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Re: Argosy Mission Overhaul

From: T.L.G.vanderLinden
To: KellySt; kgstar; stevev; jim; zkulpa; hous0042; rddesign; David; 
lparker; bmansur; DotarSojat
Subject: Re: Argosy Mission Overhaul
Date: Thursday, March 14, 1996 9:43PM

To Brian,

>>The strength of us is that we are all different. Making us so different
>>takes many years. When you would simply preprogram us, we would all make
>>same mistakes and die out quickly. (This isn't a complete arguement, but I
>>hope it makes you see that mass AI production may not be as nice as you
>Who said that all AI's (if that is indeed what we end up needing for
>practical manned interstellar flight) are all of the same variant?

>If you plan to mass-produce them, I assume there isn't time to give them
>some experiences of their own (for humans that takes at least 10 years).
>But maybe, this process can be speeded up. On the otherhand, if these AIs
>can learn so fast, they soon will need to be smarter and then the learning
>time goes up again. (Compare that to humans, if we all would live 10,000
>years, we would think that everybody under 100 years was more or less a
>child, even if those childs would be as smart as todays adults.)

Who says that AI's can't be "programmed" to be smart with info gained by 
other AI's.  Before you comment on that loaded line, I'd like to say that I 
do see where this discussion is leading.  It is headed into a dead end so 
I'll restate something someone else said.  We don't have a _clue_ as to what 
AI capabilities will be, so there is no real point in arguing about them. 
 There are perhaps more variables to contend with in the development of 
Automated Robot Civilizations (ARCs) than there are in the designing of a 
manned, roundtrip, high speed starship.

Even though I don't have any real idea how these ARCs could be designed, I 
do know that they are all but indespensible to any manned, roundtrip 
 interstellar effort that could hope to minimize the flight time to 
something managable.  That is the bottom line.  We have to have them to 
support our power infrastructure.  Even Kelly's fuel canister idea needs the 
ARCs to mine the fuel and RM needed to launch the incredibly heavy Explorer 
class ion rocket.  It will have to be heavy because it has to slow down 
using onboard fuel.  Even an anti-matter driven starship, which is starting 
to seem like the next logical design to follow after maser sails, will 
require the face of Mercury to be covered in solar energy collectors.  Those 
collectors will convert the Sun's energy to Anti-matter through methods we 
haven't conceived.

It is so frustrating being stuck in the 1990s while trying to design a ship 
whose technology is really at least 100 years beyond our reach.  But since 
the tech is 100+ years away, we have to make some assumptions, which I 
believe include ARCs.  Do you agree?