Nature’s processor

When you get any image on your PC and zoomed a bit too much you will find small squares with different colors called pixels. Well, nature too has its pixels, and it’s called subatomic particles (of course it got that name because it’s smaller than an atom)In computers, the data that are being used are only the ones loaded. Our minds do pretty much the same thing with nature’s data or, the subatomic particles. (you didn’t get it, I know.. bear with me)
Lets take computer games as an example (because I love gaming). In Need For Speed Underground 2, I once had a cheat code that lets me freeze the camera position while the car still going, when the car goes too far from the camera position the objects (buildings, other cars, road,..etc) start to disappear and the world goes black. Why ? because the memory of the PC is too little to hold all the rendered objects at once, so to overcome this problem the PC renders only the objects around the car, like a virtual circle around the car and moving with it, if the object is inside this circle then it’s loaded, if outside it’s not. This way you feel the world of the game real because it’s visible wherever you goes to, but you don’t see what’s happening in the background of the game to deliver this immersive realism.
Just like in computers, particles are in unknown state unless they are being observed, at this moment your mind renders them to see them the way they are. This takes us to Schrödinger’s cat, one of the proofs to the superposition principle of the quantum theory (the one I understood so far..)

Imagine a cat is placed in a room that is shielded from the environment. A Geiger counter and a little bit of a radioactive element are in the room. Within some time, say one hour, one of the atoms of the radioactive element may decay, or it may not. The Geiger counter can of course measure that. If it does measure the decay, it will release some poisonous gas, which will kill the cat.
The question now is: at the end of the hour, is the cat alive or dead?
Schrödinger’s interpretation is that as long as the door is closed, the cat is both dead and alive in dual superposed quantum states. When the door is opened, the quantum states are made known and the cat is observed to be either alive or dead.

This means that you can define the state of a particle only when you observe it, just like in the game, you can only see the object when you go around its position.

So we can say that particles are like data that make up the objects in a computer, your body is like the car in the computer game and your mind is like the computer’s memory and processor. The particles are out there, invisible to the car, unless you approach it.
This shows us how the digital world and the nature as it is, have a lot in common in concepts and structures.

We imitate the nature in our lives, in anything we do but we just don’t know it. And we also discover more and more by doing stuff and figuring out in the end that nature does it.

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You and the universe

You are in control, not the universe. How ? Lets try to figure that out together.

When you draw the size relation between you and the objects around you, it cant be a straight line because the universe is infinite, whatever big the object is, there’s bigger and whatever small there’s smaller.

So the relation cant be a line, its a circle, it has no begin or end and you are somewhere on this circle, go anti-clockwise the objects are smaller, go clockwise they are bigger. 

But this can’t be possible because at some point the smallest and the biggest becomes one ! 
Yeah I know, because this is exactly how it is :D


When you see how a black hole (which is the most dense and heaviest thing in the universe) move around another one , you’ll find out that they behave just like an electron moving around the center of the atom !
The heaviest ever known objects behave just like the lightest ever known objects, Surprising, isn’t it ?

Here at this episode of my favorite show “Through the wormhole with Morgan Freeman” talking about black holes and simulating how they move. (you can jump to min 22:58 directly or watch the whole episode, its pretty informative)
So objects in this world are connected to each other more than we think, actually more than we could even imagine! No wonder how far away stars could affect our personalities when we are born like in the zodiac.
That’s how everything in this world is related to everything. There’s nothing in this world that can be isolated and any change in it wont affect the world, even snapping your fingers affects the world.
And since humans are the only creatures known so far capable of learning, imagining and creating new things then you have greater powers than anything else in the universe and of course with great powers, come great responsibilities. You are a superhero, so act like one.

Aliens

Today I was watching a TV show called “Stephen Hawking’s Universe” and the episode was about alien life forms that Stephen Hawking believes it may populate the universe and I saw how he is very excited and passionate about finding alien life forms in other planets despite their temperture, available resources, ..etc.
Then an idea came to my mind, that there could be aliens among us, here on earth! How? I’ll tell you.

When you process an image you deal with it in its simplest form which is a set of data or numbers and how you translate these numbers is the domain. If you assigned colors to these values (Spacial domain) you will see some features in the image but if you calculated the rate of change of the image’s values (Frequency domain) you’ll find different features you couldn’t find it in the first domain although its still the same image with the same data and you can change the image from spacial to frequency domain and vice versa through mathematical techniques like Fourier transform.

Image in spacial domain
Image in frequency domain



The world also is a set of data (a really big set of data) and how we see and deal with it is in a certain domain so if these data could be seen in different ways or domains then we could find clues of alien forms of life and they could be among us (Imagine aliens living around you. Freaky idea, I know)
I know the whole idea seems strange and nearly impossible technically but we’ve been searching the space for about 40 years for any clue of alien forms of life and till now we found nothing, so maybe its time to try a different technique and maybe the answer is much closer than we think.

The dark side of technology

We all love new technologies because it makes us more productive and happy in our lives but very few of us who think about the disadvantages of technology. One of them called “Technological Singularity

Singularity happens when the machine becomes capable of processing instructions faster than the human brain. It’s predicted to occur around 2045 -by Ray Kurzweil– as the fastest PC’s speed is 177,730 MIPS (Million Instruction Per Second) and the fastest supercomputer’s speed is 10^10 MIPS which is close to the human brain’s speed (around 10^14 MIPS).

After this point, the machine can predict easily what we’re gonna do before we even think about it. How ? by simply creating a decision tree.


A decision tree is a list of actions and its consequences, something like if X do Y, else if Z do L and so on. The deeper the tree the more possibilities it contains and when a machine is faster than the human brain it can go out of control because it will predict your actions towards the situation.

Lets take playing chess with a computer that is faster than your brain as an example. The computer will be able to create a tree of every move you make and the move next to it by going deeper into this tree. You won’t be able by any means to defeat the computer because you can barely predict the next 2 or 3 moves but the computer will predict far more than that and with the goal of defeating you the computer will definitely win !

But how that can be dangerous ? that’s what the I, Robot movie was talking about. By more machine intelligence it will predict that humans by their nature create conflicts when dealing with each other everyday and there is no way to come over these conflicts except by preventing humans to deal with each other because that’s what robots are supposed to do, to SAVE US according to the three laws or robotics by Isaac Asimov :

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
This will create a conflict between us and the machines which want to control our actions to prevent harm and every action we will think about to end this conflict will be predicted by the machines even shutting them down and that conflict may not end easily or may not end at all !
The solution in I, Robot was to make the machines feel not just think and calculate and let their feelings control their actions. This may change the alternatives of the conflict.
But don’t rely on that because we don’t yet fully understand how feelings works inside us, so we can’t implement them in machines in the near future.

Time

I was watching a show on Discovery Science called “Through the wormhole with Morgan Freeman”. I recommend you to watch it, it’s really a great show and sorry I can’t share the episode, I don’t wanna be another SOPA victim like Megaupload :D
The show was talking about what is time, does it exists or it’s just an illusion and can we control it or not.
There was different perspectives from different people but the most perspective that convinced me is that time doesn’t exist, it just represents the difference between actions.

The proof of this assumption is when we are bored and the difference between actions is huge we feel the time passing slowly. Although when we’re excited or active time goes by fast. Try staring at a clock or wait for somebody for 5 mins in a quiet place and another 5 mins playing your favorite game or chatting with your friend and compare the feeling of time between these different actions then you’ll know what I mean.
Another thing controlling your feel of time is your mind. When you’re in a critical situation like an accident or something you are extremely focused and your mind registers a lot of memories in a short period. Also in sleeping, when your dream is full of actions you feel that you’ve slept a lot while when you don’t remember your dream, you don’t feel that you’ve slept a lot (whether you feel rested or not). You can try this by closing windows tightly and not letting sunlight in and don’t look at a clock after you wake up, you wont be able to know what time it is.

This means that time doesn’t exist! and if you’re not yet convinced, what would happen if there wasn’t a sun and the earth was static ? simply we wouldn’t have made a 24 hours clock because there wont be something called day. We wont be able to measure a day, month or even a year. All these things are representations of the movement of the earth around the sun.
So by that, we can’t control time because it never exists.

At last I don’t know if this is the actual meaning of time but it seems pretty logical to me.

You are so important

Today I was watching a show on Discovery Science channel called “How the universe works” and an idea came to my mind, this whole operation has given you the opportunity to live, a run called Universe that is so complex and took billions of billions of years to reach a suitable state on a tiny planet called Earth that allowed you to live a life of an average 70 years
Why an operation that takes billions of billions of years happened only for a life that last for 70 years ? because your life is so important, more important than you can imagine
All of this happened for you to breath, to observe, to think, to imagine, to communicate, to learn, to love and to have a daily life that is full of events and adventures
Just remember that a lot of stars born and died for you to live every time you wake up

Robots at War

(this is a report about robots which a group of me and my friends made, this was my part and I think it’s the most critical issue about robots in future , full report here)Currently, new technology is changing the face of war. In contemporary times, robots are being introduced as an alternative to human soldiers. Thus far, the machines that exist in today’s battlefields are somewhat basic; however, the era of more advanced “War-bots” will arguably alter people’s perspectives, possibly numbing them to the horrific realities of war.

Effects of robots on strategies of war

How they have changed experience of war?

The traditional experience of war is rapidly changing as robots gradually replace soldiers in the battlefields. Concern is growing amongst the first generation of soldiers cooperating with robots. There is a rising anxiety with regards to what the future holds, and some predict that the role of humans during times of war could one day be limited to simply using a remote control. More than a century ago, General Robert E. Lee argued that it is ultimately advantageous for people to find war horrific and frightening, lest they should enjoy and crave it. Additionally, there is the issue of how humans will remain the masters of unmanned systems that have superior speed and intelligence.
One of the most controversial aspects of using robots in the battlefield is their replacement of human soldiers. By replacing humans, robots will allow both citizens and governments to view wars from a very different perspective, possibly permitting them to grow increasingly detached from the losses of war. A high usage of robots may nullify the need for governments to seek citizen’s approval regarding wars, and the option of going to war may seem like an increasingly easy solution for settling issues. Also, it has been predicted that people would become so neutral to the subject of war, and the events on the battlefield that they would watch the war live from television at home, just as they watch their favorite sport game.

How the enemy will receive this technology?

For developing countries going on war with robots will be considered as non-encouraging situation because they feel like the enemy can’t fight face to face or they are not capable of going on war because of their weakness or frightfulness, so it will be just like sacrificing a man for a robot.
And if they won a round against robots it will be hard to win the next round which will be against human soldiers as they were put on “Standby Situation” when the robots fail to win the war.
But for the advanced countries the situation is different. The war between two advanced countries will be like a video game as every soldier controls a robot and tries to destroy as many enemy robots as he can.

remote control plane

Robots in the battlefield

Machines don’t get tired. They don’t close their eyes, they don’t hide under trees when it rains, they don’t talk to their buddies and they don’t know fear so it is preferred to use robots in modern warfare instead of humans.
“My research hypothesis is that intelligent robots can behave more ethically in the battlefield than humans currently can,” said Ronald C. Arkin, a computer scientist at Georgia Tech, who is designing software for battlefield robots under contract with the army.

Foster-Miller TALON

Foster-Miller claims the “TALON” is one of the fastest robots in production, one that can travel through sand, water, and snow (up to 100 feet deep!) as well as climb stairs. The “TALON” transmits in color, black and white, infrared, and/or night vision to its operator, who may be up to 1,000 km away. It can run off Lithium-ion batteries for a maximum of 7 days on standby independently before needing recharging.
It can be easily controlled by a remote controller, the man controlling it can see everything in the screen in front of him and he can take the decision to shoot from his office.
The “TALON” can be deployed with different types of weapons so it is suitable for different types of missions.
This type of robots can be developed to be controlled by itself and then the human will be just giving orders to attack when the war goes on.

Medic robot

Robots now can be as medic and ammo reinforcements instead of humans as they can’t get tired, they can go from place to another easier and faster than humans, they can carry large amounts of ammo and medics, they can operate in bad weather or even in heavy fire situations (if they are bulletproof ) and – obviously- cannot be killed.

Robots as medic and ammo reinforcements

What if these robots have been hacked?

The answer of this question depends on the level of security of these robots; because if the battlefield robots have been hacked by the enemy they can use them for their side to get ammo and to kill the other side.
So the war may turn into virtual war inside the world of networks, hacking and security instead of war by destruction.

Does the “Fair War “conflict with deploying robots at war?

Robots may commit war crimes

Robots as we know have no feeling or sympathy, so they can kill children, old men or animals. That’s only if they take the decision to kill and not being monitored by humans.
So we can’t just let the robots be developed until we set rules to the development of autonomous robots like “No robot take the decision to kill unless it’s given an approval from a human to kill that object”.
Rules will make it easier to decide and punish the perpetrator of the crime and not just blame the artificial system.

Cyborg Moths


Scientists can control the movements of a live moth using a joystick, and this moth was being used to spy on terrorist training camps.
Such a moth would be able to sit in a terrorist camp without arousing suspicion, while sending video and other information back to its home base using a “Reliable tissue-machine interface” .And this technology is being developed now and will be used at some point in the near future.
Cyborg Moths
These “Cyborg Moths” are created by placing computer parts into the caterpillar; so their nervous system grows around the parts, allowing the computer to control the behavior of the adult moth. These Cyborg-moths have been described as one of the most ambitious robotics projects ever conceived by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the research and development arm of the US Department of Defense (DOD).
“Moths are creatures that need little food and can fly all kinds of places,” said Rod Brooks, director of the computer science and artificial intelligence lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “A bunch of experiments have been done over the past couple of years where simple animals, such as rats and cockroaches, have been operated on and driven by joysticks, but this is the first time where the chip has been injected in the pupa stage and ‘grown’ inside it. Once the moth hatches, machine learning is used to control it.”
Robotics is increasingly at the forefront of US military research, and remote-controlled moths, described by DARPA as Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems, or MEMS, are one of a number of technologies soon to be deployed in combat zones.”This is going to happen,” said Brooks. “It’s not science like developing the nuclear bomb, which costs billions of dollars. It can be done relatively cheaply.”Cyborg Moths
The “DOD” has said it wants one third of all missions to be unmanned by 2015, and there’s no doubt their things will become weaponised.
This may be used against humans in war to destroy and control the enemy’s nervous system, and for sure this is the most destructive weapon has been ever made.

Humans are still in the loop

Human will always be “in the loop” when it comes to pulling the trigger and when creating systems of the autonomous robots, but analysts warn that supervising robotic systems could become complicated as the technology progresses and future robotic weapons “will be too fast, too small, too numerous and will create an environment too complex for humans to direct,” retired Army Colonel Thomas Adams is quoted as saying in “Wired for War.
But humans should still in the loop to control the emotionless machines and to avoid mistakes that could end the life of a human.