AIs and Mankind Part One: Combat and the Future

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The machines are not taking over… right?

Ultimate Computer Star Trek_M5_750

Behold the M5 Computer from Star Trek the original series. It was designed to remotely operate a starship in combat, thus sparing humans from such a dangerous endeavor. What could possibly go wrong? Of course, in the decades since this episode first aired we have seen depicted repeatedly the dangers of machines going amok. Because “evil” machines make such good villains, such plots have outweighed their more benign counterparts.

At a former workplace, the common joking refrain was how the machines were taking over, much like “Skynet” from the Terminator franchise. In the universe of Tethered Worlds mankind is too spread among the stars to be endangered by even a planetary computer gone bad. Additionally, it is implied in Unwelcome Star that humanity has progressed through various eras of human/machine interactions, and now the relationship is settled and mature.

"Why do I have teeth?"

“Why do I have teeth?”

But apparently it did not come without difficult learning experiences. It is said that before the great war that separated humanity into two prominent political regions, mankind went through a disastrous flirtation with androids. That could be the subject of another post by itself. Suffice to say it is quite possible other kinds of incidents also occurred which firmly solidified the boundaries of computer roles in society.

Two centuries after the war, the time of the novels, most of humanity enforces accepted norms for all thinking machines. Combat bots have limited capacity, and are almost always fielded with humans. Greater danger lies in the more powerful thinkers, AIs.  But whole AI lines are unceremoniously pulled from the market if they show a tendency toward unlawful behavior. Profit and self interest keeps large AI creators from endangering their business and/or facing criminal penalty. Society has little tolerance for killing machines, and AIs corrupted to such ends is looked upon even more unfavorably than if done by human hands.

"There's no need for Concern captain. The M5 computer is perfect. It's based on my brain pattern, after all."

“There’s no need for Concern captain. The M5 computer is perfect. It’s based on my brain pattern, after all.”

However any tool (or AI) can be misused, and even with interaction protocols matured, what about war? It’s hard and brutal. Machines “think,” or at least calculate, faster than people. And robots are tougher. We will touch on this and other notions in part II of the post series.

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Tethered Worlds was not written by machines, nor is it for machines. It is the author’s hope that many humans will go on its adventure, and through the highs and lows come out the other side better for the experience.

The AIs and Mankind Series:

AIs and Mankind part 1: Combat and the Future

AIs and Mankind part 2: Robots and Romance

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Must Spaceships Have Sonic Showers?

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In the Future, Showers are Still Wet

I remember a Star Trek  character once referencing a sonic shower. Because, you know, in the FUTURE you cannot use plain old water. Come on, that is positively ancient. But even if you could invent a “sonic shower,” would anyone want to use it?

Just because you can do something, does not mean you should. There are many things that could be invented today, but they are not because of impracticality, cost, or just lack of market. We could invent food pills that could sustain us, but would we want to live that way? Would we not miss the the taste and pleasure of eating and sharing meals?

Water is the most abundant staple for life. Our bodies are mostly water. We drink it, clean with it, and enjoy the feeling of it running warm against our skin. I do not think mankind will so radically change in a few hundred years that they eschew it. Not unless robot bodies become all the rage…

In the Tethered Worlds future, like in Star Trek, space travel has become somewhat routine. Spaceships have more than enough space for water and provisions, and bags of energy to run recycling and purification systems. There is no reason to not have a shower. Of course, in sci-fi, there is no reason to just leave a shower a shower either.

Tethered Worlds puts a fun little twist to today’s commonplace experience, and also adds functionality that is beginning to enter the marketplace. So in a future where clothing can keep people clean, and the need to constantly cleanse is reduced, there is still room for sensation, relaxation, and thought.

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Tethered Worlds is a series with no sonic showers. They use just plain old water. But they do have a twist…