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We're almost in the swing of it, I have one more system check - I have to test out my TMMTO, I hope you'll bear with me. So I saw a video this week of a new DARPA robot called "PETMAN" which can climb up stairs. I can also do that by the way. Just sayin'. But there's all these videos of robots these days; robots that can climb up walls, robots that can jump over things, robots like "LittleDog" that can navigate through rough terrain, and "LittleDog's" big brother "BigDog" that can handle all kinds of situations. Dude! Don't kick the robot! Maybe they can't feel it now but in 50 years they're totally gonna watch that video and take away all our chocolates! LittleDog, BigDog, PETMAN. Gotta stop calling them pets nothing with intelligence likes the word pet see, see, see "Planet of the Apes." And then there's all those flying ones like the little Nano Copters which make that crazy noise and the creepiest one of all is the little hummingbird thing, which looks all cute and cuddly until you realize it has a friggin' camera on it! No feeder for you little bastard-spy-bird. And then there's those creepy Uncanny Valley artificial intelligence robots (Robot talking) "You are just a baby and I do not know if you know the difference between me and a person but actually I am just a baby too. Actually, by the time you're grown up I'll be as smart as a real person and we will be like brothers." Dude at least be a hat on it if you're going to show it the baby! That baby's going to be all messed up! Blip-bee, bee-yoop. And people like Ray Kurzweil keep yapping on that in the next 40 years that processing power is going to exceed the capability of all our human brains put together. And I start to think about what that's gonna look like and I keep going to this crazy apocalyptic future where these mean dictatorial robots are all trying to wipe us out. Or maybe it's not that violent, maybe it's that weird breakup moment where my service robot decides it doesn't love me anymore and gets all cold. RalphBot please it's time to dry my nether regions for me. (Robot talking) "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that." First of all I'm Ze, not Dave, and - what did I do wrong? But then I think about another kind of dystopian future - not the crazy mean dad future but the love smothering mother future where the internet doesn't really know what to do with us except to make us happy. It knows so much about us that every ad we see is for something we love and can afford and we love watching the ad itself, and online dating sites get it right 100% of the time and just when you start feeling down your favorite song from 10th grade starts playing on the radio, and our career paths are planned so we always feel accomplished and great just like, "1984," but awesome. "Don't stop, don't give up." "I like my hair, I like my haircuts!" And I'm not talking about, "The Matrix," cuz' in, "The Matrix," they gave us this world and no offense world but you went a little overboard on the pain and suffering. But what about the suffering? We like it a little bit, don't we? What about the surprise party effect? Where a party you would have had anyways is that much better because you thought no one loved you. What about how amazing spring feels after a winter? What about the struggle? Fine, but what if robots give us memories of working our way up in the world without us actually having to do it? There's this brilliant, and disturbing, talk by the game designer Jesse Schell, that you should watch, where he talks about the, "gamepocalypse, and the idea of the gamepocalypse is that is when every second of your life you are actually playing a game." Sensors begin to sense more and more of what we do and everything we do gives us points and a sense of accomplishment and reward. Brushing your teeth? Points. Doing a sit-up? Points. Using a brand? Points. And that makes me think of an article that I read by the evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller called, "Why We Haven't met any Aliens" it's short, you should read it, but basically he says that our pleasure centers are designed so that we seek out things that give us a better at procreation; tasty food and healthy mates for healthy babies but over time we get better at getting the pleasure without getting any of the actual benefits; fast food taste great but it's not nutritional, fake boobs may look great but they're not any better at feeding a baby. He calls this optimizing for pleasure, "fitness faking," and suggests that by the time that we have the technology to visit another planet, we'll also have the technology to have a virtual experience of visiting another planet that's totally populated by hot people so why bother? So maybe the reason that we haven't seen any aliens is that they're all off pleasuring themselves. Anyways, that's what That Makes Me Think Of (TMMTO). Happy Friday.
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