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November 21st, 2012, 22:05
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
So, effectively you're proposing a society functionally similar to the ship from Wall-E. Machines do it all while we revel in our indolence and think deep thoughts.
I can imagine that's the kind of scenario you have in sight when hearing about this, yeah

I understand that you're stipulating a rather magical boost in technological capabilities, but that seems like a rather wide-eyed expectation. About a decade ago, the Japanese got extremely excited about "lights out" factories—ones that had no workers beyond maintenance crews. Those facilities have largely failed, or have been redesigned to include human workers. The reason? Robots simply don't have the compliance to deal with variation. The tolerance stack on anything more complicated than a toothpick will eventually, as a statistical certainty, result in a situation that robots simply can't handle.
You seem to think we're talking about sophisticated machinery - and we're not. This isn't some kind of futuristic AI controlled scenario where machines are making decisions. The technology is not new and has been feasible for decades. The reason it hasn't been built is that there hasn't been a need for it.

The "boost" is about lasting capacity and expandability. It's about minimal maintenance requirements and optimal materials. Basic models could be built within a few years - but what we want is to maximise lasting capacity and minimise the need for maintenance. This is part of the years of research required - and if we're to develop new technology - it wouldn't be machinery as much as new and superior materials.
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