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[DPRG] DARPA Grand Challenge

Subject: [DPRG] DARPA Grand Challenge
From: David Wilson wilson.david.m at me.com
Date: Wed Dec 18 19:54:56 CST 2013

> This goes back to my original premise, that a human(oid) form is not useful without a sophisticated human brain to operate it.  I've seen or heard nothing to alter that conclusion.   Except wishful thinking.  You know, a Positronic brain that suddenly become "intelligent" (whatever that means) by itself, the scientists don't understand how it works and don't have to ( a handy plot device when the author doesn't know either).  You know that famous cartoon: "...and then a miracle happens."
> I pretty sure the we (you and I) had this conversation about 20 years ago (remember, back when AI and useful autonomous robots were always just 10 years away? :)  That fact that we are having it again now, 2 decades later, speaks volumes.  If I'm right about all this then, God willing, we'll be having the same conversation 20 years from now.  

We are fast approaching the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek Communicator and the speaking computers that seemed so impossibly out of reach back in the 60s. 

I suggest that even Roddenberry demonstrated a lack of imagination and insight into what our personal communicators would become. He created significant gadget lust for 23rd-century functionality that looks pathetic and unmarketable by today's standards. We might even claim that the iPhone arrived 194 years too early for his universe and the first smart phone / PDA gadgets are even older.

Listen to some of us gray-beards and you might think the group would rather lug around 'easy to design' discrete devices. A simple camera. Hand cranked film movie camera. HP RPN calculator. Analog cell phone. Micro cassette voice recorder. Walkman. Mapsco. A real newspaper. I'm happy to live in a time when the difficult to achieve solution (smartphone with a real OS) is so widely available.

Mr Data will appear, eventually. His production date seems to be in the early 2300s. I suspect that our desire to achieve that goal is so strong that Roddenberry will again be off by a huge margin, on both the arrival date and on the actual functionality that is achieved.  

David Wilson

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