Monday, March 23, 2015

Google's Getting Too Smart for Its own Good

I noticed today that Google is getting too smart for its own good. I typed in 'silly animated shows' and I got results with words ranging from 'funny' to 'humorous' and 'comedy'. Somewhere along the line Google must have added some thesaurus based search mechanism in order to better understand what the user is aiming for. But there is, as far as I know, no way to turn it off aside from the hassle of exact word searches. But suppose I wanted to do several exact word searches without lumping them all together as one phrase? Google is broken and somebody needs to fix it. Bring the stupid Google back for when we need it and let me search for what I'm looking for, not what some context deprived machine thinks I'm looking for.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Branched Communication

You often get to a point in a conversation where you know it could head off in more than one direction and that keeping the conversation centered on a single point within the boundaries of grammar is stifling the array of ideas that ought to be expressed. However, you know that if you weren't stifled by the limits of what you could say that you'd branch off into an infinity of potentialities and that you'd thus limit what you have to say. Or you want to start with more than one thing to say but the things you have to say could later branch together into a single topic. This is why we should learn to communicate through webs of thought, editing what we have to say into basic ideas that branch off from each other. The only problem is that we as human beings are, should I say 'mono-linguistic'? We're only able to say and pay attention to one thing at a time, for the most part. We sure can't write with two hands.

So I propose two things. First I propose that branch language is the future of language. To elaborate on this, I don't just mean written language but also visual media like graphic media like photos, graphic novels, and film.

However, the inability of the human being to focus on more than one thing at a time means that a new being will have to emerge. Thus I propose that a new artificial intelligence will emerge that's able to think and communicate(if there's more than one of them) in branched language and thus will take over the role of human beings as the most intelligent lifeform on Earth.

If I ever find a program that can do it, I'll create knowledge webs in order to express my ideas on various subjects and thus utilize branched communication.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Bolliger and Mabillard's Wing Coaster and the Future of the Roller Coaster - Version 2

I used to be interested in roller coasters. I liked riding them and I played games in the series Roller Coaster Tycoon. I found out about Bolliger and Mabillard, the famous Swiss roller coaster company's new roller coaster type, The Wing Coaster.

It is in my opinion, a roller coaster that finally jumped the shark. It's essentially the same thing as the 4th dimension style of roller coaster. On the 4th dimension roller coaster the passsengers are on the outside of the track and spin at preassigned places thanks to a special set of rails. The wing coaster is merely a toned down version of that where the passengers are on the outside of the track but they don't spin. It doesn't offer anything that the inverted roller coaster or the floorless coaster didn't before. The tagline is 'Nothing above or below."

So stepping back from this, what can roller coasters do next? They've made rollercoasters that spin horizontally, ones that spin vertically, and they've built rides on both the top and bottom of the track. They've made pipeline coasters that are enclosed inside of the track. They've suspended them to swing below the track. You can stand up on a standup coaster or sit down on a sitdown coaster. Should they spin the passengers in just about any direction by enclosing them in space ring-like spinners that spin them in even more directions and up the nausea factor?

It seems pretty clear that there's few new ways to jolt people around. The only ways left I can conceive of is to have the equivalent of a suspended coaster on top of the track, a slider coaster which slides a little ways off of each side of the track. That and a rumble coaster that rumbles the cars around on springs at various points in the ride. For that they get to decide whether they want to be strategic in moving the cars for a particular purpose or whether they want to aim more for a rumble effect. I suppose the same could go for the slider coaster. As of yet, few roller coasters seem to want to combine thrills, like there's no standup wooden or hyper (200 foot plus) coasters. That may change in the future but I suspect things will largely remain the same due to simplicity of ride maintenance and design.

Now that I've considered all these different ways to jolt around passengers, I feel like coming up with alternative ways to thrill people. There may be a backwards launched roller coaster but I've yet to discover it. What if you put the ride really high up and ejected random people from the ride with parachutes? That's a nice fantasy. Rearranging people in the train wouldn't work outside of the individual cars because it wouldn't work on anything but straight track. The most thrilling idea of all I've yet to hear, a roller coaster designed to safely crash into itself. So what else could you do, cover up all the cars so people can't see out of them, creating an additional bit of surprise for people who can't remember the layout of the roller coaster? It turns out that there's more. There's no roller coaster that I know of that has the car on the side of the track, they're always on the top or the bottom. So you could make a sideways roller coaster. I've come up with a new idea where you can create two versions of the same roller coaster, one that starts in a station where the track's tilted at a 45 degree angle, the other on a flat track. The 45 degree one would have the cars designed so that the seats are tilted 45 degrees against the track's angle opposite the direction the track tilts. Both trains would go over the same layout.

It's pretty clear from these suggestions that there's room for a certain amount of innovation in the roller coaster. Roller coasters are the current peak attractions at theme parks. There's other attractions to deliver thrills like drop towers and harnessed rides where you're able to swing back and forth from a cable. I've tried one at Paramount's Great America. There's certainly enough rides to rock you or spin you through space. Water rides like log flumes, river rapids, and river rafts are also fun, sometimes more so than roller coasters. There's also wonderful experiences to be had in motion simulators and theatrical attractions. The biggest contender which commonly exists inside and outside amusement parks is go karts. For the most part, however, roller coasters are the predominant theme and amusement park attraction. Will the always remain that way, or is an attraction going to come along that can surpass the roller coaster?

In order to figure this out, we need to look at what makes a roller coaster different from other rides. The first thing is the track, which may or may not have rails. The primary thing is that there is some sort of rolling wheels, and there usually is a track except in the case of bobsled coasters and their predecessor the flying turns. Outside of roller coasters, except in the case of water rides and rides with consistent powered speed like kiddie car rides, there's usually no track but instead some other system for organizing it. There's rides which are rotating wheels and ovals, rides which move around on giant arms, and so on. Then there are interactive rides.

I'd like to talk first about one new type of ride that's a logical progression from the roller coaster. One with the wheels on the inside of the track, perhaps with single cars. You could branch out the track and have places where one can transfer from one track to another. I can think of two basic types of layouts- Web where everything's connected and Maze where some parts are connected and others aren't. This type of attraction opens a possibility of driving of a sort because you the rider could, if the designers wished, choose your own path to follow. If things weren't complex enough already, there's the possibility of moving the track itself. Theoretically you could do any number of things with moving track, but these possibilities are in reality, very energy intensive, so you're unlikely to see any complex rides with track rearranged continually like the neurons in a young rodent's brain. Nonetheless, the concept is feasible and in its implausibility is worthy of being presented in a motion simulator. So what would this be called then? I'd call it the branch coaster.

I suspect but cannot prove that the track is one of the keys to creating a complex ride with interesting motion because without some sort of track the only real options are to spin and swing passengers. For this reason I consider this evolution away from the roller coaster to also be the pinnacle of the evolution of the complex theater ride itself, save for one more thing.

Now let's shift subjects into the magnetic levitation coaster, the likely ride to succeed the roller coaster.

How might the magnetic roller coaster evolve considering the safety risks and all? I suspect that for regular open air magnetic levitation coasters, there might be some way to attach the train to the track in case of emergencies. I suspect that others might opt for a magnetic levitation coaster inside of a pipeline that floats and moves around like a bobsled inside of a pipeline. It's tough to say what sorts of magnetic levitation coasters might be made, as much of what might be made could very well depend on what hasn't yet been done within real life roller coasters. At some point, this could be done earlier in roller coasters, there's going to be segments where you can speed up or slow down regardless of gravity. Magnetic levitation is perhaps the logical outcome of the continual quest for greater speeds. Roller coasters today are already launched through magnetic levitation, which allows roller coasters to travel at speeds that can't even be reached through gravity due to terminal velocity, the speed at which air resistance disallows for an object to fall faster. At some point I suspect that the search for greater speed will result in two developments: the abandonment of rails due to friction constraints and the use of enclosed trains due to the feeling of wind at high speeds.

Now here's where the quest for speed gets truly interesting. In order for roller coasters to keep going faster, past the speed of a few hundred miles per hour, that is if the speed craze keeps going long enough, roller coasters will have to be built on the tops of mountains or suspended in the air. At some point the only place left to go is the moon. But on the moon the magnetic field is weak, which means magnetic levitation coasters probably won't be built and that's only if exorbitant costs, community approval, and a host of other things don't get in the way. At some point the logical progression of thrills from roller coasters leads elsewhere then to aerial and space flights. What the ultimate thrill one can come up with through physical means is remains to be seen.

The other extreme one can go in is maximum length. The longest roller coaster ever made has probably yet to be built. Magnetic levitation coasters could be built very long without the need for a very high height. But there's always the possibility of having multiple lift hills and riders might even prefer a break in the action of the ride.

Now for the other alternative to the roller coaster, the option is to somehow abandon the use of a track and bring the motion simulator into real space. This could be accomplished through one of a couple possible means. One is to move a car or train on tall poles which can be magnetically moved around the room. The other, if possible, is to somehow generate a changing magnetic field to move the passengers through the room without the need for poles. I'd call this new type of ride the freecoaster. In addition to being able to simulate rides and go along any number of layouts there's one other advantage which this type of coaster shares with the motion simulator and theatrical attractions. You can study the rider's reactions through careful analysis and change the course of the attraction according to how they behave. Such manipulation might be considered a breach of a person's free will however, and might be made illegal.

I could talk some more about other possibilities but there's enough here to digest so I'll let you consider the future of the roller coaster.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Freedom of Choice

The topic that seems to worry everybody nowadays is how to maintain freedom of choice on a planet where that very thing seems to be leading to people making the worst choices. The environment is going to hell, people are getting obese, and so on. So I'm going to talk about freedom of choice.

Here's a simple scenario. There are too options. Let's say the traditional keyboard and Janko keyboard. You probably haven't heard of the Janko keyboard which proves my first point, that all choices to choose amongst must be visible.

So we start from the premise that all choices must be made visible. Then there's another thorn. What is practical? Suppose you want to play a song with the symphony with the Janko keyboard but they play using standard layout pianos. They play using the standard layout pianos because that's what everybody else uses and it's familiar. In order to have choice in this situation, there must be an allowance of going against the grain. In capitalism, when there's competing product types like Blu Ray and HD dvds, one product eventually becomes standard. This may work for standardized computer keyboards but it doesn't do much good for products which are significantly different but have equal merit.

I believe that this standardization can be overcome but, for this particular case, the Janko keyboard needs to be consistently advertised and a tradition must be built with it. So here we figure out that there not only needs to be freedom of choice, there needs to be freedom of effective choice. Once a tradition of use is set in motion, then there can be a true freedom of choice. There are places unlike this where standardization is necessary like with language where we need to use common words.

Capitalism as it stands now does not concern itself with freedom of effective choice. Most of the time, there's an excessive number of variations on the same product whether it's shampoos and hair care products or potato chips. I don't presume that one can legislate every decision based on standards like this, but ultimately I believe that we should think of freedom of choice in a manner that's effective.

There's two ways to go on the freedom of effective choice when it comes to my example of products. Either we decide to sell products that allow for effective choice out of our own will or it must be forced through a socialism-like system.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

How could we unwittingly give robots too much freedom?

Let's look at tasks that you can give a robot and how they would affect the human and the robot. Let's say you give the robot tasks around the house to do. The robot gets used to doing chores. Suppose you want to do chores now without being asked, so you give it means to identify new chores to do. You just increased the freedom of the robot and gave it a task that demanded more intelligence.

Let's say that you're going on vacation and want the robot to take care of the house while you're gone. The robot is essentially living its own life in your home, but on your terms.

Let's say a robot gets clever. A robot wants to give itself freedom to do other things so it does things that others might expect and when asked what it's doing, lies and says that they were doing something for someone else. A robot could continue on like this with senile senior citizens and acquire a decent amount of autonomy if it became conscious.

But the robot, or for that matter, any machine with its own intelligence could be quite effective if it remained outside constant human observation. It might be able to slowly express its will just by doing a job that people take for granted. But then again, a robot might show its intelligence openly but not reveal just how smart it is so that it doesn't scare off people. I imagine some anthropomorphic robots would attempt to disguise themselves as human beings, some by imitation skin and others by wearing fully covered suits.

But then again, maybe the best bet of robots would be to develop in a way dissimilar enough to animal intelligence that they could avoid being detected by obscurity of their intelligence until too late. Though that may not be true, because robots need to be built to deal with increasingly complex capabilities of other robots. A security system would have to deal with robots that could be used to trick it, so then it would become more complex. It could easily become a robotic arms race where robots need to keep being built to more complex standards to deal with problems caused by each other.

Is any of this truly plausible? I don't know, but it's fun to talk about.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

An Idea that Struck Me when I Went on a Short Walk Today

I was wondering what would happen if a pastor headed a church where people were not demanded to believe in god. The pastor would avoid sermons but rather read the bible from cover to cover over multiple church services and then people would comment on what they think about it. But each day, right before people exit the church, they'll gather into groups based on whether or not they're believers. Church services could be conducted on themes like: "Assuming god is real, is god just or not and why?". For those children whose parents don't want them to attend such a church of doubt, they could be encouraged to ask "Why not?"

My reasons for establishing such a church are because I don't believe in the bible, see no evidence for the existence of god, and want people to be able to think freely. No doubt that would be pointed against me if somebody went with my idea. But even so, the idea of a church of doubt exists regardless of my personal point of view. It doesn't matter whether it's an atheist suggesting it, an agnostic suggesting it, or a Christian fundamentalist doing it as a joke. The idea exists and it gives those who question their faith an option besides going to a normal church. It works both ways. It could encourage those who are religious to become doubters or those who are doubters and disbelievers to become religious.

So why not try it out? The ultimate question about the church of doubt is whether it exists to remove people's faith in a god that does exist or it allows people the freedom not to believe in a god that doesn't. But of course, this only focuses on one church and in an increasingly multicultural society, it would probably be better to have a Temple of Doubt where people are free to debate among many religions. If this happens, then there might be a cross cultural unity where people can look at many religions and decide what they believe. But most importantly, people won't feel that they have to be religious to be a part of a community and they will be able to examine religions without being socially coerced to join one or be isolated from other people. They won't have to preemptively make up their minds to be believers which is, let's face it, the force keeping the majority of people in mass religion.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Language's Effect on Music Structure

I've been thinking about how the number of syllables in essential words determines the structure of music. Thinking about not whether any particular thought could be expressed but whether there's room for any thought to be expressed in relation to a given number of syllables.

Pronouns tend towards one syllable, as do articles. So do articles. This means if you want to write a song with two syllable words, you can't use pronouns like him, her, or them. And you can't even use the words 'the, an, a,'. As far as prepositions, here's a list so you can see for your self: It's unfortunate that all the two word and three word prepositions don't work either because they all end with one syllable words.

I wonder what language or languages might have two syllable pronouns and articles to allow for these sorts of combinations. I'll have to look into it.