August 23, 2021

Meanwhile: At the Skynet Symposium

Elon Musk, who has for years warned about the trancendental threat that is A.I., has decided to stop worrying and love the anthropomorphic killbots.

To be clear the new TESLABOT is not technically a killbot in that it is not equipped with a keyboard command for terminating peons who offend the users of TESLABOT, but a workaround for that oversight is likely simple. If it comes equipped as advertised with such features as opposable thumbs, it will certainly be equip-able with phased plasma rifles in the 40 watt range or other items with similar functionality.

OK in all seriousness, this diagram notes what the "killbots" will kill...

...or in the polite language of the promo, "eliminate". 

Those 'dangerous, repetitive, boring tasks' are what most of us call "jobs".

That is the prey of this killbot.

Of course for 200 years, jobs have been eliminated by advancing technology only to unleash by their increase in productivity a need for more jobs. This, new development, if it comes to pass may be more of the same, but there is concern that it might be different as it is not "the machinery" but is designed to move amongst and service "the machinery" and do the scutt work that the machinery couldn't. 

Technology is generally double edged, everyone needs to stay on their toes.

Theres a lot to be skeptical about in this announcement and it is does look like, as one commentator pointed out, "Musk as his absolute Muskiest". But as Brian Wang points out, Must does have experience and some infrastructure for producing high tech, semi-autonomous products on a massive scale, so while skepticism is certainly warranted, don't dismiss it out of hand. 

Exit quote: "In the long term I do think there needs to be universal basic income,” Musk said. "But not right now because the robot doesn’t work.”

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 05:35 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
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1 You just know someone's going to put it behind the wheel of a Tesla.


Posted by: J Greely at Mon Aug 23 18:10:28 2021 (ZlYZd)

2 Alright, who gave Al Gore a Tesla?!?

Posted by: cxt217 at Mon Aug 23 19:55:43 2021 (MuaLM)

3 a) Musk's work on the Tesla may possibly be an argument /against/ his ability to pull this off.  Building an automated car with wireless updating of software is an invitation for problems.  If you turn it into a commercial success somehow, you've stuck yourself with an architecture that you cannot secure.  It's an invitation to get sued out of existence.

b)  Modern AI techniques work in specific ways to get certain flavors of task done.  Fundamentally, they have limits, and it is not hard to work out what a lot of them are.  It seems unlikely to change the basic arithmetic of 10 or 20 years ago over what kinds of factory task make more sense for automation, and what kinds for human.  The tech to replace fast food workers has been around for a while.  What changed was the Democrats screwing with the labor market.  Thing is, Democrats screwing around with the labor market is a temporary thing, and will be gone before we discover significantly more capable AI techniques.

c) There's an arithmetic of maintenance and design attention that prevents replacement of humans with equipment for all society sustaining tasks.  Humans working on something directly are smarter than a bunch of engineers who aren't there, and who are trying to use a machine to do it.  Farming in particular is a lot of varied tasks and thinking, and is one of my go to examples of where the maintenance would be prohibitive.  A farmer is better doing maintenance on the heavy equipment than some robot would be.  Also a good example of where modern AI would be severely problematic, and of a mental task that humans can do much better.  (AI training aggregates.  Humans can learn a lot about local weather, and the sorting aggregation happens by capitalism.)

d) Some engineering tasks can be automated, but engineering as a whole cannot be automated.  To make robots take over all human tasks, you would need to be able to automate the engineering.  Otherwise, human engineers at a distance cannot exceed humans at the spot.  Same basic logic as why university lunatics with PhDs in telling 'those people' what to do, who are successfully telling 'those people' what to do would always be worse than people minding their own business.

e) There always will be more actual need for retards to do some work than there will be for so called intelligent people to spend their time in technocratic megalomania.

f) As a 'whatever discipline it is that understands this stuff', Musk may be an okay technologist.  UBI is bad, because idleness means nothing to distract uninvested people from breaking stuff.  You would expect more nihilistic destruction, perhaps of the sort produced by our so called elites, who we likewise have no real need for.

g) One task that we will never be able to completely automate away is fighting other humans.  And I saw that as someone insanely optimistic enough to think it might be possible to develop technology sufficient to let us kill everyone in the world who isn't an American.  Okay, that probably is not a good goal, but it is definitely a difficult thing to accomplish. 

h) I'm pretty sure that one of the big things modern engineering is going to have to deal with is the overconfidence in AI.  Lot of people are learning techniques to implement AI based automation.  Not clear to me how many really understand that there are limits, or that they should be careful and cautious in what they do.  This, /before/ considering the state of programming as an engineering discipline.  Caveat, I'm still a pretty bad programmer.  

Posted by: PatBuckman at Mon Aug 23 20:35:26 2021 (DHVaH)

4 This seems like cgi fantasy to me. How is that "robot" actuated? Right now, unless theres new technology im unaware of, theres nothing that really does what human muscle does in terms of rapidly contracting and expanding without extra side space. Hydraulics come closest.
As to UBI: Sounds like more "you eill own nothing and be happy" to me. We had pretty close to itopia in this country: it was everyone owning their own family farm or store. Ownership lead to dignity, lack of ownership to serfdom or slavery, everywhere i can think of. 

Posted by: Madrocketsci at Mon Aug 23 21:32:39 2021 (SrNF9)

5 As to servicing machinery, thats an incredibly complex task. I was recently in the guts of my parents edm hole drill diagnosing a problem. (An actual "robot" btw). Just taking the panels off (upside down in a tight space, whete no one should have EVER put #$%^ screws) is so far beyond current robotics its incredible. Nevermind putting voltage probes on terminals, reasoning through problems, reading crappy korean manuals, etc...

Posted by: Madrocketsci at Mon Aug 23 21:40:55 2021 (bbnoI)

6 Strange that musk of all people is prone to these fantasies. Most people who work in industry very quickly appreciate how much tacit complexity there is in even apparently very simple processes. How much thinking has to go on to get anything that isnt absolutely mindless and rigidly routinized accomplished. Actual human thinking, which is lightyears beyond our toy neural nets. I would expect this of some commie college professor with a contempt and utter ignorance of the industrial world he wants to command or banish. Not someone running a space program and a car factory. 

Posted by: Madrocketsci at Mon Aug 23 21:47:32 2021 (SrNF9)

7 Ehh, on reading the article, there are more constructive ways to take his proposal. "Come work for my robotics group and help build better/more robots" is certainly a worthwhile project - because (as far as I understand the state of the art) we *can't* build anything like the depicted machine right now. (Boston dynamics appears to have the most progress.) Only way to get there is to work on building robots.

The fear-porn/clickbait/petulant Tory-esque overlord take: And then we'll overturn society and replace you all with robots, ROBOTS, I tell you! And then you'll be sorry, you useless eaters! You'll all be on the dole because we won't NEED you anymore! > That attitude annoys me, but it also worries me (not for the reason of the implied threat). A technological society is one that can only exist if there's extreme respect (and remuneration) for the competence and skill that goes into building and maintaining it.

This: (removed image of jewler's lathe), antiquated though it is, was not created by nor operated by mindless drudges. Nor was this: (removed image of steelworks), nor this: () The idea that the maintenance of a civilization *capable* of building rockets is mindless drudgery, and that all thinking can be centralized in some design bureau is lunacy. Even the Soviets weren't that stupid, and they *were* that stupid in heading down that road.

Posted by: MadRocketSci at Mon Aug 23 22:38:23 2021 (hRoyQ)

8 With all the questions AI equipped robots bring about everything from Ethics to Engineering, the editors of InStyle magazine have come up with the single most pressing concern: "Why does the Tesla Bot have a thigh Gap?" Yeah, it was a model in a bodysuit on stage, but there's Bodyshaming to whine about.

Posted by: Mauser at Tue Aug 24 11:52:34 2021 (Ix1l6)

9 Given that the European Union has proposed taxing robots because 1) They replace people who they could tax; and 2) They need to tax someone to pay for their unsustainable spending....

Posted by: cxt217 at Tue Aug 24 19:40:01 2021 (MuaLM)

10 Kinda like how they want to tax cars by mileage because electric cars are "depriving" them of gas taxes.

Posted by: Mauser at Wed Aug 25 20:50:00 2021 (Ix1l6)

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