Military Automatism

The automation of military technology goes nonlinear:

“Machines have long served as instruments of war, but historically humans have directed how they are used,” said Bonnie Docherty, senior arms division researcher at Human Rights Watch, in a statement. “Now there is a real threat that humans would relinquish their control and delegate life-and-death decisions to machines.”

Some have argued in favor of robots on the battlefield, saying their use could save lives. […] But last year, more than 1,000 technology and robotics experts — including scientist Stephen Hawking, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak — warned that such weapons could be developed within years, not decades. […] In an open letter, they argued that if any major military power pushes ahead with development of autonomous weapons, “a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow.”

“Virtually inevitable” is a cybernetic truth-bomb.

Island Universes

Before we move on to what we don’t know about [cosmological] inflation, there are a few things we do know that are worth mentioning.
1. Inflation isn’t like a ball — which is a classical field — but is rather like a wave that spreads out over time, like a quantum field.
2. This means that, as time goes on and more-and-more space gets created due to inflation, certain regions, probabilistically, are going to be more likely to see inflation come to an end, while others will be more likely to see inflation continue.
3. The regions where inflation ends will give rise to a Big Bang and a Universe like ours, while the regions where it doesn’t will continue to inflate for longer.
4. As time goes on, because of the dynamics of expansion, no two regions where inflation ends will ever interact or collide; the regions where inflation doesn’t end will expand between them, pushing them apart.

(This only gets us to Tegmark Level 1.)

Underlinings (#50)

On the evanescence of Cyberpunk prophecy:

One notable departure from previous blockbuster dystopias like Logan’s Run (1976) was the fact that this [Blade Runner] future had a very visible past and had not been built from scratch. Existing buildings of Los Angeles were incorporated; the police headquarters is Union Station, the eerie stairwell courtyard is inside the Bradbury Building, Deckard’s apartment is in Frank Lloyd Wright’s neo-Mayan Ennis Brown House. It was all contained in a city that Ridley Scott revealed was indebted to contemporary Hong Kong. The colossal, recurring geisha girl on the electronic billboard is significant not for what she is advertising (the pill, as it happens) or even the echo of the decadent “Floating World” of Tokyo legend but for the implication that the future is both otherworldly and compromised. We can speculate on whether an orientalized U.S. West Coast represents the subconscious fear of the end of American exceptionalism, latent memories of having once been a colony, or fears that the Greater Japanese Empire was not entirely buried in 1945. In fact, the dread of being usurped by the Eastern nations was well-placed — a prescient indication that the world’s axis was shifting from mid-Atlantic to mid-Pacific. Asia was the future, and this is what it would look like. For a while, perhaps even still, it held true. The question is: which Asia? South Korean Smart City futurism? Colossal Chinese ghost cities? Drowning the sorrows of a 20-year deflationary recession in Tokyo’s Shinjuku? …