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Science and Technology MEGA THREAD


Max Jenius

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6 hours ago, Seto Kaiba said:

Of course, because those thermonuclear fusion bombs use a nuclear fission bomb as a trigger, they still release dangerous radioactive fallout despite the primary product of fusion being intense heat. 

Also, many had a uranium casing that would undergo fission when the fusion reaction pumped it full of neutrons, making them fission-fusion-fission bombs, which were very powerful for their size and also EXTREMELY dirty.

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I'm wondering how long before they use the technology in those robots to make remote control automatons.  They could be very useful in dangerous activity, fire fighting, mining, deep sea welding, etc...   I'm assuming the cost is way too high for now and perhaps energy use if it cannot be externally supplied.

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8 minutes ago, Dynaman said:

I'm wondering how long before they use the technology in those robots to make remote control automatons.  They could be very useful in dangerous activity, fire fighting, mining, deep sea welding, etc...   I'm assuming the cost is way too high for now and perhaps energy use if it cannot be externally supplied.

They did try to use spot, but too many people complained about it out of unfounded fear 

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4 minutes ago, Big s said:

They did try to use spot, but too many people complained about it out of unfounded fear 

Well, give it time. We've been using unmanned, sometimes AI-controlled, drones to prosecute war for decades now. It's part of the modern landscape, as it were. People fear change and more so, what they don't understand, and more than that, preconceptions instilled in them by decades of cautionary tales in the form of fiction. That's not to say we should forge ahead without precautions; maybe I've seen Terminator one too many times, but real-world AI is still a burgeoning science, and we simply don't know how it will react should it ever become self-aware, or aware of its place in this human-run world. Caution is warranted. However, we have a historical tendency to project the worst of ourselves onto other things, be they natural or man-made, and that often colors our biases. AI may prove to be our salvation over time instead of our end, as we often pessimistically predict. It remains to be seen. 

I'm a fan of giving AI the benefit of the doubt, as there's certainly a use for it in dangerous occupations/ situations where a machine-run machine can spare a human life or lives, and maybe even save some in the process. I think it's worth finding out.

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3 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

Well, give it time. We've been using unmanned, sometimes AI-controlled, drones to prosecute war for decades now. It's part of the modern landscape, as it were. People fear change and more so, what they don't understand, and more than that, preconceptions instilled in them by decades of cautionary tales in the form of fiction. That's not to say we should forge ahead without precautions; maybe I've seen Terminator one too many times, but real-world AI is still a burgeoning science, and we simply don't know how it will react should it ever become self-aware, or aware of its place in this human-run world. Caution is warranted. However, we have a historical tendency to project the worst of ourselves onto other things, be they natural or man-made, and that often colors our biases. AI may prove to be our salvation over time instead of our end, as we often pessimistically predict. It remains to be seen. 

I'm a fan of giving AI the benefit of the doubt, as there's certainly a use for it in dangerous occupations/ situations where a machine-run machine can spare a human life or lives, and maybe even save some in the process. I think it's worth finding out.

Tooo many people remember Terminator and not enough remember Short Circuit.

I think it’s gonna be a while before these kind of robots are trusted by the public. People are even scared to hear that police departments have been using drones in some areas and they hear stories of Drones being used in war, but a revolutionary robot that could help mankind especially in rescue situations is gonna get the most fear. I think that’s why Boston Dynamics spent so much time on a dance video. People eventually will get used to their robots, but it’s gonna take time

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3 hours ago, Dynaman said:

I was thinking more along the lines of remote control and not robots.  Spot was a robot IIRC and not remote controlled.  There are plenty of dangerous jobs (firefighting for example) that require human agility to do.

Spot had different modes of control from what I saw on Adam Savage’s Tested show. It had remote control or programmable modes that blended the two. The atlas had a similar type of control as well 

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17 hours ago, Dynaman said:

I was thinking more along the lines of remote control and not robots.  Spot was a robot IIRC and not remote controlled.  There are plenty of dangerous jobs (firefighting for example) that require human agility to do.

Agreed, but what Boston Dynamics is already doing is far beyond what I ever imagined I would see in my lifetime; it's sci-fi wrought real, and it's impressive beyond the pale. I'm awestruck every time I see one of their robots doing some feat, be it climbing stairs, doing somersaults, or just picking up a box, carrying it somewhere else, and depositing it. Even if the robot drops its parcel, the programming and technical difficulties behind all those movements and coordination is staggering. So, given the current state of the technology, and the pace at which tech advances in this era, I'm reasonably certain that an autonomous AI-controlled robot will be reality, and possibly in some limited service, by the time I expire. I'm 51 now, and coming from a long-lived family, barring no accidents, diseases, zombie apocalypses. or nuclear holocaust, I'll likely live well into my eighties, and I hope to see it become a reality in a positive way before I push daisies.

 

Edited by M'Kyuun
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11 hours ago, Mog said:

I wish they'd put a cardboard box in Generation Zero- man that game's tough, especially going it alone.

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So... Amazon had a lightning deal the other day, so I bought a pair of Viture One XR glasses.

For the unfamiliar, they're a bit like really chunky sunglasses, but with micro OLED displays built into them.  Now, they don't have compute hardware built in; out of the box they don't do anything on their own, and you'll need to use the included cable to plug it into any device that supports USB-C Display Port Alt mode.  This is mostly PCs and Macs (including devices like the Steam Deck and ROG Ally), most Android phones (but weirdly, not Pixels), and iPhones and iPads that use USB-C.  They make an adapter (sold separately) to use with older iPhones/iPads, and an HDMI dock with a built-in battery (sold separately) to use with things like game consoles (including the Nintendo Switch).

The gist is pretty simple (mind you, I've only tested it on a Windows laptop, an ROG ally, and a Macbook Air).  You plug the glasses into the device, then the glasses display a virtual screen.  On both laptops the default behavior was to duplicate the desktop, on the Ally it turned off the Ally's screen.  For the most part, the image is pretty good.  There are buttons on one of the stems for adjusting the brightness of the virtual display, and another button that toggles the opacity of the glasses.  In my living room, I was able to play Fallout 3 using the glasses, and only occasionally would I notice anything on the actual TV I was facing as my girls watched Netflix.  If you need more opacity, Viture does sell a clip-on cover (again, sold separately).  Viture advertises the virtual screen as 120", and... kind of?  On the couch, the virtual screen definitely seemed to cover more of my field of view than the 80" screen in our living room, which I was sitting at least 15' from.  But it also seemed smaller than my 27" monitor does from less than 3' away, so it's kind of relative.  With the adjustable diopter settings the screen was fairly sharp.  Text is mostly legible, but it can get a little blurry in the corners.  In a suitably dark environment the colors are rich and vibrant, too; Fallout 3 looked better on the glasses than on my laptop's built-in screen.  I'll also note that the audio from the glasses is reasonably adequate.

That being said, you're probably not going to use the glasses as your main display at your desk.  For one, they're limited to 1080p 60fps.  If you game on PC, chances are you have a monitor that has a higher resolution, a higher refresh rate, or both.  And they only create one virtual screen; you could in theory use them as a second screen, but you'll have to tilt your head way up to peak at the actual screen from under the lenses.

The glasses come with multiple nose clips, and I had little trouble finding a fit that didn't slide down.  The glasses are a tad too narrow for my face.  Could just be that I have a big head, but other reviews I've read have mentioned it, so I think maybe Viture's engineers just have tiny heads.  The stems flex out, though, and I didn't find the glasses to be uncomfortable to wear.

So what's the use-case for these?  The main use seems to be for people playing videogames on handheld devices like the Steam Deck and ROG Ally (this was my primary interest).  Those devices don't have super high resolutions or refresh rates in the first place, and until recently weren't available with OLED screens.  And sure enough, having a big OLED screen that appears to hover in front of your face beats hunching over a 7" screen in your lap.  It's especially nice when you're lying it bed, because you don't have to prop your head up.  The screen will float near the ceiling if that's where you're naturally facing.  It's nice, too, to be near my girls when they're watching something on TV but to have my own private screen for something else if I'm not interested in whatever they're watching.  I could also see them being useful if you're a road warrior.  You'd have a bigger virtual display than the 14" screen that seems to be standard on a lot of thin-and-light laptops, with the added bonus that other people around you in coffee shops or airports can't see your screen.  Heck, load up a phone or a tablet with your favorite video content and you'd have a better screen than the one built into the seat in front of you on an airplane (assuming the airplane screen even works) that stays in front of your eyes no matter where you turn your head.

The Viture One's greatest strength might also be it's biggest weakness, though.  One the one hand, by tethering it to another device the glasses themselves are small and light enough to be comfortably worn for a long time; you don't have to strap on a bulky headset like you would with the Meta Quest or Apple Vision Pro.  They're nice and portable, as they come with a case that can store the glasses and the cable.  But that makes them seem relatively expensive, at around $440 (though almost always on sale for under $400) on Amazon.  That's like halfway between a Quest 2 and Quest 3.  And if you're not moving around, if you're going to sit at a desk, you can almost certainly buy a 27" monitor with better specs.

Ultimately, I think what I've done is become an early adopter for technology that will become more commonplace as it improves and comes down in price.  They work pretty well for what they do and they have some interesting use-cases, sure, but they're not really game-changing enough for most people to justify dropping $400 on them.  Cut that price in half, though, and I think you'd have an indispensable accessory for everyone who's played a game on a Steam Deck on their commute or for anyone who spends more time on the road than in their office.

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