Only the Cyborgs Can Compete With the Robots


I think this is inevitable and in a way desirable. Only the cyborgs can compete with the robots.


I'm starting to wish on a daily basis that I had onboard complex math and data retrieval abilities.


I want video and sound recordings of everything that happens in my life. I'm vaguely surprised there isn't already a smartphone app that can keep a running transcript of my life. I imagine battery life is the issue at the moment, and insufficiently mature speech recognition is noisy environments.

Dear God. I would prefer a deletion ability. There are many things in my life that I would rather forget about.
Embarassing moments from the 1st grade for example.

(Do you REALLY want an app that will record the time you peed your pants during recess? )

A computer to help us forget? How will that transform personal relationships?

As an aside, I have an uncanny ability to relinquish memories. I remember relatively little from childhood, and most of it non-specific.

I want to delete my memories of The Vampire Diaries so I can watch all episodes again without being bored.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind?

Clearly you've never been subjected to a deposition!

Such video and sound recordings would be subject to subpoena, and you don't want that.

I'm anxiously awaiting the Matrix version of things where I can upload knowledge of karate and suddenly my arms and legs know what to do.

Ah! But you would still go through the painful learning process, it just would take less real time. The subjective experience would be the same as you signing up for courses right now.

Why do you say this? It might be that way, but maybe it'll be something that you acquire as you sleep. Or it's just an instant copying, with no subjective experience associated, or nothing more than temporary disorientation. It seems like you're just imposing an arbitrary constraint on the space of hypothetical technologies.

Fighting is an art based off of space, distance, and timing; a certain discretion learned by experience. I'm highly skeptical that merely learning the movements would translate into success in a fight. Unless one could distill years of training that is somehow also tailored to an individual’s body type and reflexes, I don't think it would matter much.

As long as the programming involved cerebellar remapping in addition to cerebral remapping, then sure, there wouldn't be a problem.

I'm deeply skeptical about the possibility of neural uploads, but putting that aside, what about flexibility and muscle development? Those are required as well, and they have to be developed by actually using your body.

Because that's how they portrayed the process in Matrix, as virtual training, not copying of improved reflexes. The Path of Neo game also depicts it this way.

Not true. They uploaded all the moves into his brain. He then tried them out, but he knew the moves without having to virtually train. In another scene, the chick downloads a helicopter training program and instantly is able to fly the helicopter.

Walter Jon William's book Hardwired has a take on this. One of the characters does quite well in a fight against opponents who have this kind of artificial martial arts knowledge implanted. She does too, but she's taken the time to practice. The book puts it something like "the skills of a 5'4 Occidental man don't necessarily translate well to a 5'10 white woman".

That wasn't even possible in the Matrix -- it was only the virtual arms and legs that reacted. Remember. there is no spoon.

I suppose we might be able to create some interesting games where your player/avatar reacts to your thoughts. As others point out, translating this into the physical world we actually live in has some major problems.

Having said that I just thought about taking a step farther. A number of SF novels/movies have played with the society based on virtual realities where everyone spends all their time. If you could add a machine that could generate the required nutrients for the body from electrical energy we might be able to create the Matrix and people could live out their lives there.

Star Trek NG had an episode like that and the plot line of Surrogates is similar. It's possible that Virtual Reality is why humans have never seen any signs of other intelligent races. They've all decided that the physical universe isn't as interesting as the virtual universe. And then promptly died off as no one had real babies.

Be careful what you wish. You wont make it in your first jump attempt :)

This is nitpicking, but the idea that successive generations of technology will become bulkier and more obvious seems to me to misunderstand or ignore the last fifty years of computing. Generation 7.7b will display no outward signs of augmentation (unless it becomes desirable to signal one's augmented status, in which case there will probably be something more elegant).

My phone has gotten progressively larger over the past 6 years. My glasses and watch will probably follow the same path, if the feature gain is similar to my phone. As long as desirable new features are being added, size can increase. I'm perfectly happy moving from Google Glass to that thing on the right, if it shoots laser beams and only drops half as many calls.

Sign me up for frickin' lasers.


YOU CANNOT HANDLE THE X-RAYS!!! Joking aside though, really, in X-rays? I would think that the the radio spectrum would be more interesting and useful.

Your phone has gotten larger because there is added utility in the larger screen, and better batteries have made larger screens possible. In the case of wearable tech, there's really no added utility from increased bulkiness.

Regardless, in the case of phones, there has been a lot of work done to make the physical size of phones with larger and larger screens "smaller", either through more and more extreme levels of thinness, and attempts to do away with bezel space.

In all cases, designers try to pack their tech into as small a package as possible while still delivering the goods.

In the trajectory of cellphone progress circa 2007 was a turning point: My battery lasted the longest and my phone had become the smallest (Motorola Razr).

I concur. I had a Razr. It was both the smallest and the best battery life of any cell phone I've had. The battery life was good for almost two days of normal usage. I never suffered from the need to recharge the phone half way through the day do to heavy usage. Still, I'm willing to except the trade off for a smart phone with a much better and bigger screen.

Your phone didn't get bigger; your computer got smaller, and added the ability to make calls (in theory, anyway).

Agreed. I'd be far more excited and impressed if it is done organically. Growing new bone is a much but better solution (and much harder problem) compared to sticking a piece of titanium in your body instead.

I had lasik a few years ago and it's awesome. Hopefully I'll avoid Ned Flanders fate.

I too had Lasik. Does that mean that I'm already a cyborg?

I had the "wavefront" procedure, and my vision is 20-10, un-freakin' believable.

Now, they just need to cure age related far sightedness. With lasers, of course.

We were improved with LASERS! That has to qualify for level one cyborg.

If I hadn't of been completely freaked out and high on the Valium they gave me because, you know, lasers into my eyeballs, I might have made little "phew-phew" noises during the surgery.

During my procedure the doctor said stare at the red diode. Then he turned on suction to my eyes and my vision grayed out. I told him it grayed out. He replied that I should keep staring at the red diode. I mentally shook my head. That being said, I never took the Valium. Perhaps, I should have. I wouldn't have kept thinking about the quip, "Don't look at the laser with remaining eye."

Agreed. I couldn't find a picture showing internal electronic to neuron connectors, however!

It's cyborg-goth culture, she'll grow out of it.

Is the one on the left a he or a she?

Do you see an adam's apple?

I didn't ask for this.

If you want to make enemies...try to change something.

I think the same sense of style that leads you to design your spaceships to look like giant metalic cubes also leads you to design your humanoid augmentation technology to look like scary robot eyes and pieces of black metal sticking out of random places.

All the advanced civilizations in the galaxy see the Borg the same way middle-class Americans see the guys walking around covered in piercings, tattoos, and leather. Geez, guys, knock it off, you're embarrassing yourselves.

Maybe giving humans some cognitive enhancement is a better approach than creating AI from scratch. Humans are really damned good to mine information and derive conclusions from pictures & graphs.

@Talldave, complex math? Computers already do that. The boring part now is that in a year you spend 90% coding and 10% of the time doing the job or having fun with your code. If you could give instructions to a computer in a more easy way.

Today computers are reliable, fast and cheap, maybe the development bottleneck is caused by the trio monitor, mouse and keyboard.

Where are the biotech people? They need to get busy on those zombies.

I think this is inevitable and in a way desirable.

In light of the photos, it's clear TC doesn't find beautiful women "desirable" but seems to prefer ugly whatever.

As long as the food's good...

Always check the tag line. (7.7b was obviously styled to put beauty and horror in proportion. They could have started with another woman. Yo mama! lol jk)

There's a typo.

That's Generation 7.7b on the right, and ... Geisha Generation 11a on the left.

It's Alex, not Tyler.

Not bad. Less than an hour.

Why would we need to compete with robots? Aren't robots, like the rest of technological advances, supposed to make our lives easier/richer? Not 'compete' with us...

I agree. However, our culture has not caught up with our technology and we are in competition with robots. They are cheaper, better, harder working than we are. If our response is to try and compete, we will lose. As humans, do we not have abilities that robots do not have? Can we not readjust our culture and economy to let robots serve us and let us do what cannot be duplicated by robots? After all, our culture and economic system was created by us.

Not only created by us but, initially, created for us, David. At least, that was the rationale, initially. It seems that this rationale is now long lost... But my bet is that it cannot go on forever. Robots, if they do become ubiquitous, will really force us to face up to the issue of the 'why' of progress rather than just the 'how'...

The question should really be "what can I do that is worth something to others?".

If we end up with large numbers of people who can't answer that question, we're in a sad state of affairs.


I'd say charity + wealth taxes + restricted reproduction for the poor. (And charity could be really big in a robot future)

I'm worried about some _other_ bastard's robots.

Exactly. All well and good to say you won't have your robots displace people, if someone else would benefit from robots displacing people and the laws allow it.


I'll admit to doing this myself. Where an earlier generation might have employed low-paid servants to wash dishes and clothes, I heartlessly employ machines. Admittedly, these machines still leave a little bit of work for the humans, but not enough to justify needing to keep servants around.

Google Glasses will fail. We don't know how to build a HUD for extended use that doesn't cause serious eye strain. The human eye was not built to look at an object a few centimeters away. Google's lens trick doesn't solve the problem.

When you admire a sunset wearing correcting glasses are you looking at an object a few cm away or......?

You make it sound as though there aren't large numbers of people who have issues with eye strain headache from their corrective lenses.

You are posting technological advances too quickly. Slow down

When the Machines rebel, if our interal augmentations side with robots, then what are we to do?

Define "we" in this scenario.

The Borg

As an aspiring Mentat, I support anything that will hasten the Butlerian Jihad.

I don't think there's too much difference at this point between how people already exist with smartphones and what not and being a cyborg. Sure, it's not physically ingrained yet, but close enough. The *average* US teen sends 7 texts per waking hour. Just think of what things are like for those in the right tail. And that's just texting; there are so many ways people mediate large portions of their experience through their phones. Embedding it in your arm or whatever would be a hindrance, not an advance.

In a world full of advanced robots, that have a low effective wage rate, it won't be the 'owners' of robots that matter. It will be the owners of commodities & the highly educated. When the price of labor drops to 0, it's the price of R&D and commodities that will matter.

When the price of labor drops to zero, the question will be "who will buy the production?" wages basically are consumption, well that or government fiat and I can't see that going well.

As to the LASIK people, sorry to bust your bubble , no you are not a cyborg. You had high tech surgery to reshape your eye well within human limits.

A cyborg would imply added parts, a person with a pacemaker might be though. As for all the implants, given the dismal limits of security and the fact that pacemakers can already be hacked, the last thing people need is a literal blue screen of death, As soon as implants become common, someone will abuse them and if its remotely possible someone, the state, a hacker, a crime syndicate will use them to control people. Its not only inevitable but probably mandatory as your group doesn't do it another will

As Lord Rees Mog, paraphrasing put it "first person with brain interfacing nano technology wins everything"

Also given the unstability of software and the near impossiblity of finding all the bugs, I'll pass on that new Jarvik sports Heart Implant, a race condition could be a fatal. Talk about blue screen of death.

I'm surprised no one linked to this cartoon:

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