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Author Topic: The Robotics Revolution  (Read 2158 times)

Offline Raptori

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The Robotics Revolution
« on: June 16, 2016, 03:43:51 AM »
According to the experts, lots of jobs that you might not think of as at risk from automation are actually highly at risk. That includes web design/development (my job), game development, fiction writing, and so on. The general conclusion, iirc, was that anything that does not involve a large amount of human interaction is at risk to some degree.

Does that mean we should halt all research into AI? I just don't see how that can be a justification. You can take into account the implications of a new technology without having to keep the world exactly as it is right now. It can mean upheaval in those industries, and large numbers of people (myself included) will have to adapt, but on the whole progress has been a good thing for quality of life. It's not like the entire world is a perfect and rosy utopia right now, so it's weird that people fight so much to keep things the way they are.

At the very least, on-demand book printing is likely to be far better for the environment than the current situation, with companies gambling on selling x number of copies and generally printing twice as many books they expect to sell.
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: The Robotics Revolution
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2016, 09:11:23 PM »
Robots will take over fiction writing??

Wha... uh...

Oh, boy.

I'll notify your next of kin... that you sucked!

Offline Lanko

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Re: The Robotics Revolution
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2016, 09:18:13 PM »
Robots will take over fiction writing??

Wha... uh...

I remember years ago someone made a "Bioware Cliché chart". They could just use some predefined parameters and randomize stuff for plot and characters. Who knows?

(1) You hail from humble origins

(2) A devastating battle sends your quiet life spinning out of balance
 
(3) The attack leaves you alone with two companions, of magical and martial prowess
 
(4) Undaunted by the attack, you recover and are swiftly invited into an elite order that places you in a position of power or authority over the rest of humanity.
 
(5) You discover that you must travel to four main locations in order to save the world/galaxy
 
(6) With your mission well under way, your every effort is thwarted by any evil or sinister organization -
 
(7) At some point you fall asleep and there is a dream sequence
 
(8 ) Further along in your journeys, you discover the ruins of a sprawling ancient civilization

http://mmoqq.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/swtornerdchart.png

Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline Raptori

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Re: The Robotics Revolution
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2016, 10:32:25 PM »
Hopefully it won't happen any time soon! People are working on it though - for example: Japanese AI writes novel which passes the first round of a national literary prize???
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: The Robotics Revolution
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2016, 11:26:02 PM »
Hopefully it won't happen any time soon! People are working on it though - for example: Japanese AI writes novel which passes the first round of a national literary prize???

I have to wonder... why? Why make robots that can WRITE? I can understand doctor robots, soldiers robots, manual labour robots, rescue worker robots... but why FICTION robots? Creativity is not a dangerous undertaking, or one that no-one really wants to do.
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Offline Raptori

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Re: The Robotics Revolution
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2016, 11:37:06 PM »
Hopefully it won't happen any time soon! People are working on it though - for example: Japanese AI writes novel which passes the first round of a national literary prize???

I have to wonder... why? Why make robots that can WRITE? I can understand doctor robots, soldiers robots, manual labour robots, rescue worker robots... but why FICTION robots? Creativity is not a dangerous undertaking, or one that no-one really wants to do.
Money. If you create an AI that can write fiction of a similar quality to human-authored fiction, then you've essentially made yourself a licence to print money. Especially because it'd take the AI little time at all to produce each book.

Once you've written a book, the hardest part is gaining an audience, right? Just imagine the amount of press coverage the first decent AI-written novel will get. People will buy the novel to see it for themselves. And, since as above it's comparable quality to human-authored fiction, many of those people will then purchase other AI-books.

It might not turn out that way, but to me it's the most logical outcome. Quite depressing though.
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: The Robotics Revolution
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2016, 11:40:36 PM »
Money. If you create an AI that can write fiction of a similar quality to human-authored fiction, then you've essentially made yourself a licence to print money. Especially because it'd take the AI little time at all to produce each book.

Once you've written a book, the hardest part is gaining an audience, right? Just imagine the amount of press coverage the first decent AI-written novel will get. People will buy the novel to see it for themselves. And, since as above it's comparable quality to human-authored fiction, many of those people will then purchase other AI-books.

It might not turn out that way, but to me it's the most logical outcome. Quite depressing though.

Hmm. I won't deny that the robot future scares me a bit, and the first AI book probably would sell well for the novelty, but I think it's like the difference between a photo and a painting. There will always be a value to something you know a human being created through skill and actual passion.
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Offline Lanko

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Re: The Robotics Revolution
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2016, 11:53:41 PM »
I think robot actors will come first, though. Imagine the millions Hollywood would save and all the hindrances directors (assuming those remain human) would not have to endure anymore. People would probably protest, but writers are pretty much invisible, though.
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: The Robotics Revolution
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2016, 12:00:47 AM »
I think robot actors will come first, though. Imagine the millions Hollywood would save and all the hindrances directors (assuming those remain human) would not have to endure anymore.

I think an AI actor will decide that substance abuse, prima donna nonsense, public breakdowns and narcissism are an integral part of the movie star role, and nothing will change.  :)
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Offline Lanko

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Re: The Robotics Revolution
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2016, 12:06:46 AM »
"How dare you charge me on the kitchen electric outlet, you fool! And no, 220v is too much for my sensible aluminum! Use 120v!"

"Polish me better! Use French wax, not American!"

"I can't believe the Academy awarded him an Asimov! His firmware is two versions behind mine!"
« Last Edit: June 26, 2016, 12:09:50 AM by Lanko »
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Offline Raptori

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Re: The Robotics Revolution
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2016, 12:09:23 AM »
Money. If you create an AI that can write fiction of a similar quality to human-authored fiction, then you've essentially made yourself a licence to print money. Especially because it'd take the AI little time at all to produce each book.

Once you've written a book, the hardest part is gaining an audience, right? Just imagine the amount of press coverage the first decent AI-written novel will get. People will buy the novel to see it for themselves. And, since as above it's comparable quality to human-authored fiction, many of those people will then purchase other AI-books.

It might not turn out that way, but to me it's the most logical outcome. Quite depressing though.

Hmm. I won't deny that the robot future scares me a bit, and the first AI book probably would sell well for the novelty, but I think it's like the difference between a photo and a painting. There will always be a value to something you know a human being created through skill and actual passion.
I'm not so sure. The value of a painting is more that it's a unique item, rather than an expression of passion - otherwise people would pay the same for a print as they would an original painting. Plus people care a lot about the story behind a painting - who made it, what their intentions were, etc - whereas (genre) fiction is all about the experience.
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Offline tebakutis

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Re: The Robotics Revolution
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2016, 12:31:40 AM »
I'm not so sure. The value of a painting is more that it's a unique item, rather than an expression of passion - otherwise people would pay the same for a print as they would an original painting. Plus people care a lot about the story behind a painting - who made it, what their intentions were, etc - whereas (genre) fiction is all about the experience.

I'm not quite sure if I agree or disagree. If you're saying people care about the passion and person behind books, then yes, I agree. If you're saying they don't, then I disagree. Experience isn't everything.

I may easily be proven wrong one day, but I don't see how AI written books will ever be anything more than a novelty. I simply look at my own tastes. While I enjoy reading books, part of my enjoyment comes from sharing the story with its author. When I read a really good book, I feel like the author and I have shared something together that we wouldn't have otherwise. I wouldn't ever feel that way with an AI.

Also, I have a decent amount of programming experience, and I have a good idea of what needs to go into any algorithm that generates content, whether fiction or not. There's a lot you can do, but ultimately, what the program generates is limited by the options included in its code, which are written by engineers.

The simplest method I can think of to create an AI story would be to create a program that combines an engineer generated array of plot elements in a random order, with some hard-coded connecting bits to make sure the story has a beginning, middle, and end. You would get a story out of this, but not a *great* story, and you would quickly see trends emerge. The pattern would become obvious.

Half of the fun of reading a book is experiencing the author's voice (the clever phrasing they use, or the twists in the dialogue, or parallel sentence structure, or whatever makes the book interesting). There's an art to the written word that's very difficult to program in any way that won't end up feeling repetitive. Also, humans have the ability to make logical and intuitive leaps that are very difficult for a program. That's why it's going to be a very long time (if it ever happens) before we'll see AIs making a variety of bad puns or telling funny jokes. The associations have to be programmed, and soon enough, the effort and cost (what you're paying the programmers) to add the variation far exceeds any return.

Compare the per hour rate of the average engineer at my company to your average traditional press author, and you'll be in the red pretty quick. :)

Finally, the largest reason I'm not worried about AI written books is that, in general, most of the tasks I've seen relegated to automation are tasks people DON'T want to do, or tasks which companies DON'T want to pay people for. Neither of these things is true with novels. There are already a giant pool of people who *want* to write books (storytelling is one of the most common human desires) and, for the most part, no one pays them anything. We've already got more "free" output waiting for publication than we know what to do with.

Money only exchanges hands in the rare case a publisher finds a book they like, and the size of the available slush pile will always dwarf purchased work. There's simply no need for AI written books because there's already such a ridiculous amount of free, desperate to be purchased human output available.

Though again, I could be wrong! But my instincts tell me not to worry. I'd certainly, as people suggest, purchase the first AI written novel as a novelty, and out of curiosity, but it would be a one time thing. It would never replace my desire to read books written by my fellow humans.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2016, 12:34:47 AM by tebakutis »

Offline m3mnoch

Re: The Robotics Revolution
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2016, 01:51:42 AM »
does it really matter since the chances are ridiculously high that we're just living in a simulation anyway?

i mean, it could be rebooted at any time, right?

Offline Lanko

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Re: The Robotics Revolution
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2016, 03:09:19 AM »
does it really matter since the chances are ridiculously high that we're just living in a simulation anyway?

i mean, it could be rebooted at any time, right?

And when our hard disk is getting close to full, we are formatted, right? Some people may call it "reincarnation".
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline JMack

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Re: The Robotics Revolution
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2016, 11:47:41 AM »
does it really matter since the chances are ridiculously high that we're just living in a simulation anyway?

i mean, it could be rebooted at any time, right?

And when our hard disk is getting close to full, we are formatted, right? Some people may call it "reincarnation".

Or in some cases, "corrective action". :p
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