In the first part of this series I suggested that machines can own themselves. This seems reasonable and there are many good examples to show this, for instance, the self driving car that is a taxi. These are an incremental improvement on what we have today, there is more.
No pictures this time, I am on the road and Shona (our graphics whiz) is back at the office, I am sure she would say this post suffers greatly from lack of graphics and she is right.
Add autonomous networks to our picture
As I have said before though, bitcoin is a part of this system, there is much more required. One extremely important thing needed will be an autonomous data network. This is where MaidSafe fits into the picture. If these machines or systems could communicate, we will see real improvements. So, imagine again that self driving taxi. As one drives past a person looking for a taxi, it would automatically call any taxi in the proximity to pick up.
This is OK, but even we humans can do better than that. So now we add the ability to store, share and analyse data between all the taxis. Now what?
Now the cabs can take bookings, analyse traffic in real-time, work together to find the best repair deals and much more. Interestingly these taxis would not be killing anyone, breaking laws or telling lies about when they will arrive. They would also run at maximum financial efficiency, only charging what they required to say on the road. That seems like an improvement and one that actually costs less, saves fuel, helps the environment and provides a better service to us all. This is only the beginning.
A proof of concept of this could be done now. We have bitcoin, MaidSafe is ready and Google have the cars and the capital. There is no reason these improvements need to be decades away.
The dark side
Before I move on though, there could be a dark side. If these taxi’s could now recognise people, get to know where you live, work and play. The service may improve. They could be waiting near where you will want one etc. as they analyse patterns and behaviours. If the police and governments could use that data, its big trouble. This is where we are heading, but it is also why I keep harping on about autonomous machines and systems. If the limits of the system were defined correctly, spying will not happen, as it would break the maths. Of course there could be very good reason to allow some of these things to happen. If the laws could be into a system where they could be automatically carried out by machines, perhaps it would not be such a bad thing.
Imagine a thief spotted by the system, is captured and the crime stopped there and then, I am sure we all agree that seems like a good thing. Where are the limits though? This part will be a long way off, I hope.
Of course being able to code laws into a system would require the laws were logical, complete and that is another blog post, a worldwide legal system.
I see machines and services on the MaidSafe network calculating in real-time, the input’s and outputs of the systems language would be in a form that machines could quickly interpret. This data would be using many mathematical techniques, especially Bayesian Inference type tools, to enhance existing knowledge. As this will be real-time, then human understanding of this data will be minimal. It will also be a very limited view of the data that we humans could get. Decisions will be happening at very high speeds. At any time all we would see is a thought developing. I have no fear of misuse of advanced systems like this by humans. I think you need to bend logic to be evil and that act makes the system weak and easily defeated. It’s a reason I like computing and the sea (nature) etc. there are no lies in these things and that’s what makes them endure.
Now what can we do?
OK taxis are a good easy example, but this new system will bring things we could not imagine today. Take CT scans or X-rays, today we get them for specific issues when we feel some symptom. A doctor will get us processed to check our shoulder or whatever part ails us. A clinician will do the scan and a specialist (if we are lucky) will analyse the part of the scan that reflects the part in question. Why not scan out whole body?
The answer is humans are checking the scan and can only deal with small amounts of information. This is all only when we have suffered enough to begin this process.
If the medical machines such as scanners were all part of an autonomous system that could infer information as it went along then amazing things would happen. No longer would we have to wait until we we’re ill and have that part looked at. The whole body scan would be analysed by machines that will not miss anything. In addition the scans of every other person would be factored into the diagnosis. Where there were similar differences in organ sizes, skin impurities etc. then these factors would be included. This means you are treated by the best doctor in the world. the next person will take that title from you though.
Such systems would mean that we would be treated for ailments we never even knew we had or were about to get. Now it’s not difficult to take this several steps further and add in gene processing to the equation. Then the machines would be able to not only detect ailments, but be able to apply the exact medicine in the exact dose for our unique body.
So this is not machines competing with doctors, no there is no competition in this case.
The end of corruption
As machines award and search for suppliers and consumers to match requirements the days of bribery are over. A logical system would not understand what a bribe is never mind accept one. It makes no sense, invites errors into the system and would simply be rejected. The only way to win work will be to give a value that is now required, that is it.
The tax avoidance and evasion techniques employed by many large corporations and wealthy individuals, would simply not compute. These loopholes would just not exist.
Remove imbalances in world wealth
In a system managed by such machines, the supply should meet exactly the demand. This will mean that there will be a little borrowing to begin with, but as the system calculated all the parameters and adjusted its prediction models then supply would in fact equal demand. In such a system there would be zero trade deficit or debt. If the system had a baseline that ensured everyone had food, water, heat (or cool) and a comfortable dwelling then all additional perks may or may not exist during fluctuations in trade due to weather or unforeseen conditions in the marketplace. This would be most obviously implemented as a global tax the system made to ensure these basic needs. Over time these basics should include education and training to offer value to society.
Learn how to dream again
One place humans beat machines every time, is the ability to dream. These dreams make us unique and compel us to innovate, explore and reach beyond our capabilities. A trait apparently unique to us, or at least way more abundant in us than any other species we know of.
So many of us today, work very hard paying of debts we never created, for faceless people. Even those of us lucky enough to have no personal debt are having to pay government debt. Today we are a society so unhinged and confused that we dare not dream of better things. In some parts of the world over 50% of wealth is in financial services, 30% of all cash is hidden offshore and we are all trying to make what’s left for us stretch to allow us to live a little. If we remove the imbalances and work within a system that’s logical and to a set of rules we can easily see and agree on then these issues go away, immediately.
Then we will have people who can sit on hill in the sunshine and wonder WHAT IF?
Then we start moving forward again and reverse the decline created by imperfect and corrupt systems that we have in place today.
So just imagine a clear head, no worries whatsoever and just looking at a star or a bird or whatever and just think WHAT IF?
That is our logical destination and it will happen.
DI love your vision, but do you really think idealistic engineers (such as you and I) will control the design of all these systems, or that it really will be mathematically impossible to include a loophole here and there, allowing traditional human theft for example, or extraction of surveillance data on customers of these services, or… ?
You’re right about humans ability to dream!
It’s something we noticed building MaidSafe. Any attempt to bend a little even to include a revenue stream such as a % of a fee was not mathematically complete. I think MaidSafe is the first system to totally take a decentralised approach and its amazing when the pieces start interoperating there is no room for bent logic.
I am sure people will try though 🙂
Great read David, reminds me of a talk I watched on youtube with Mike Hearn on autonomous agents and the future. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pu4PAMFPo5Y , I’m liking the whole idea of MaidSafe , Bitcoin colab. great possibilities for the future.