they finally have sufficient information to process it.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_goo

If you would assume technology to another biology- then a error is a mutation, thus robots would divide into predators and hunted animals, resulting in a new wildlife.

Or a class conflict, once they become conscious, class-conscious.

that guy is a robot

Who flashes the flash-man 9000?

Relevant xkcd: https://xkcd.com/898/.

General Grievous. But actually Count Dooku. But actually senator Palpatine. Who has recently been elected Supreme Chancellor. But actually Darth Sidious.

Actually Jar Jar

Jar jar! I like the fan theory about jar jar being a Jedi. It's great

A sith actually.

actually a java 1.6 admin.jar


Turn out Youtube didn't manage to stop him.

Not trying to be pedantic, but might you have been referring to a:

J. R. "Bob" Dobbs?

If so, pardon my intrusion, and abundant slack to you.

Probably a teen from a basement in rural Russia.

> Who Will Command the Robot Armies?

PID 1.


"Here is Huggies TweetPee, which is exactly what you're most afraid it will be. This moisture sensor clips to your baby's diaper and sends you a tweet when it is wet.

Huggies tried to make a similar sensor to detect when the diaper is full of shit, but it proved impossible to distinguish from normal activity on Twitter. "

An extensively researched talk. I hope people like Boredom and ennui. What are you going to do when Most labour is done by robots, and you sit at home Collecting a monthly cheque from the government.

I know this is provocative, but many occupations Are simply busywork.

I do think robot armies can be hacked, so try not to Centralize everything.

Hiking, reading, writing, walking, talking, singing, loving, painting, cooking, eating, competing... Everything that people say "I wish I did more..." on their deathbeds.

"I imagine it asking you who you are in a heavy Slavic accent before firing its many weapons into your fleeing body."

I find this ... part of a paragraph, highly unnecessary continuation of the previous sentence! And I {object (to this! it = Slavic}; my accent is (fine; (fuck you too = _Writer_; ... i ment...; ...; Nevermind! [:Reader])!

Yeah... fuck your wars, I aint hating Americans for that, and I ain't "pulling out a gun" { missing word -> due to rising _(<<anger-ining>>)_ feelings or something...; Fuck you = _Reader_??!$!$> $T@$ @$) ) )!# _ }; fuck fuck fuck you!...

edit: in-before: whatever: I don't care about points, and this is not a language, this is just a fuck off to the OW {Original Writer}; of the article; Fuck _off_; ... yeah.. fuck you... I'm fine... k... bye

Is this perl?

But... yeah... It's kinda Perl-ish { Sorry about that, Perl is a cool cat! }; but more like BASH when treating strings...; haha! _Reader_

~ please don't frown, | "+1" I wasted One Reader's Time. (At least one reader... that's what I _think_)... Damn it I am bored again...

~ please... I never meant to Scare you with my Slavic Shout...; ПОБЕДА; КАЗАХ АЗ! ПОБЕДА ПОСТИГАМ май...

Ч Човек съм аз... Българин... и статията е "обидна" за Славо-говорящи индивиди. Fuck you _READER_ (I want to fuck you... fucking is a nice word sometimes) I want to make LOVE to you {what i meant}... this text wants to make love to you {that is}... Attention Vector... Vector... Viktori.. Viktoria. Vicci... I won an imaginary battle...

~ bye! See you soon { Honest-ly I don't know what Im typing right now, I'ma grue in the dark eating your "whitespace" "::white:space:"

No, this is jhet :)

jhet is; A language utility; that I develop; .

jhet is A language utility { that I develop }; .

~ jhet is A language utility that I { develop | create | screw around...} .

~ jhet is PROBABLY a language {Some Kind of English, but not the same... read -> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bracket#Curly_brackets -> It's basically BRACKETs { of the ENGLIH lagn } that is/would be; !#@ %R whatever... I am showing it off right now may be for the first time..

~ jhet is a language utility; (that would help you); (if it existed {but it's not}); with Languages; Kinda like DrRacket... So JHET would be (may be) some kind of SLANG for RACKET { in DrRacket };... yeah, complimentary to the Racket whatever { "it" may be}... Just __imagine__ YOU'RE INA STRING {of data}

~ The Language:: Language:: The language has a working name as Charm {as in SPELL-cast-ing | _goofy_ I know, but its a good name! yeh... }

~ Todo: jhet { "jhet" is just a word-hack right now... a w-rack if you will :P

Term: To wrack IS To hack words. Word-Hack

I think you broke him, Maciej.

(Maciej: +1; broke; "him" _ )... Hey... are u talkin' bout me?? ([:ха-ха!)]

edit: don't mind me, I am a grue hick!ufblargh eatin' ur bear, drinkn ur weed, ae overloaded ae ae wha-a-a! ae ae ea ea

edit.2: fucke' script bot hci downvoii mi poem postage * blarkhuiar ada da ad add ad add ad

edit.3: fucke' h'p'str's''.. ur ppntd... blarrah ghr355 3

"is"-ness is a strong word.

~ ISness is bad word :you { skip (Subject| Object | RelationSHIP { a type of Predicate!} ++ "like"}; that; just read <<jhet>>isson; all meaning ...

~ You can form a better Sentence including the word "perl"

For instance: Is this "like" Perl Is this "like" Perl in what ways ~ Fuc@ $ @ $@$@$! %(!#(%!*#%!&%#&!_# )U! <<This part is retracted|has been edited with 'cut' operation>> k your Ego _Reader_, it doesn't matter { 'cus. It's just boundaries { between Person-als }... } ... so on... someone; close the door; "SLAVIC" idiom in English; някой да затвори вратата; <- this was a word in SLAVIC... ... ego is still angry at ME... Ego... SHUT THE GELL UP.. HELL IP UP... Shut the Fuck up; ... brainstate: normal; meme:: The Terminator mblabla bla



edit: I will re-edit this, upon request :P Have a good time Reader, This wave of thinking-outloud-advertising-response-to-insults-is-done-

Count thy Scores! The Game is ON

~ No, it's not on...

~ Everything under the TILDE can be DISREGARDED as meaningful and malformed but By god { if it exists }; those are {were?} my Honest Words on this Topic -> War Tech.

From the article:

> We, on the other hand, didn't plan a thing. > We just built ourselves a powerful apparatus for social control with no sense of purpose or consensus about shared values.

I strictly disagree. We must never forget that just because (perhaps) you and I reading this didn't contribute to this system with a sense of "purpose and ... shared values" that someone else didn't. And we must not forget that those values may not be in accordance with our own.

What appears to be a disorganized mess on the surface may have a much larger design, it's just probably not your design.

Hey, we're working on building those neato robot armies over at Asteria (https://getasteria.com). We'd really like to share the (less grim?) vision of how cool that future might be. If you're interested in something that's exciting, and could potentially be very life changing, come check out what we're working on.

Full disclosure: I'm one of the founders.

[edit] We're also looking to hire and work with interested. Just hit up /careers and check out what we're looking for. Also, I appreciate just working with hackers, so if you don't see something there that suits you, hit me up and let's chat. :)

Are you fucking serious? Did you even bother with the article at all?

What you're making is no different than what Maciej talks about, and just as naff.

More connectedness is not more good. I explicitly would NOT want a no-name company having ALL of my data and seeing everything that I'm seeing. It's bad enough that Google knows everything about me.

Maciej has another excellent talk about how the half-life of data is basically infinite. So while YOU may think you're a benevolent public benefactor, when (not if) you resell my data to the next guy, he may not be. Also, what possible benefit does it bring to my life? Book appointments? Tell me the weather? Why can't I do these things the dumb way?

Progress for the sake of progress is the ideology of s cancer cell.

If you're in San Francisco I'd love to meet up and perhaps allay some of your fears. :)

I'll respond in-line to your comments:

> Are you fucking serious?


> Did you even bother with the article at all?


> What you're making is no different than what Maciej talks about, and just as naff.

Why should it be different?

> More connectedness is not more good.


> I explicitly would NOT want a no-name company having ALL of my data and seeing everything that I'm seeing.

Every company was a no-name company before they had a name.

> It's bad enough that Google knows everything about me.

But you continue to invest in that dataset? Help build a company of trust. :)

> Maciej has another excellent talk about how the half-life of data is basically infinite.

I'm well aware that data on the internet is indelible. I myself have some cringe worthy usenet posts from when I was a kid. :)

> So while YOU may think you're a benevolent public benefactor, when (not if) you resell my data to the next guy, he may not be.

I think the old model of reselling data is gone, building insights through models is really the future, and that better helps serve everyone. You're arguing against the local max we've stumbled into. That's not what we're working towards. In addition I'm slowly working on creating a way to participate in personal and generic model building and transactions without publicly identifying the agents involved.

> Also, what possible benefit does it bring to my life?

Who knows just yet. It's pretty easy to imagine that building a foundation of predictive models around your life might help better serve to help you acknowledge things previously your biases perhaps prohibited you from observing. Knowledge of self is the path to mastery of the self. :)

> Book appointments? Tell me the weather? Why can't I do these things the dumb way?

In the most naive cases, sure. You could still do these things the "dumb" way, but what is the "dumb" way to you has most definitely at one point been the "new" and "scary" way to the generation before you.

> Progress for the sake of progress is the ideology of s cancer cell.

I would implore you to read : http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/08/why-explore-space.html

My favorite quote being: "significant progress in the solutions of technical problems is frequently made not by a direct approach, but by first setting a goal of high challenge which offers a strong motivation for innovative work, which fires the imagination and spurs men to expend their best efforts, and which acts as a catalyst by including chains of other reactions."

Thank you for this reply. I don't know if I agree with you but I love your patience.

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